2003 Behrens & Hitchcock Napa Valley Merlot (Previously $40)

SKU #1126326 90-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good ruby. Blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, graphite, minerals and licorice on the nose. Juicier and fresher than the Alder Springs merlo t, if a bit less complex. Black fruit and dark chocolate flavors offer good definition and intensity. Rather elegantly styled in the context of this winery. (ST)  (6/2005)

89-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 An elegant, restrained, understated (atypical for B & H) effort is the 2003 Merlot Napa (600 cases; 15.2% alcohol; 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon). Copious amounts of mocha, black currants, loamy soil, earth, and spice box emerge from this Bordeaux-like blend. With tremendous ripeness, finesse, and subtleness, it should be consumed over the next decade. I can’t say enough good things about Behrens and Hitchcock. This is the type of winery operation that gives hope to aspiring home winemakers who want to make it in the big time. They have followed their dreams, unearthed top vineyards that were available to everybody, and are making non-interventionalistic wines of extraordinary personality and character. (RP)  (2/2005)

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- 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.

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.


- 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.
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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.