Popped and poured. Medium-plus garnet, cloudy with subtle bricking. Aromas of black fruits, kirsh, herbs, forest floor, barbecue spices, and roasted corn. Medium-plus body. Quite fresh and lively on the palate, even at age 15....with fresh fruit flavors of blackberry, plum, cassis, and savory/earthy elements of herbs, earth, and even a hint of conifer. Barely even a hint of oak. The tannins are still slightly grainy/chalky on the long finish. Quite amazing that this bottle is showing so strong as it certainly isn't one of the more renowned bottling's WA, much less L'Ecole No. 41. However, it's quite nice to know that WA Merlot will not only stand the test of time but even show improvement - an aspect that makes this a WOW wine.
Day 2: This wine is simply stunning. Ever-changing, it's hard to fully describe the array of diverging, contrasting flavors on the palate...fresh berries, blood orange, fresh herbs (basil in particular), bitter cocoa powder, crushed stones, minerals, stems, menthol. And yet as expressive as the palate is on day 2 the nose is slightly muted...but really, the flavors on the palate are so compellingly addictive at this point it's it's not even worth sniffing. Endless, amazing finish. An epiphany wine.
Quick note: I paid $15 for this bottle on Winebid...quite the QPR in aged Merlot! However, I also purchased a bottle of the 1995 for the same price and that bottle was DOA. Still, what a great (edit: make that profound) surprise!
I have low expectations on opening this wine, but it was taking space in the cellar that could be used by some other (any other) bottle of wine. The initial nose was green with slight vegetal characteristics, some green pepper and maybe dill. I left the glass and came back to it 2 hours later. A surprising recovery, The greenness blew off and the wine took on more weight, following through to the finish. Although short, the finish was sweet with resolved tannins. Better than before, but not all that good none the less.
This is not very good wine. A piercing and sharp jolt hits you in the nose as soon as you pull the cork, this settles down, but to what? A weedy and veg element is always present, the wine is just hard, a bit tannic and not pleasant. If you must drink this, it does improve somewhat after an hour.