2002 Paloma Napa Valley Merlot
Cellar Selection. Tasted in a rather tannic flight, this baby was even more tannic. It pours inky black, and reveals nothing in the aroma, save for grapes and oak. Yet there are powerful signs of a magnificent future, especially the long, sweet finish of blackberry syrup.
Here is a tight but delicious Merlot whose mountain-side grapes have contributed a level of sinew not often seen in the variety. Its aromas start off with the expected notes of ripe red cherries before picking up more concentrated suggestions of currants and black cherries. In the mouth, it currently shows less of Merlot's early juiciness and, instead, relies on the depth of its still nascent fruit as the convincing offset to its blanket of youthful tannins. This one will reward cellaring.
Ripe, rich, juicy and polished, with layers of currant, black cherry and plum that are deeply concentrated, elegant and lively. A light overlay of toasty, mocha-scented oak adds another flavor dimension, and the flavors linger on a long, zesty aftertaste. A delicious Merlot that's a worthy successor to the stellar '01. Drink now through 2009. 1,650 cases made.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Paloma’s 2002 Merlot is a worthy successor to their brilliant 2001, but it is not as rich, complex, or deep as the latter vintage. The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2002 possesses lovely aromas of chocolate-infused coffee intermixed with berry and currant fruit. This lush, medium to full-bodied, delicious Merlot is ideal for drinking now and over the next 7-8 years. (RP)