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Another data point in the continuing debate about whether Napa Cabs age gracefully.

merryvale cabMerryvale has a long, storied history. Built in 1933 immediately after prohibition, early owners included some members of the Mondavi family and later in the 80’s was owned by a real estate group founded by Bill Harlan. The name was changed to Merryvale (from Sunny St. Helena”) in 1991 and was purchased by the current owners, the Schlatter family, in 1996.

Merryvale is known for elegance and balance rather than power, and this wine provides evidence that balance is essential for good ageing.A middling scorer (high 80’s-low 90’s) when released, this wine is significantly improved 13 yrs. after its vintage date.

Cassis, black olive, fig and warm spices mingle with some chocolate notes to frame a still vibrant,  gently developing nose. In the mouth, a delicate thread of flint appears as the mid-section intensity peaks. The wine has settled into a shapely, supple, sensuality, a slow walk with good amplitude as it shows crisp hi-toned spice notes and deeper ripe fruit still in abundance.

Drawn out but not tentative as it moves across the palate, the finish is mid length with lovely, fine tannins.

I can’t think of a better evocation of this wine at this time than the cool, sophisticated polish of Steely Dan’s Hey Nineteen.

Storage Conditions: Excellent

Consumed on 8/4/18.

Score: 93

Price: $82

Alc: 14.5%

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