Tasting Note                         

92  1997 Ridge  Santa Cruz Mountains  Merlot   12/22/11 ($36)

100% Merlot  13.2% alc
Color: Deep garnet with some browning, but little clearing. Impressive for 14 years old, particularly for Merlot. (3.5) Bouquet: Cocoa-infused blackberries, elegant cigarbox and cassis. (3.0) Body: Coats mouth beautifully with excellent fruit, acidity and tannin. Light heavyweight that's acidity propelled. (3.5) Flavor: Parallels bouquet with delicious fruit and intensity. (3.5) Finish: Parallels flavor, but not as expressive. Still long with integrated tannins lingering in the mouth. (3.0)
Overall: This is a serious Merlot with cocoa-infused blackberry fruit that is delicious, but restrained for CA (meant as a complement). It also shows elegant cigarbox, tobacco and mushroom nuances. Has the structure of a serious Pomerol and has finally reached its peak at 14 years old, but still has a few years left in it. I don't know if it's going to get any better, but it should continue to gain more complexity and elegance. (16.5)

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