Château Julien 1998 Private Reserve Merlot (Monterey County)

There are some plum and blackberry notes in this dry, rather soft wine. There are also numbing tannins, but they're negotiable. It struggles to achieve richness because, after all, the vintage was lousy, and Monterey (outside Carmel Valley) has yet to make the case for Bordeaux reds. Luke Burke

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