By Bob Johnson
1998 Merlot California
Using grapes from no less than 14 vineyards, including Sonoma County’s Tanunda Vineyard down Carneros way, winemaker Dennis Hill created a blend with lots of smoky cherry character in the nose and mouth. Fruity, supple, clean, and ready to drink now. Seen for less than $10. Rating: 2.5 corks (out of 4).
1997 Merlot Sonoma County
More complex than the flagship California bottling, this wine offers aromas and flavors of Bing cherry, woodspice, and mild herbs. Sip the California during happy hour; savor the Sonoma with supper. $16. Rating: 3 corks.
1997 Merlot Napa Valley
A dollop of Cabernet Franc brightens the nose of this blend, which draws fruit from five Napa vineyards. To the Sonoma aroma/flavor smorgasbord, add cocoa and plum. Is it worth $2 more than the Sonoma? That’s a matter of individual preference. $18. Rating: 3 corks.
From the July 6-12, 2000 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
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