The 2005 Swanson Merlot is a definite cross between classic Napa Merlot and quintessential Right-Bank Bordeaux. Ripe cassis and elegant black cherry on the nose, with a hint of spice and plum. The tannins are very ripe and firm. Sweet, toasty oak, overlaid with pure raspberry extract and black cherry. Will cellar very nicely for the next 10 years.
The 2005 Swanson Merlot is the 3rd Swanson vintage for which I have been responsible. The task of capturing Merlot at optimum phenolic ripeness may not get easier, but at least we learn more about what to look for with each passing year. The 2005, I believe proves this point. This is an ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ wine, with the extract and power expected of its Oakville provenance, yet possessing the finesse, grace and complexity of a right-bank Bordeaux. Smoky blackberry and black licorice aromas. Round, ripe and supple, with lingering thickness and fine-grained tannin on the palate, echoing very nicely the aforementioned aromas. While certainly drinkable today, this Merlot will continue to cellar nicely for 6 to 8 more years.