Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine: Raymond Vineyard & Cellar 2003 Merlot Reserve  (Napa Valley)

Raymond Vineyard & Cellar

2003 Merlot Reserve
(Napa Valley)

Raymond Vineyards was founded in 1971 with 90 acres south of St. Helena as the base of operations. The family has strong ties to the Napa Valley going back over five generations, and today oversees all aspects from growing and production to sales and marketing.

The winery produces this Reserve Merlot primarily with grapes from the Rutherford estate vineyard. Rutherford is known as a premier source of Cabernet Sauvignon, with its unique gravelly alluvial soils giving a character known as “Rutherford dust”. Merlot grown here will pick up this character, though when it gets too warm, this and varietal character are diluted and replaced with a jammy sweetness.

Deep ruby with a violet edge, this wine is sweet and ripe with plenty of oak notes that dominate the nose – most notably vanilla, butterscotch, resin and tar, along with underlying notes of blueberry, huckleberry, blackberry, and fig. Rich, silky, and glycerous, it is lavishly oaky on the palate as well. Oak tannins are fairly well integrated with the fruit on the palate but they become slightly astringent on the finish. Mitigate this by decanting the wine for aeration, or by serving it with rich meaty dishes.

Reviewed December 12, 2006 by Catherine Fallis.

The Wine

Winery: Raymond Vineyard & Cellar
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Merlot Reserve
Appellation: Napa Valley
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $24.00

Review Date: 12/12/2006

The Reviewer

Catherine Fallis

Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.