Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review and Rating: *** Chez Ray M'5 Los Lomas Merlot, 2005, Carneros, Napa County CA

Original Review, July 2008: This is a newer vintage Chez Ray wine, vinted from Brehm frozen grapes from Napa county. This pure-breed merlot was first sampled here and its making was described here.

This is one of two Carneros merlots I made from 2005. The other one is reviewed here.

Let see what this one is like: In the glass, it is a medium magenta with purple highlights. The aroma is intriguing: "eau de helium" is how I would characterize it; actually seems like you are sniffing inside a balloon! Not a bad aroma, just odd. Let's see, here's the balloon knot, hmmm, very smooth sides, etc...

Now let's see what the inside of a helium balloon tastes like: most of what you notice first are an onslaught of acids across the palate, this is backed by a tannin finish that further puckers after you're already puckered from the acids. My face is a sorry sight at the moment.

This definitely has structure and acids, but no fruit and no classical aroma of note. I would recommend laying down for a few years. My fingers are crossed, but I'm somewhat dubious. One star out of five on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for hope for the future.

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Now a year later, late May, 2009: Mid-deep red - serious blood color. Aromas are not helium any longer - deep, serious, subdued black fruit. On the palate, a lifted acid and solid tannic core, but a solid fruit is squeezing up from out of the depths. The combination is taking on a serious, tough sweetness. Clean finish. Quite intriguing. Time will still help. Now three stars. Good promise for future.

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Updated Review, July, 2010, about five years from vintage date, and three and a half years since bottling; just over one year from last review (picture is from this tasting):  Consistent color and serious black cassis on the nose.  An acid-driven, but full tannin and fruit-backed structure on the palate.  Excellent "fur" and sweetness on the long-lasting palate, with tongue-prickling acids at the end.  Still a strong three stars.  May even grow to a higher level with more time.
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Updated Review, February, 2011:  Deep magenta.  Still love the deep, brooding, dark aromas.  Powerful balance on the palate - shows deep blackberry fruit, big acids and tannins backing things up.  A hint of more mature characters coming through.
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Updated review, over a year later,  May, 2012, now 7 years from vintage date:  Deep magenta.  Brooding aromas with plenty of deep oak.  Somewhat medicinal flavors, but solid ink with solid oak backing it up.  Black currant plus black cherry.   Still a solid three stars.   Strong showing with the additional time in bottle.

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