Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Updated Review: **+ $$ Havens Merlot, Napa Valley, CA, 2006

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By way of background: Havens Merlot of Napa Valley, CA, is made from grapes from the cooler southern end of Napa Valley, finished with a fruit-forward outcome in mind (versus Havens' reserve bottlings). The 2006 vintage is bottled at a not-too-timid 14.5% alcohol. This was acquired as part of the American Cellars Wine Club line.

Original Tasting and Review, March, 2010:

In the glass: Havens Merlot shows as deep red-magenta in the glass, opaque to within an inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Napa merlot shows a muddled red berry and plum pudding on the nose, pretty insistent and sweet.

On the palate: The first element on the palate is a peppery red fruit touching the upper palate with bright blackberry.  An intriguing hint of walnut oil comes in as the wine moves to your cheeks.  There, solid acids tuck the fruit into your cheeks.

And the wrap-up: The finish is clean and high-pitched.

In summary: Overall, a bright yet still reasonably rich experience. Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  I do believe air may improve improve the experience, however, so will give this some time to see.
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Updated review, almost two years later,   February, 2012:  Consistent color, with with elements of brick at the edge.  The sweetness on the nose almost moves to vegetable, but with a big fruit and alcohol surround.  Smoother blackberry on the palate.  But an oily overtone shows hints of vegetables and some oxidation.  Still does not reach the three-star "I'll try it again" level.   Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Full nose now, tired but with almost no vegetable.  Softer and more classic on the palate, gains a plus for having become pleasant. 

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