Duckhorn Merlot 2002 (California) $49
A brooding shade of purple and a brooding, ungenerous nose to match. A dense, chewy texture and quite spicy. But this wine is way too sweet for my taste.
Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot 2002 (California) $49
Vanilla, toasted oak, and licorice aromas, along with a pronounced liquored note. Another cloyingly sweet merlot—verging on portlike, in fact. A serious question: Is this meant to be drunk with food or just on its own?
The Washington Merlots
Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval 1999 (Washington) $60
Scents of plums, cherries, herbs, and espresso. Full-bodied, with ripe plums and cherries in the mouth. Excellent balance, good finesse.
Andrew Will Klipsun Merlot 1997 (Washington) $60
Woodsy, briary aromas, along with some chocolate, mint, and a hint of tar. Creamy, lush, and quite spicy, with a discernable mocha note. Aging very nicely.
Januik Klipsun Vineyard Merlot 2002 (Washington) $40
The same vineyard as the Andrew Will Klipsun, but not as good a wine. A strong dill note dominates the bouquet, with some creamy red fruit lurking in the background. A pleasant enough wine, but there is a hollowness across the palate, and the dill note persists, unfortunately, right through the finish.
Januik Columbia Valley Merlot 2002 (Washington) $25
Cranberry, wood, tomato skin, and truffle aromas, along with a touch of spiciness. Fleshy and round, with cherry flavors and a slight medicinal edge to the fruit (but not at all off-putting). Not particularly complex, but more than welcome in my glass.
The Long Island Merlot
Lenz Estate Selection Merlot 2000 (Long Island) $23
Very smoky nose, with blackberries, kirsch, black pepper, and some chalk lurking in the background. Pleasantly tart in the mouth, with good concentration. Fairly tannic. A leaner style of merlot, which is a nice departure from the norm; it would be good with food.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.