Whoa, this is a big wine. Clocking in at 14.9% ABV, the alcohol is definitely noticeable, bordering on hot. The fruit is lush and ripe. The oak is well integrated. Had the ABV come in a little lower, this would've been a much more pleasant experience.
Dark garnet color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of cassis, plum and black pepper. Flavors of plum,, black berries and black raspberries. Medium acidity, medium tannin, medium to full bodied. Drink over the next few years.
At peak. Last of six bottles purchased years ago. Oddly perhaps, though it's drinking very well, we didn't love it. We have this now because we appreciate aged wines, but there was a nerve in the younger bottles that this wine, elegant as it is now, lacks.
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(Shafer Merlot) Medium ruby color; ripe, rich berry, black fruit, French oak nose; ripe black fruit, blackberry, French oak palate; needs 2-3 years for oak to integrate; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20 mos. in French oak, 75% new; 14.9% alcohol)
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