Yesterday, I had my last bottle of the 1997 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon. I got a little worried as I decanted the wine. Amongst the dark inkish tones were aspects of brown and orange. This should not happen for a 12 year old premium Cabernet. As it turned out, there was no major fault, but what I would call flaws in the wine making.
The wine showed strong violets on the nose and equally on the palate. The fruit was redcurrant, however, it was very ripe and tasted quite dead. The tannin structure was holding up well, but the wine was falling in a gaping hole on the mid-palate. It had some length after that, but not much flavour, which also meant the alcohol was very much present.
Overall, a good illustration of Nappa Cabernet and why most people like to drink these wines early. They are built for the moment and not made to last.