1997 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #310365 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Phelps' Merlot program is coming of age. Approximately 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is included in the blend, and the wine is aged in primarily French oak with a touch of American. About 30% of the barrels are new. The beautiful 1997 Merlot boasts a dense ruby color in addition to an attractive bouquet of berry fruit infused with smoke and mocha. This full-bodied, rich Merlot has a fat, succulent, plush texture, and a chewy, heady finish.  (5/2000)

89 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Ruby-red. Aromas of black raspberry syrup, tar and menthol, plus a meaty nuance. Fat and sweet, with flavors of crystallized black cherry, dark berries and toasty, spicy oak. Ripe acidity gives this rather large-scaled merlot good balance. Finishes with ripe, even tannins. A Bordeaux-styled California merlot that's more than simply fruity.  (5/2000)

Wine Enthusiast

 Winemaker Craig Williams has made a full-volume, snappy wine with piercing berry aromas that announce its bigness.  (7/2001)

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Varietal:

Merlot

- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.