This Merlot is quite dark, with plentiful black plum, anise and toasty oak aromas and flavors. Medium-weight and nicely balanced, it's smooth and jammy, yet avoids the sweet or candied quality of so many warm-climate wines. Displays a touch of class for an easy drinker, finishing with decent length and a faint earth-mineral note. Best now through 2004. —M.M.