Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Napa Valley
Although I usually condone (and insist on) trying new wines to expand your horizons and learn to enjoy all the fan and adventure that fermented grape juice has to offer, it’s also OK to drink the same wine more than once (just don’t make a habit of it!). Indeed, there are often times you walk into a wine shop with the express purpose of purchasing a bottle or a brand you’re familiar with — perhaps as a gift for someone else, or to match with a specific meal, or simply because you know you’re going to enjoy it. Personally, I have about a dozen or so “reliable standby” brands that I count on year after year. One of those is the Merryvale Vineyards and Winery in Napa Valley.
Merryvale concentrates on the typical California varietals — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Year in and year out, their bottlings are consistently high quality throughout the lineup, and give you good bang for your buck. I particularly enjoy the reds from their entry level “Starmont” line, including this Cabernet Sauvignon — which also has a bit of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc blended in for added complexity.
Forward nose open with ripe black and red berry fruit, along with some earth and tar. In the mouth, the texture is smooth, almost creamy, with rich, ripe black berry fruit â€“ blackberry, cassis, stewed plum / prune. Also touches of tobacco, earth, and a hint of spice add complexity. Very tasty and enjoyable on its own, even better with a ribeye, sirloin or skirt steak. Acidity is medium, tannins are ripe and medium â€“ neither is overpowering at all, but rather provide structure and are in good balance with the almost-jammy ripe fruit. Finish is also balanced and pleasing, offering good fruit and hints of earth, black pepper, and tobacco before yielding to some chalky tannins at the very end. Enjoyable, appropriately priced (about $23), and ready to drink now.
a-8 t-8 b-8 fc-7 v-7 ~ 88 Points