Merlot. Revisited

Ok. So instead of Syrah, I was compelled to open another bottle of 1999 Merlot.. Was I crazy. Could that Carneros $40 bottle of Mondavi merlot be so bad. Did I just not like the terroir from Carneros? So I switched valleys. Over to Sonoma Valley and Chateau St. Jean. This time the 1999 Chateau St. Jean, St. Jean Estate Vineyard Merlot. Night & Day. With beautiful aromatics revealing plum, dark berries and spice. While on the palate a sweetness the unfolds cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate and molasses. Infinitely better. To be sure, this is grown in a warmer region and therefore I'm sure the fruit had a chance to ripen better than the post El Nino, el nina vintage of 1999. For my money, Chateau St. Jean. This is a limited selection bottling and I couldn't find it listed anywhere. I received this as part of their quarterly mailings for their reserve wine club. I So I don't know the price offhand. But I wonder how their standard supermarket merlot stands up. Perhaps another night. 91 points.