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1998 Merus Cabernet Napa
(93 points) A joint effort of Mark Herold, a former research oenologist at Joseph Phelps, and Erika Gottl, has produced 230 cases of their first wine, the 1998 Merus. The wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine was made from fruit picked extremely ripe, aged largely in French new oak. It was slightly fined but not filtered. The 1998 (14.9% alcohol) is indeed an impressive wine from a much-maligned vintage.
The color is intense ruby/purple. The nose offers up notes of creme de cassis and sweet black cherries, intermixed with nicely-infused toasty oak, mineral, and floral notes. The acidity seems low in this full-bodied, expressive, rich, multi-layered wine with a terrific texture and exceptional purity. This is a superb 1998, and certainly one of the finest wines of the vintage. It is also one heck of a debut wine from this small operation ... a California garage wine perhaps? Again, purity, symmetry, and intensity are hallmarks of this wine. Wine Advocate #132 Dec 2000
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