1996 Pahlmeyer Merlot

“A dense deep purple hue.  An outrageous smokey nose with a palate of dense black fruits.  Super concentrated.  Reminiscent of roasted squab on toast.  Long, silky yet BIG finish.  Style is showy and ostentatious.  Exceptionally concentrated with low acid and fully ripe fruit." – Helen Turley, Winemaker September 1996


  • Napanook,
  • Rancho Chimiles,
  • Caldwell Vineyard,
  • Hossfeld Vineyard,
  • Moon Vineyard


97 Points

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #120, December 1998

The wine is opaque black/purple-colored, with a knock-out nose of plums, black cherries, chocolate, raspberries, licorice, and toasty new oak. Viscous in the mouth, with superb purity, this is a riveting, mind-boggling Merlot that sets a new reference point for this varietal in California. It can be drunk now, but has the potential to last for 15 or more years.

93 Points

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 1999

Saturated deep red-ruby color. Superripe aromas of blackberry, currant, dark chocolate, truffle, meat and exotic spices. Thick, sweet, silky and suave in the mouth, hinting at crystallized black raspberry; begins with rather reined-in flavors, then opens out explosively on the back end without losing its shape. Very long finish features substantial, palate-coating tannins and notes of tobacco, mocha and cardamom. I'd recommend drinking this compelling big boy on the young side: how can it get better than this?

92 Points

James Laube, Wine Spectator, February 1999

Impeccably balanced, remarkably complex and concentrated, with layers of currant, cedar, plum and blackberry. Turns plush and chocolaty on the finish, where the flavors soar on.


Helen Turley
January 1, 1999

The fully ripe grapes were picked at 24 to 25 brix from a small handful of prestigious vineyards. Aged in new Taransaud Bordeaux barrels for 16 months. This wine is unfined and unfiltered.

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