One of my best friends is moving from Napa to San Francisco. I know that our friendship will transcend those 50 miles, just as they’ve transcended our age gap and voting record. But still I’ll miss her proximity, and the ability to pop over with a bottle of wine at a moment’s notice.
So when she invited me over on a Monday night to share a pizza and watch a shared guilty pleasure together on television, I grabbed a bottle of Merus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003. It was a special bottle that I had been holding onto for a while, but I wanted to commemorate what was probably one of our last moments together in her Napa home. Part of collecting wine means knowing when to open it, and a special bottle of wine can turn an ordinary Monday night into a memory we’ll have for years.
I grabbed the perfect bottle to create a memory. It was showing beautifully—gorgeous, very concentrated and muscular and full of ripe berry flavors. Best of all were all the details: tobacco and spice, earth, leather, smoke and licorice notes that were both generous and sophisticated and revealed themselves over the hours. I gave it 94 points, non-blind. I could see it going strong for another 10 years. The friendship, another 50. At least.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Merus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003 (91, $160).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California Cabernets.