© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
L'Ecole No 41 1995 Columbia Valley (Washington State) Merlot ($19.99)
I'm frankly not crazy about the current fad for Merlot, which too many U.S. producers seem to drive with mass-market "Red Chardonnays," mellow and sweet and lacking much interest. But this one's a tasty exception at a price that's not low but fair. Dark ruby in color, almost opaque, this wine breathes a full, forward cherry-berry aroma limned by spicy oak. Juicy tart-cherry flavors follow, ripe and so fruity that it almost seems sweet; oaky aromatics are evident, but not dominant, in a long finish. Very pleasureable wine, if not overly complex, it merits compliments like "approachable" and even "delicious." If Merlot's your game, it doesn't get much better than this. (Dec. 16, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: Just right with garlicky pan-grilled lamb chops.
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