Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine: Sullivan Vineyards 2003 Reserve Merlot, Estate (Rutherford)

Sullivan Vineyards

2003 Reserve Merlot, Estate
(Rutherford ~ Napa Valley)

If one has the opportunity – as well as pleasure – of tasting this wine alongside Sullivan Vineyard’s “regular” Merlot, one can compare and contrast and immediately know the differences. Double the price of the estate wine, the reserve is still a bit closed at the moment. On the palate it’s big – more so than the regular – but it’s round and elegant with layers of complexity. There are big tannins and extraction here, too. So, hold it for a couple of years and it will live a long life – perhaps as much as 20 years. The regular by contrast will survive half as long. They’re both wonderful wines – and expensive – but don’t be mistaken that the regular Merlot is only half the wine that is the reserve.

The reserve Merlot comes from a single block on the Sullivan’s estate that has a high clay content. It was aged on its lees and never racked (transferred) for 22 months in French barrels, all of which were new. The listed alcohol is 14.3 percent and there were only 160 cases produced.

Reviewed December 21, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

The Wine

Winery: Sullivan Vineyards
Vineyard: Estate
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Reserve Merlot
Appellation: Rutherford ~ Napa Valley
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $100.00

Review Date: 12/21/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.