Some friends dropped by and stayed for dinner last night. As an apperitif, I poured the 05 Perrin Cotes du Rhone blanc. I usually only like this wine in lean vintages, but the 05 has a pleasant fruit and acid balance, showing peach, green plum and white fig flavors. Nice.
I then opened a wine I'd saved expressly to open with these friends for he's a big big fan of Gary Farrell, both the man and his pinots. This 91 Gary Farrell Ladi's Vineyard Merlot was guaranteed to be at least interesting, but happily it turned out to be more than that, much more. First of all, a nose to die for, one we had trouble defining except that it's everything you would hope a 15 year old California Merlot might smell like: leather, fruit, brightness and just a bit of funk. The brightness tells you that the wine is going to have a fine acid backbone, and it did. Lovely to drink, tasting mostly of red fruits and leather, and it had a long harmonious finish. The tannins are mostly resolved but the wine could hold here for years. We asked ourselves if we could identify it as merlot: no, not really. I thought it more like Sonoma cabernet, and Jim thought zinfandel which was perhaps a better thought, for the fruit was not unlike the zinberry fruit of young, unmonstered zinfandel. Anyway, a spectacular wine.