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K&L Staff Recommendations
The 2013 vintage has yet to be reviewed, but the 2012 garnered 96 points from Robert Parker: "They appear to be immune to some of winedom’s less than intelligent trends and fads that we see from time to time." That bottling from the '12 vintage (which celebrated their 40th anniversary) was the single largest selling wine for us over the past year. Given that '13 is also an excellent vintage (a twin to '12), we expect lots of interest for this Napa benchmark.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Chardonnay Private Reserve became famous under the helmsmanship of chief winemaker Ed Sbragia, and Laurie Hook has refined it ever so slightly by somewhat backing off the oak, and maintaining the depth and richness, but with more precision and refinement. The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay Private Reserve exhibits wonderful orange blossom, white peach and pineapple fruit, a subtle touch of vanillin and toast, and a nicely layered, pure style with terrific fruit intensity. It is a great value, especially if you compare its quality to just about any premi ...Read More »
Rudy Von Strasser may have got his start in the wine business as an intern at prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but he hasn't let his head, or his prices, ascend into the stratosphere. The wine is made up of 100% Diamond Mountain fruit, some of which comes off the Von Strasser Estate. This is a concentrated, elegant, and eminently drinkable Cab delivering more-than-everyday quality for a fantastic price. From the winery: "This bold Cabernet Sauvignon has great perfume of violets. Intertwining aromas of blueberry,cassis and coffee all lead into a ric... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A wine with currant and blackberry aromas and flavors. Full body, fine tannins and a long and beautiful finish. Lovely tension and finesse. Drink now." (7/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Faust is designed as a second wine so that only the top lots end up in the Quintessa. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, sweet crème de cassis fruit, chocolate, licorice and underbrush characteristics in a delicious, fruit-forward, open-knit style. Enjoy it over the next decade or more." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full medium ruby. Brooding aromas of cassis and black cherry sh ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature is fabulous. Dark red cherries, plums, smoke, savory herbs and wild flowers race across the palate in a bright, aromatically lifted Cabernet Sauvignon endowed with gorgeous precision and nuance. Distinctly ferrous and savory notes add nuance to the radiant, generous 2012 fruit. Dollops of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec round out the blend. The Cabernet Sauvignon is partly made from purchased fruit. It is also one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. (Antonio Galloni)" (12/2014)93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dark f ...Read More »
Martin Ray specializes in crafting Cabernet Sauvignon from the most esteemed sub-appellations of Napa, Sonoma, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, and offers an amazing value over what you'd usually pay for such wines. 80% of this vintage is from the Stags Leap District, and is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 6% Malbec and 4% Petite Sirah. The winery's tasting notes: "This complex but sophisticated Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from some of the most sought-after regions in the Napa Valley showcases its roots from many of its mountain sources. Featuring ent... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Reserve Tapestry, a blend of Bordeaux varietals, is more elegant and slightly less intense than the Private Reserve. It offers up sweet black cherry fruit notes intermixed with licorice, spice box and dusty, loamy soil undertones. Medium to full-bodied and deep with loads of ripe fruit, low acidity and sweet, velvety tannins, it can be enjoyed over the next decade." (10/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Already bottled, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis is similar to its siblings. It offers delicious blackcurrant fruit, not as much complexity as the Fay or S.L.V., but an attractive meaty, rich blackcurrant fruitiness, well-integrated wood, and hints of spice and oak. Fleshy and medium-bodied but also made in the elegant style sought by this winery, it should drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)" (10/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices are all laced together in the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis. Soft and silky throughout, the Artemis ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Shows a good touch of bottle age and a notably oaky presence, marked by dill, vanilla bean and coconut notes wrapped around a rich, authoritative, full-bodied core of loamy earth, dark berry, licorice and espresso. Drink now through 2028." (4/2015) K&L Notes: The 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. As always the wine goes to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. From the winery: "Our 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a seamless wine that expresses bright, fresh fruit char... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A red with lots of iodine, stone, currant and spice character. It's full-bodied, chewy and juicy. I like this slightly better than the Estate Bottled in 2010. Needs a least three or four years to soften: better in 2016." (5/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon’s dark ruby/purple color is followed by clean, pure aromas of black currants and underbrush, medium body, excellent purity and an alluring texture. This delicious, accessible Cabernet Sauvignon should also drink well for 7-8 years. Moreover, the pricing is realistic for Napa. (RP)" (10/2013) Wine & Spirits: "This is a new ...Read More »
30 vineyards went into this Napa Valley blend, picked over the span of one entire month. 83% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Sémillon, aged in French oak and 10% barrel-fermented. The winemaker's notes: "The 2014 vintage has yielded a complex and silky Sauvignon Blanc with alluring aromas of lemongrass, Kaffir lime, vanilla and green papaya. On the palate, racy acidity underscores lovely flavors of lemon meringue, star fruit, candied ginger and minerality, carrying the wine through to a long, bright finish."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary Red Blend The Prisoner is a creative blend of 44% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, as well as Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay. This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice notes. A savory, lusty, heady red, it begs for a grilled steak or a big, juicy hamburger. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A perennial favorite as a crowd-pleaser and fun Napa red, the 2013 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based (44%) blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon,... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Tilts toward green apple, pear and citrus flavors, making this bright and refreshingly clean and pure. Drink now. 40,000 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Cakebread's popular Napa Valley Chardonnay blends the best qualities of grapes grown in the Carneros region on San Pablo Bay with those of warmer areas of the Napa Valley. Look for fresh apple, melon and pear, spicy oak, and rich fruit flavors balanced with mineral tones.
Wine Enthusiast: "Dry, savory and richly steeped in oak, this SB has the markings of whole-cluster pressing and 3% Sémillon blended in, along with an inviting floral hum on the nose. The taste leans toward peach and grapefruit, zesty and alive." (10/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "Our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was produced from grapes grown in various microclimates of the Napa Valley. The warmer Napa Valley microclimates give us grapes that result in wines with a lush, full melon/citrus character in the aroma and in the flavor. The cooler Napa Valley fruit provides a solid, crisp backbo... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Mineral and floral character with dark berry and dark chocolate. Full and firm. Shows an intensity and depth. Drink or hold." (7/2012) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby/purple with notes of plum and blackcurrant with the attractive aromatics followed by a medium-bodied wine. It starts off well and shortens ever so slightly in the finish. This is certainly good, stylish Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is the high end in terms of quality. (RP)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "On solid footing, with sassy tannins, this offers a core of mocha, blackberry and dark berry flavors that ar ...Read More »
96-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Joseph Phelps’ flagship wines include the incredibly ageworthy Insignia. The 2012 Insignia Proprietary Red is composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, all aged 24 months in 100% new French oak. The vintage was of such high quality and quantity that 17,500 cases were produced. A magnificent Insignia that will be bottled in several months, it boasts an opaque purple color as well as fabulous notes of graphite, blackberries, blackcurrant liqueur, camphor, barbecue smoke and spice box. Rich, full-bodi ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A subtle red with red pepper, berry and sweet tobacco character. Full-bodied, balanced and refined. Very fine and polished tannins. Needs a few years to come completely around. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 89-90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red-ruby. At once riper and more medicinal on the nose than the 2011, offering aromas of plum syrup, blueberry and spices. Firm and nicely refined, with an attractive juicy quality to the black fruit and spice flavors. Finishes with rather suave tannins. This cuvee seems to be better than ever, as Bo Barrett has done a good job of leavening the concen ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "This is shows wonderful aromas of tar, asphalt, wet earth and pure cherries. Full-bodied, yet soft and velvety with a fine dusty texture to the finish. Fresh and austere. Dignified. This has no Cabernet Franc in it this year. Normally there is 3% to 5%." (4/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "In addition to being flat-out delicious, the 2012 Napanook is also one of the very best values in top Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, sumptuous and exceptionally polished, the 2012 captures all of the best qualities of the year. Raspberry jam, spices, wild flowers and cinnamon wrap around th ...Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "An iron fist in a velvet glove, this wine begins with a supple, rich core of currant, black cherry, anise and sage, firming up with tannins from oak and grape. Glides along gracefully, never losing the core fruitiness, while the tannins and gravelly earth accents lend the flavors tension and traction. Drink now through 2029." (8/2015)94 points Antonio Galloni: "A dark, sumptuous beauty, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon Vineyard boasts marvelous depth and pure texture. Hints of mocha, espresso, cloves, new leather and menthol wrap around a core of dark, pliant fruit. The ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is also outstanding. Rich and dense with lots of crème de cassis and a hint of forest floor presented in a full-bodied, deep, lusty, opulent style, it can be enjoyed over the next decade. (RP)" (10/2014)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and intense, well-focused and vibrant, centered on spicy citrus, green apple and pear flavors, with hints of honeysuckle, white peach and flinty stone. Lingers on the finish, showing a pithy edge to the lemon and green stone fruit notes. Drink now through 2019. 38,900 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: In 2013 the winery notes "an early harvest with beautiful, warm weather, that provided long, even ripening for our Chardonnay. The wine offers tropical aromas of citrus and melon layered with honeysuckle, perfume and toasted oak. A juicy entry transitions to a vibra... Read More »
Fans of the wine formerly known as Cervantes Mountain Cuvée rejoice, this is the same fantastic wine that used to carry the Cervantes label. It has always been made by the folks at Chappellet, a source for some of the best mountain wines in the Napa Valley for the past 50 years. And while the wine isn't make entirely from fruit grown on the Chappellet estate, it emphasizes Chappellet's experiencing growing and blending mountain fruit, done in an approachable style for near-term drinking. A blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 12% Malbec, 8% Petit... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This unoaked Chardonnay is so ripe and rich, you won’t miss the buttered-toast flavor of oak. It’s incredibly potent with limes, mangoes, oranges and pineapples, uplifted with brisk acidity. A weekend brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon will be the perfect occasion." (12/2013) K&L Notes: From fruit sourced from Yountville, the 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers great value for the pedigree of the fruit. The winery's tasting notes: "Hoopla 2013 Chardonnay has a beautiful clear bright golden color. From the first pour, it explodes from the glass with tropical f... Read More »
As of press time, the 2014 has not yet been reviewed, but the 2013 vintage garnered praise from Robert Parker: "Delicate grapefruit, fig, melon and gravelly aromas jump from the glass of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Light to medium-bodied and flavorful with zesty acidity, good crispness and focus." (10/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Edge (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), is composed of grapes from various sources. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, lots of fruit, and a round, seductive style with good ripeness and a heady finish. Drink it over the next 6-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014)
92 points James Suckling: "Shows richness and balance with blackberry and black currant character. Full-bodied, firm and silky. Tight and serious. Needs two or three years to soften." (7/2015)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a much more friendly, supple, fruit-forward style of wine with loads of créme de cassis, plum, licorice and spice. This opulent, full-bodied wine is certainly going to be a big hit with consumers. It is broad, savory and pretty much everything one wants in a delicious Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Bring on the grilled meats! This wine should drink well for 10-15 ...Read More »
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall is largely sourced from their Sacrashe Vineyard. The color is dense ruby/purple. The wine is very young, and less evolved than many of its peers, but bursting with potential. Lots of blueberry and black raspberry fruit with a hint of mocha and background oak are all present in this full-bodied, opulent, absolutely spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a long-distance runner, although not so much because of the tannic structure, because the fruit seems younger and more primary than some of its siblings. Neverthel ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a hearty Meritage employing all five red Bordeaux varieties. The color is black and the fruit equally dark and rich, offering muscular tannins around rich notes of blackberry, cedar and herb." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Proprietary Red Meritage, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, reveals surprisingly soft, round, easygoing flavors of black cherries, black currants, spice and earth. Medium-bodied, charming and more sensual and seductive than the more expensive 2010 Signature, the Meritage can be ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh style of Merlot with light chocolate and blueberry character. Medium body, firm tannins and a crisp finish. Food matcher." (7/2015) K&L Notes: This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of California's preminent sources for Merlot. The 2012 vintage, with its long hang time, was perfect for making a rich, seamless, structured wine. Winemaker notes: "From its aromas of Santa Rosa plum, creme de cassis, violet, and Herbes de Provence to its enticing flavors of olallieberry, sticky toffee, and vanilla bean, this is a complex ... Read More »
Honig sources fruit primarily from their sustainably farmed vineyard in Rutherford along with some other nearby vineyards. This blend is 93% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon, with 1% Muscat. Robert Parker offers in reference to the 2012 bottling: "This winery has a long and impressive track record working with Sauvignon Blanc and continues to produce a classic/textbook example of this varietal in Northern California." (11/2013)
Jancis Robinson: "Deeply coloured. Very intense nose: blueberry and blackberry fruit, bramble, sweet saddle leather and oak spice with cocoa. Elegant mouthfeel with very tight but integrated tannins despite its youth. Intensity continues on the palate with consistent flavours. An elegant, Old-World-style restraint and excellent balance. Very long, complex and big but still elegant finish. (MD)" (4/2015)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dry and tannic in youth. It’s not a particularly ripe wine, but subtle in meshing blackberry fruit flavors with sweet dried herbs and bitter coffee. They strove for balance and harmony, and succeeded." (3/2005) K&L Notes: Winery-direct Cabernet from a famous longtime Napa Cab producer. At this price this is a tremendous opportunity to try a great Cab with a few years on it. We won't have this around forever so take advantage.
Acumen is a new Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that is going to become one of the valley's best producers in the near future. Here's a chance to taste it before most Napa Cabernet fans even hear about it. The winery has worked with us to get our customers a great price on this wine, as they work to get exposure to CA's fine wine audience via K&L. Acumen comes from a 116-acre vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA which includes the Jan Krupp old home estate next to the Stagecoach vineyard. The winemaker for Acumen is Denis Malbec, a world-famous winemaker who ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The more serious from Avalon is the 60,000-case cuvée of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. Also 100% varietal, it was aged 16 months in French and American oak. It exhibits a dark ruby/plum color along with notes of sweet blackcurrants and plums intermixed with forest floor, licorice and subtle roasted herbs. Fleshy, round and seductive...(RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Soft and round, this 80% Cabernet Sauvignon also has 16% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc and was given 16 months of oak aging. Flavors lean toward red berry and cedar." (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "Trim and tight, offering chewy, ceda ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A firm and beautiful red with black currant and berry character. Full-bodied, silky and refined. Shows real Napa Valley cabernet character. Drink or hold." (7/2015)
92 points James Suckling: "A solid red with currants, berries and hints of licorice and spice. Full body, firm tannins and a long, long finish. Shows length and beauty." (7/2015)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Rich and concentrated in red cherry, cigar and plum, this demurely approachable and enjoyable wine has the legs to age. Structured and tightly drawn, it holds a tannic overbite that eases in the glass. Cellar through 2017." (9/2015) Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a picture-perfect example of the year. Dark blue and black fruits, smoke, licorice, spices, menthol and new leather flesh out in ...Read More »
Jon and Susan Pey are talented, passionate vignerons with access to some incredible vineyard sources throughout Northern California. They produce a collection of wines that over-deliver in quality for the price under their various boutique labels. The fruit for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Oak Knoll, Rutherford, and Oakville appellations. From the winery: "Vintage 2013 followed the excellent 2012 and led to debates as to which vintage was 'better.' Our sense is they are both very, very high quality; both had abundant sunshine, cool evenings... Read More »
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. According to the winemaker: "Ripe aromas of dark fruits, pepper and cassis, with deep and complex flavors of cocoa powder, black cherries, raspberries and coffee. Though youthful and exuberant now, this wine has the structure to reward cellaring for 10-15 years."
94 points Wine & Spirits: "George Hendry once helped farm the Brandlin Ranch on Mount Veeder, where he took cuttings of the old-vine Zinfandel when the property was sold in 1995. He grafted that budwood onto St. George rootstock at his benchland vineyard west of Napa and north of the San Pablo Bay, where morning fog and offshore breezes in the afternoon help to cool the vines. This 2012 parallels the hearty depths of an old-vine Zin, the ripe sour-cherry flavors driven by alcohol but not heated by it, the tannins buzzing with energy. It’s brisk and bright, complex and joyous. ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made from organically grown, dryfarmed vineyards and fermented entirely in stainless steel, this refreshingly dry and low-alcohol white offers flavors of peach and grapefruit pith around electrified acidity. It tastes fresh, fruity and completely on edge—throw a bottle in your beach bag or picnic basket." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc is 100% stainless steel fermented from dry-farmed, organically grown vineyards in Rutherford. With a philosophy of minimal intervention in the vineyard and the winery, this Sauvignon Blanc has become a reliably true ex... Read More »
With growing elevations ranging between 1000-1600 feet above sea level, Mount Veeder Winery enjoys its distinctive location and microclimates. From the winery: "Rugged mountain conditions produce grapes with intensely concentrated fruit and big, rich tannins. Taming these tannins and preserving flavor are the high-altitude winemaker's biggest challenge. Because Mount Veeder's growing season starts late and often stretches well into November, harvest is a waiting game. But patience is rewarded with fully-developed flavors and ripe, rich tannins in the ski... Read More »
From the winery: "Frank Family Vineyard’s 2012 Napa Valley Zinfandel is bright scarlet in color and possesses aromas of rhubarb, licorice, graphite, and white pepper. On the palate, flavors of sweet plumb, cherries and vanilla meld with hints of tarragon. The wine is balanced with silky tannins, earthiness and a kick of spice."
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From a vineyard in the Oakville Corridor, just below Dalla Valle, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum (950 cases) is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc. It boasts an opaque purple color as well as copious aromas of licorice, smoked meats, camphor, graphite and oodles of crème de cassis and coffee beans. Full-bodied with sweet tannin and a dramatic, ostentatious personality, it should drink well for 15-20 years." (12/2014)94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum is deep, powerful and expressive, yet also has plenty of near and medium-term appea ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate on Diamond Mountain is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Malbec. A beauty, with raspberry, blueberry and even blacker fruits, the wine has a lusciousness, with silky tannins and real charm. If Châteaux Margaux made wine on Diamond Mountain it might well taste like this beauty. This is first-growth all the way: beautiful purity, symmetry, harmony and an ethereal lightness in spite of the richness and intensity. This is quite an achievement and already drinkable, but should continue to evolve ...Read More »
The 2012 is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon with the other four Bordeaux varietals all represented in the blend, which was aged in 40% new oak for twenty months. Spice notes complement the intense dark fruit and well-integrated tannins give this wine structure and an elegant mouthfeel. Intense and complex, this Cabernet truly delivers.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely amazing value, the 2013 Proprietary Red is a great blend of 49% Syrah, 38% Petite Sirah and 13% Barbera (11,000 cases produced). The wine, which was aged in French oak, displays a dense ruby/purple color and an attractive nose of blackberries, licorice, tar and a touch of subtle smoke. It is medium-bodied and has surprising density as well as intensity for a wine at this price range. It should drink nicely for another 2-3 years. (RP)" (8/2015)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There have been a number of changes of late at Inglenook, so I was anxious to taste the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask. This wine was first created in 1949 and during that era, through the 50s and early 60s, was considered one of the finest wines of California. This is the best, young Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted during my professional career of 35 years. Dense ruby/purple with classic crème de cassis, but underlying minerality and spice box. The wine is full-bodied, but not over-the-top, yet nevertheless authoritative, rich and quite long. T ...Read More »
Jayson is the second label of Pahlmeyer Wines, with a focus on quality and approachability. The 2013 vintage was dry and hot in Napa, and harvest was considerably earlier than usual. What resulted is a deep, delicious concentration in the wines. From the winery: "The intensity of this wine is first revealed by its garnet core, then from concentrated aromas of dark black cherry and coffee, nicely lifted by notes of candied red fruits, sarsaparilla and a hint of leather. Upon entry, the showy, plush Merlot and floral, fleshy Malbec leap forward, followed b... Read More »