Thursday, March 24, 2011

**** Chez Ray Merlot, 2003, Yakima Valley, WA

Original Review, October, 2008: This 2003 Chez Ray Merlot is made from frozen grapes from Brehm Vineyards, fermented warm with Pasteur Red yeast, pressed at dryness.

Medium dusty red in the glass. No bricking yet, despite five years of age. Aromas are medium/shy, deep and ruddy. Only a hint of oak and deep fruit.

On the palate, you note a full, deep middle - somewhat inky - with even tannins coating the rest of your mouth. Finish is balanced, moderately long, fairly classic.

Three stars with a plus for classical beauty, using the Spirit of Wine scale.

Updated Review, over a year later, February, 2010:  Color, aromas and body have held very well during the past couple of years.  Now, furry and round on the finish.  Heading toward four stars.
Updated Review, now eight years from vintage date, March, 2011:  Deep red in the glass, opaque in the middle, now bricking at the edge.   Aromas are deep, almost over-ripe fruit, suggesting it may be at or past prime. Palate is round and balanced now, full, deep and layered.  It is at its peak, and just touches the fourth star.  Following long decant, held overnight in partially filled bottle, kept cool:  The aroma still hints of over-exposure, but now even better knitted together on the palate.  Quite compelling.

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