This is an Old World wine in a New World bottle, made with indigenous yeasts and extra bottle age prior to release. The nose shows black and red fruits, but what is remarkable is the savory and herbal background, promising depth and complexity on the palate. It keeps its promise. The palate leads with black cherry, then blackberry. Rich umami comes through, along with eucalyptus, then a touch of chocolate. Tannins are soft and silky. It’s deliciously fat, but not flabby, with enough freshness to give it good cellar life. Drink it now, or hold it for eight to ten years. Highly Recommended. 92 points. DBH.

WHO: Grgich Hills Estate
WHAT: Merlot
WHERE: California, Napa Valley
WHEN: 2009
HOW MUCH: $42