Shafer 2000 Merlot (Napa Valley)

This is brutally good wine. The dark color promises ripeness, and the stains on the side of the glass guarantee a rich, sweet mouthfeel. Just packed with dark berry and chocolate fruit, with the most gorgeous overlay of smoky oak. Fabulous Merlot, and all the more remarkable for being an assembled wine from six different Napa subappellations. —S.H.

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