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Blankiet Paradise Hills Merlot 2003

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • RP96
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Winemaker Notes

"The 2003 Merlot is better out of bottle than it was from cask. An explosively rich wine that ranks among the finest Merlots I have tasted from California in the last decade, it boasts an incredibly perfumed nose of espresso roast, mocha-infused chocolate, blackberry, cassis, cherry liqueur, and smoke. With an enormous texture, fabulous concentration, a packed-and-stacked mid-palate, and an explosive intense, ripe, long finish, this stunning wine is extraordinarily complex and savory. Anticipated maturity: now-2020. As I have written before, the only way readers are going to get any of this wine is to be on the mailing list or check out one of the few restaurants that receives an allocation. This is an amazing operation on the hillsides overlooking the huge Dominus/Napanook estate. A complex set of caves and a remarkable, nearly surreal chateau grace the property. Winemaker Helen Turley, working with her viticulturalist husband, John Wetlaufer, is fashioning some spectacular wines from these hillsides of volcanic ash and basalt. These are big, structured, potentially long-lived wines that will need some cellar time for those lucky enough to latch onto a few bottles. Everything to date has been aged in 100% new Taransaud barrels for 18-19 months and then bottled unfiltered." - Wine Advocate"

Critical Acclaim

RP 96
The Wine Advocate

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Blankiet

Blankiet

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Blankiet, , California
Blankiet
Blankiet Estate was created in 1996 by Claude Blankiet and his wife, Katherine. It is located in the western hills of Yountville in Napa Valley. From 46 acres on the foothills of the Mayacamas range, 16 acres of vineyard have been developed by renowned viticulturist David Abreu. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were planted on volcanic ash and fractured rock, and Merlot on the clay deposited by streams draining the mountain ridge above. Helen Turley was hired as winemaker and responsible for the first eight vintages. Then in 2006, Martha McClellan-Levy took over winemaking, assisted by oenologist, Michel Rolland from Pomerol.

Robert Parker validated the potential of Blankiet's terroir stating that the wines produced "combines the extraordinary power of the site with unbelievable elegance and definition." Future plans for the vineyard include planting of additional Cabernet Franc and a small amount of Petit Verdot.

Trentino-Alto Adige

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A mountainous northern Italian region heavily influenced by German culture, Trentino-Alto Adige is actually made up of two separate but similar regions: Alto Adige and Trentino. Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of large volumes of wine made from non-native grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio produced here, and Merlot is common as well.

The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) is more focused on smaller-scale viticulture, and greater value is placed on local varieties, though international varieties are widely planted as well. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are planted at extreme altitude on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure. Dominant red varieties include the bold, herbaceous Lagrein and delicate, strawberry-kissed Schiava, in addition to some Pinot Nero. The primary white grapes are Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Müller Thurgau, and others. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot Grigio in Italy is made here.

KHKMERLOT_2003 Item# 90881

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