92 pts, Steve Heimoff - Cameron Hughes 2013 Lot 444 Meritage (Napa Valley): $19, 14.9%. This is quite a distinguished wine, but it’s very young and rather impertinent at this time. (“Impertinent”: I always liked that old-fashioned term for a wine that’s immature, gawky, all primary fruit and barrel influences.) Here are the particulars: bone dry, full-bodied and tannic, with deep, complex blackcurrant, dark chocolate, espresso and oak flavors, and a firm minerality that adds to the architectural integrity. Cameron suggests that the wine, a Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend, comes from Oak Knoll, which might account for its fine structure. The wine will improve over the next 5-6 years, maybe a little longer, so decant and enjoy with its ideal partner, steak. Nineteen bucks? You have got to be kidding.
Lot 444 explodes with bright cherry and acacia flower and quickly opens up to reveal a core of spicy cherry pie, blackberry jam, and toasty oak, with top notes of graphite and wet stone. Aromas of dark chocolate and coffee emerge with a few more minutes of air. Rich, spicy and lush on the palate with deeply textured black fruits and toasty oak notes that end in a coffee chocolate kiss. This wine is simultaneously graceful and extravagant, but simply put, it’s kick-ass juice.
Style: Medium, Smooth
Flavors: Coffee, Oak, Plum