James Leigh 2003 Spofford Station Merlot (Walla Walla Valley (WA))

Thick, lush and substantial, this is about as chewy a Merlot as you'll ever find. There's 10% Cabernet in the blend, but it's the Merlot that seems to provide the mass, the weight and the substance—if anything, the Cab thins it out a bit. A very impressive, dense and flavorful wine, it melds black fruits, licorice, graphite and Asian tea into a rich and satisfying whole. Paul Gregutt

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