2002 Blankiet "Paradise Hills" Napa Valley Merlot
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Saturated ruby-red. Wonderfully complex, deep aromas of plum, currant, licorice, smoke, dark chocolate and spices. Superconcentrated, round, sweet and creamy, with highly complex flavors of plum, dark chocolate, minerals and leather. This offers breadth and palate coverage rare for Merlot that's not grown on the Pomerol plateau. The rising finish boasts superb breadth and length. A great California Merlot.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The deep, rich 2002 Merlot is not up to the level of the 2003, although it does possess fabulously complex notes of scorched earth, chocolate, espresso roast, and meaty black cherries, currants, and plums. A broodingly backward, concentrated, full-bodied, dense, and super-rich Merlot, it should drink well for 15 or more years. This is an amazing operation on the hillsides overlooking the huge Dominus/Napanook estate. A complex set of caves and a remarkable, nearly surreal chateau grace the property. Winemaker Helen Turley, working with her viticulturalist husband, John Wetlaufer, is fashioning some spectacular wines from these hillsides of volcanic ash and basalt. These are big, structured, potentially long-lived wines that will need some cellar time for those lucky enough to latch onto a few bottles. Everything to date has been aged in 100% new Taransaud barrels for 18-19 months and then bottled unfiltered. (RP)