The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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Columbia Crest 2007 Merlot Reserve, Columbia Valley ($25) Lush and smooth with velvety texture and ripe, juicy plum fruit; lavish, balanced and spicy with generous fl avors and a long, pure fi nish. 90 STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES Concannon 2008 Merlot, Conservancy, Livermore Valley ($15) Ripe, fresh and simple with clean, rich fl avors and good balance; generous and long. 88 THE WINE GROUP Freemark Abbey 2008 Merlot, Napa Valley ($30) Bright and fresh with medium weight and excellent structure; juicy plum and well-proportioned tannins; long, elegant and balanced. 91 JACKSON FAMILY WINES Gainey Vineyard 2008 Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley ($20) Smooth and bright with notes of earth, herbs, spice, ripe plum, cassis and vanilla; edgy, fi rm and bal- anced with good structure and length. 90 WILSON DANIELS Robert Hall 2008 Merlot, Paso Robles ($20) Dark and dense with black plum and black cherry fruit; concen- trated, rich and showing spice and tannins; excellent structure and fi nesse; long and balanced. 90 Kendall- Jackson 2007 Merlot, Grand Reserve, Jackson Estates Vineyard, Sonoma County ($25) Smooth and ripe with lovely plum, raspberry and spice; fresh, generous and balanced with a long, pure fi nish. 90 JACKSON FAMILY WINES L’Ecole No. 41 2007 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley ($36) Firm, ripe and structured with bal- ance; plum and spice; clean, long and classic. 90 LOWDEN SCHOOLHOUSE CORP. Mayacamas Vineyards 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder ($35) Dark and dense with black raspberry, cherry and racy acidity; ripe, tangy and bursting with vibrant fruit and lovely fl avors; supple, pure and masterful. 94 Milbrandt Vineyards 2007 Merlot, The Esates, Wahluke Slope ($25) Velvety and ripe with juicy acidity and elegant plum and blueberry fruit; complex, bright and supple with excel- lent depth and length. 90 Robert Mondavi 2007 Merlot, Napa Valley ($23) Smooth plum and black raspberry fruit with spice and juicy acidity; balanced, long and quite charming. 90 CONSTELLATION WINES U.S. Northstar 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley ($41) Lush and smooth with ripe plum and spice; mellow and long. 90 STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES Pedestal 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley ($55) Ripe and elegant with plum, black raspberry and spice; supple and balanced, showing nuances of oak and earth; clean, tangy and long. 92 LONG SHADOWS VINTNERS Pepper Bridge Winery 2008 Merlot, 51% Seven Hills, 49% Pepper Bridge Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley ($50) Velvety smooth and rich with plum, blackberry and spice; ripe, concentrated and lush with excellent acid and tannin structure; long, complex and balanced. 91 Rutherford Hill 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley ($25) Smooth and juicy with bright, tangy plum and keen acidity; fresh, lively and balanced with snappy varietally-correct fl avors. 89 TERLATO WINES INTERNATIONAL Semler Vineyards 2005 Merlot, Saddle Rock–Malibu ($24) Velvety and bright with lively plum and racy acidity; great structure and classic balance; long and showing notes of soft herbs, spice, chocolate and dried cherry. 90 MALIBU FAMILY WINES Lost Pine Star Lane 2007 Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley ($36) Dark, dense and concen- trated with ripe black plum and sweet oak; a big, powerful and yet balanced wine. 93 DIERBERG 200 7 Stonestreet 2007 Merlot, Lost Pine, Alexander Valley ($115) Rich chocolate and vanilla nose; dark and dense with ripe plum, blackberry and chocolate fl avors; velvety textured and complex with lovely acid structure and a long, luxurious fi nish. 93 JACKSON FAMILY WINES Three Rivers Winery 2007 Merlot, Champoux/Horse Heaven Hills Vineyard, Columbia Valley ($29) Lush and ripe with lovely plum and black raspberry fruit; rich, balanced and intense; long and deep on the fi nish. 90 FOLEY FAMILY WINES Twomey Cellars 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley ($45) Smooth texture, nice plum and black raspberry fruit; clean and classic with bright acidity and excellent structure. A lovely wine from Daniel Baron and Silver Oak’s second label. 91 SILVER OAK CELLARS Villa San-Juliette 2008 Merlot, Paso Robles ($17) Velvety and plush with clean fl avors of plum, blueberry and spice; judicious use of oak and nice depth; bright, tangy and balanced; long and charming. 89 Woodward Canyon 2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley ($39) Juicy, fresh, racy and ripe; a textbook Washington State Merlot with a long and balanced fi nish. 90 july 201 1 / the tasting panel / 43 Seven Hills Winery 2008 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Columbia Valley ($22) Smooth and juicy with lovely depth, rich plum and black raspberry fruit; long, supple and quite classic. 90 Shafer Vineyards 2008 Merlot, Napa Valley ($48) Fragrant and ripe with brilliant plum, raspberry and cassis fruit; long, focused and showing lovely hints of vanilla oak and spice; a clear and classic defi nition of the variety. 94

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