MERITAGE WINES

Opus One 1993

Pretty dark purple color. Great nose of lavender, cassis and oak. Full bodied, and remarkably layered, this wine had lots of depth, reasonable extraction and a very nice presentation of fruit melded well with surprisingly subtle tannins. Nice length, and a wine that seems to have gotten better in the last 2 years. VERY GOOD PLUS

Leonetti Walla Walla Select 1992

This Cab/Merlot blend was only made in 1990 and 1992. Medium dark ruby color, not brilliant. Sexy nose of nutmeg,
penny candy and chocolate. Attenuated attack with lighter body than expected. Good flavor profile with almost a bob-bon like essence. Pretty mature to this palate, with cherry and pepper on the surprisingly short
finish. VERY GOOD

Ridge MonteBello 1973

Dark ruby edging to brown. Bread dough and a mintlike characteristic aromatically. Fully mature, but seemingly not fading, this wine has an earth-oriented palate, and is remarkably Bordeaux-like. Balanced, with a great overall impression. I dumped the rest of the Pinots, but drank this. EXCELLENT MINUS. MM. 10/99 It rocked like Foghat, still going after 26 years!

Viader 1997, Napa Valley

(Cabernet Sauvignon 62%/Cabernet Franc 38%)

Deep in color. Sensational nose of violets and pepper, rose pedal and clove. Initial impact of fruit is intense with an obvious smooth layer of oak and fruit. Intense black cherry and plums meld nicely with persistent and balanced tannin and vanillin. Most impressive about this wine is the finish, it is a hovercraft of sinful black fruit that seem to fly away very slowly. Not for everyone at $50, but a great wine experience none the less. Buy it now, and if you can wait, hold it for two years. Enjoy. $50. -CG

Mattews Cellars 1997, Yakima Valley

(Cabernet Sauvignon 71%/ Merlot 18%/ Cabernet Franc 11%)

Deep in color. Enticing and complex aromas of tar, black currant and plums with a touch of dill and menthol rounding out the scents with new oak. In the mouth it is smooth and sexy, with plenty of oak and ripe cherry, balanced with a cool minty note. This finish is nicely balanced with fine new oak, powdery tannin and vanilla bean. Drinks great now but If you can hold it wait till 2002 and on. Enjoy. $35. -CG