:Nota Bene 2008 Conner Lee Vineyard Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))

If the label is to be believed, this pure Merlot, from a relatively cool site in a relatively cool year, tops 16% alcohol. The flavors reflect that; a thick mix of tar, smoke, asphalt, espresso and coffee grounds. Buried in there is some black cherry fruit, but it is definitely the barrel flavors and the alcohol that dominate. Paul Gregutt

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