1999 Arietta Napa Valley Merlot
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1999 Merlot (which includes 10% Syrah) exhibits a Pomerol-like character. It represents a synthesis in style between the elegance and complexity of a French wine, and the power and ripe fruit of a top-flight California offering. An opaque purple color is followed by aromas of cola, chocolate, and macerated jammy black cherries. This super-concentrated, high strung, packed effort appears to be as tight as a coiled spring. There is great fruit on the attack as well as an imposing structure, but it feels like that is all being held in check at present. Despite the big, intense flavors, the wine is elegant and light on its feet. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Very good medium ruby. Complex, ripe aromas of black raspberry, bitter chocolate, game, iron, smoke and licorice, along with exotic notes of nutmeg, mace and five-spice powder. Very concentrated and sappy, with tightly wound black fruit flavors, firm acids and solid, ripe tannins. Loads of extract here. Not your typical California merlot. Youthful and built to develop in bottle. This may well merit a higher score with a few years of additional aging.
Classy. Dark, rich and full-bodied, with excellent structure, firm tannins and a solid core of earthy currant, herb, cedar, pencil lead and mineral flavors that are deep, complex and full-blown. Remarkable detail and finesse. Firmly tannic, it's a good candidate for cellaring.