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In Praise Of Merlot Wine

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   Gush Etzion, Emek Bracha, Merlot, 2008: Oak-aged for 22 months, a garnet toward royal purple blend of 81 percent Merlot and 19 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and a fine array of currant, wild berry and red plums, those complemented nicely by hints of black pepper and dark chocolate. Long and generous. Drink now-2013. Score: 90.


   Odem Mountain, Reserve, Merlot, 2008: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied with soft, gently caressing tannins and a moderate hand with the oak. On the nose and palate currants, wild berries, black cherries and a gentle hint of licorice on the long finish. Drink now-2015. Score: 90.


   Tabor, Adama II, Merlot, 2008: Dark cherry red toward garnet, made entirely from Merlot grapes harvested on Kerem Ben Zimra in the Upper Galilee on volcanic soil, reflecting its 12 months in oak with full-body, soft tannins and light notes of smoky oak. On the nose and palate currants, red berries and notes of citrus peel all on a light note of white pepper. Round, long and generous. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.


   Tzuba,Tel Tzuba, Merlot, 2008: Garnet toward royal purple with orange reflections, full-bodied with soft, gently mouth-coating tannins and showing fine concentration and balance. On first attack red currants and raspberries, those yielding to blackberries and an appealing hint of bitter herbs. Drink now-2014. Score: 90.

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