This Merlot walks into a bar…

Picked one of these up despite some of my cautions lately about the hoarding of Meritage bottlings in light of recent discount-shelf plethoras. And I adore Merlot, and at these prices for something this pedigreed, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Gorgeous dark garnet, with a golden brick edge. The whole package is basically brown, but it honestly doesn’t smell THAT gone. Deep pruney cherry, Robotussin without the medicinal, stewed syrup quite lavish with salted leather, teriyaki jerky and the kind of bludgeoned spice-bag you would imagine dusting hot winter meat-pie.

Fairly incredible to taste, if you move yourself out of the *past-prime* mentality and look for positives, it is easy to concoct a glowing bling-bro account of its sturdy fruit and lovely tertiary. But let’s be real. Again, if you find these, buy it–buy some–but don’t allow the dollar-signs in your greedy eyes to convince you of buying cases. It is an incredible wine to drink RIGHT MEOW and fabulous education–especially if you are younger or learning and do not have wines this age in the cellar. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste these wines, how they have aged, and to file all things under “education”, but stashing piles of them will be a disaster. Sure, one could argue they could sit like this with a small-ramp drop-off of agreeability for another 5 years, and the quality is certainly there to predict such, but there is no arguing their day has come. I know some people scooping up CASES of this stuff and I PROMISE you will regret it.

Rich and vibrant on the palate, thick with all the things we adore in top-shelf Napa Merlot approaching 20, but the fruit is a soggy backyard muss, groveling with raisins and spiked with an over-powering burn of imbalance that will only get worse. The 15-oh most definitely had a hand in this. The tannin is gorgeous, rubbed smooth with soft green bristles and attempting to prod the fruit into another go-round but it needs a blue pill.

I have received considerable criticism for being *down on these wines*. I AM NOT. If you find them, BUY ONE. BUY SEVERAL. DRINK THEM. The provenance is perfect, the corks have all been stellar, and how can you put a price on 20 years? You didn’t even have to cellar it. Just don’t get crazy with the cheez-whiz. THEY ARE TIRED.

2002 YORK CREEK Merlot Spring Mountain Napa Valley 14.9

www.yorkcreekvineyards.com

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