Market Vineyards 2008 Benchmark Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

A real success, this 100% Merlot, sourced from the Stillwater Creek and Conner Lee vineyards, is exotically scented with a rich mix of baking spices, coffee, dust, pencil lead and cedar. Lots of oak influence, but it plays well against the tart and mellow berry flavors. There is a suggestion of dried leaf, perhaps an indication of older vines. Paul Gregutt

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