White Hall Lane Napa Valley 2007 Merlot, $25.99-$30.99, 92 points, is like an old friend with a new hair-cut and new shoes. However the old friend (wine) is still the same person we've always loved.
White Hall Lane 2007 Merlot has a clear Burgundy red color with flashes of amber tints.
The Bouquet is of sweet-spice, slightest of earth tones, and the three Cs: a pleasant balance of Cinnamon, Clove, and Cedar.
A sleek silky mouth-feel gains power throughout the palate with espresso, plum, licorice, and gentle floral notes.
The finish is long and wonderfully spicy, my Zinfandel taste-buds were a-singing.
Often, I try to review wines for my "average" reader: people who don't want to spend more than $10.00, $20.00 Maximum, for a bottle of wine, but if you wanted a vacation day to have a special wine (Like We Did), this Merlot fit the bill perfectly (Paired with "Hot" Salami pizza and dark espresso chocolate).
So, with a Merlot from France and one from Washington State, the reviews were ordained to have a California Merlot in the mix.
Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2003 Tempranillo, $14.99-$18.99, 90 points, is 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo.
The color is a clear rusty red with orange hints.
The aroma is gently sweet, with cedar-spice, plum-coffee, and grape hints.
The mouth-feel is supple and smooth in a light to medium body.
The flavors are strawberry and plum with a light bitterness.
I loved this wine. Some others who were with me thought it just okay, but for the price, this wine is a good introduction to Rioja wines.