Saturday, March 9, 2019

Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Merlot 1996

Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Merlot 1996

Home, Friday night after an incredibly busy and hectic week, I was looking forward to relaxing with a nice glass of wine. Mindful of cellar management, to open an older bottle late, approaching, or even past it's drinking window, lest it deteriorate or diminish for future enjoyment, I pulled this 1996 Napa Valley Merlot from Paradigm.  

Ren Harris, Linda and Rick.
back in 1999
We tasted and acquired this wine during a visit to the Paradigm Estate and vineyards with proprietors Ren and Marilyn Harris during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 1999. Ren and Marilyn had owned and operated various properties in Napa Valley since 1964 and purchased the Paradigm property in 1975. The '91 release was the inaugural vintage for Paradigm.

The fifty-five acre property lies in the Oakville appellation and consists of fifty acres of vineyards planted in Bordeaux varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the beginning, with  Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot being added a few years later.
We still hold nearly a case of the Paradigm Cabernets we acquired at that time.  We held a mini vertical (series of vintages of the same label) spanning vintages from 1991 up to 2004. We've consumed all our vintages from 1991 thru 1994 but still hold nearly a decade of vintages.

Paradigm wines are all Estate bottled, meaning all the grapes are sourced from their fifty acres of vineyards there on the property. The Paradigm winemaker is the legendary Heidi Barrett who has been there since the beginning.

Tonight, we opted for this Merlot for slightly more casual sipping. We enjoyed this with a selection of artisan cheeses including the remains of the vintage aged 21 year old sharp cheddar from our OTBN tasting a couple weeks ago, and some marinated beef roast which was an ideal pairing combination.

Paradigm Napa Valley Oakville Estate Merlot 1996

This is still drinking nicely at twenty two years, starting to show it age with only slight diminution, but past its prime and so time to starting consuming whats left in the cellar over the next couple of years. The cork was in fine condition but darkening to a tobacco color, there was ever-so-slight rust tinge color on the rim, and the fruits were starting to give way a bit to non-fruit tones of leather and tobacco. It was still very enjoyable and holding its own nicely.

Garnet colored with the slight rust hue, medium bodied, blackberry flavors with tones of cherry and currant fruits, accents of tobacco, leather and a hint of spice turning to floral accents on a lingering smooth tannin finish.

RM 91 points.