So it's the first Saturday of the month and of course that means it's Cellar Saturday! And tonight we have a super treat, one I've been waiting to try since I bought it in Walla Walla last June, the 1998 Seven Hills Vineyard Reserve Merlot! I know a lot of you have an apprehension towards Merlot, but I have to tell you I really enjoy it, particularly when it comes from an ageworthy producer like Seven Hills, so that 15 years later when you try it, you are just shocked at what it does for you!
The wine is pretty clear around the edges, with some opacity toward the center, but still a bright ruby color all around. The nose is very nice, with loads of ripe fruit, black plum, tart cherry and blueberry, overlaid with layers of anise, leather and Asian spice. The taste is delightful, with some initial red fruit, blackberries, plum and tart cherry that transitions to some tarragon and dusty limestone midpalate. The finish was divine, as the tannins are very structured along with some remaining acidity that gives this wine an exceptionally long, dry finish. And I have to admit, that in the end, the finish had some of the classic Bordeaux funk to it that really made me stop and question whether this wine was from Walla Walla or the right bank of the Gironde!
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's just such a treat to drink that I don't even remember or care what I paid for it. Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic dinner of rare grilled Angus ribeye sliced and topped with Bearnaise sauce, along with a baked heirloom potato and some grilled carrots, leeks and brussels sprouts. The wine is such a great complement to the richness of the food, it's a perfect autumn evening now. Cheers!