Spring Valley Vineyard 2005 Muleskinner Merlot (Walla Walla Valley (WA))

This is firm and well-oaked, with the customary high alcohol levels that Spring Valley has been able to manage so well in the past. But at 15+% one expects to find commensurate weight and density; this feels like a much lighter wine, as far as the fruit concentration is concerned. The tannins are still a bit rough and slightly bitter, and the cherry fruit flavors not quite up to carrying all that new oak. Paul Gregutt

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