Northstar 2004 Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

In the blend of this intensely fragrant young wine is 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. I like the complexity, the way the primary fruits mix in unusual notes of pineapple along with the black cherry. It's resonant and tangy, with good, long flavors and lots of new oak. This was a year of winemaker transition, and may be the last of the real chocolaty wines from Northstar. Give this plenty of airing, or cellar it for another 3–4 years. Paul Gregutt

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