1997 Merryvale Profile


I remember when the 1997 vintage of Napa cabernets and Bordeaux blends were released and the general notion was that the wines would quickly fall apart. 1997 was the first year of ultra-ripe, ultra concentrated, ultra-oaked, ultra plush, Parkerized wines from Napa (the whole phenom started a few years earlier but by 1997 it was in full stride). I brought out a bottle of 1997 Merryvale Profile a proprietary blend of cabernet, merlot and cabernet franc, to drink with dinner tonight. I haven't visited the wine in years and expected a disjointed mess of a wine. Wrong. The wine was quite tasty, prototypical Napa Bordeaux blend. Very dark purple with a hint of brick at the rim. Effusive nose of ripe blackberriesand Napa dust. The wine was full of ripe, sweet black fruits, cassis and a bit of oak. Very plush, well resolved tannins. The wine has aged quite well and has a number of years ahead. "B+/A-"
Reply to
Bi!!

That's the problem with vintage generalizations, isn't it? With the caveat that I'd pretty much stopped buying CalCabs by '97, I will say that I've read of plenty of disappointment with aged CalCabs from that year. However, looking at the CellarTracker notes for your wine, they seem pretty uniformly good (with a few people noting Brett), so it seems like Merryvale managed to avoid the pitfalls of the vintage. I'd also be willing to put good money on Dunn and Chateau Montelena from that year not having fallen apart, too ;-)
Mark Lipton
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alt.food.wine FAQ:  http://winefaq.cwdjr.net
Reply to
Mark Lipton

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I can attest to the Montelena and Dunn having tasted both within the last few months. I'm not sure Montelena and Dunn ever fall apart. I opened one of my last few '78 Montelena's recently and it is still quite young.
Reply to
Bi!!

There were maybe two GSM blends, but no varietal Grenache that I saw at the places I stopped at. It's possible that Beckmen might have had one, but it wasn't in the "Purisima Mountain" flight of wines that I tasted. I will add, though, that I've never been taken with CA Grenaches, finding them far simpler and less compelling than the Grenache-heavy wines from the S. Rhone that I love.
Mark Lipton
--
alt.food.wine FAQ:  http://winefaq.cwdjr.net
Reply to
Mark Lipton

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I still have several bottles of California Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-type blends from the 1970s that still are holding. These include Ch. Montelena 1974; Sterling Reserve 1975; Joseph Phelps Insignia 1974 & 1978; Ridge Monte Bello 1972, 73,74,76. Others from the 70s that I have not tasted recently include Robert Mondavi Reserve !974,75,78; Heitz Fay 1975; Heitz Martha's 1976; Heitz Bella Oaks 1977; Freemark Abbey Bosche 1972,74,76,78. There also are a few others from the 1970s. Some of the monster wines of the 1970s did fall apart and some have mainly tannin to offer now. However it is surprising how many red California wines of high repute that have been well stored still are very good.
Reply to
cwdjrxyz

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I saw your notes on the GSM. I've had a few intriguing California grenache wines most notable from Sine Qua Non and Alban. Both were pure grenache, delicious but really pricey. I was looking for more moderate price levels for a grenache based wine.
Reply to
Bi!!

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