1996 Profile

Varietals

72% Cabernet Sauvignon
20% Merlot
8% Cabernet Franc

Appellation

Napa Valley

Alcohol

14.5% by volume

Flavor Profile

Elegance, balance and complexity are the dominant themes of this wine in its youth. Its subtle aroma has a complex mingling of berry, cherry, cedar and earth notes that will continue to expand with time in the bottle. Those same notes continue on the palate. The structure is round and balanced, with tannins that are supple and harmonious. Full maturity can be expected in ten years or so.

  • Vineyard Notes

    Beckstoffer, Campbell, Thorevilos, Slawson, Amizetta, Poe, Thompson, and Napanook Vineyards

  • From The Wine Advocate: "The dense plum/purple-colored...

    “… 1996 Profile (a blend of Merryvale’s finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc) boasts a persistent sweet, ripe blackberry, prune and licorice-scented nose. With full body, an opulent texture, a chewy, fleshy personality, and adequate underlying acidity and tannin, it can be drunk now and over the next 12-15 years.”  – Robert Parker, Jr. [90 POINTS]

  • From Wine & Spirits: "A big Napa red,

    “…plush and showy as Puff Daddy’s fur coat, Merryvale’s Profile is made from hillside cab sauv, merlot and cab franc, the vineyards ranging from Spring Mountain to the hillsides east of St. Helena and Rutherford. The dark flavors center around dried currants, fleshy black plum, tobacco leaf and barrel smoke. A curtain of high acidity and high alcohol rises to reveal the fruit as oak smoke descends. Flashy stuff.” [90 POINTS]

  • From The Wine News: 'Bob Levy’s last wine...

    “… for Merryvale offers pleasant, appealing scents of black fruits and anise that also show up on the palate, augmented by cedary, slightly earthy notes. Expands nicely in the glass with airing. Lean, compact and elegant in the French style.”  – Steve Pitcher  [90 POINTS]

  • Form Wine Spectator: "Round, smooth and spicy...

    “… with pretty, supple black cherry, plum, wild berry and mineral flavors. Turns mildly tannic, showing a nice cedary, toasty oak. Best from 2000 through 2009. 6.000 cases made.”  – James Laube [91 POINTS]

  • From Best of the Best: The Quarterly Review of Wines

    45 wines tasted blind, 5 selected. – QRW Tasting Panel

  • From Blends have been around for centuries: Syndicated Newspaper: "Merryvale recently made...

    “… a gutsy move to test whether the hype is worth the price. In Boston, Denver, NY and Chicago, it organized tastings of prestigious CA Cabs, blends and Bordeaux classics, with all wine identities obscured. In each city, Merryale’s Profile blend bested a field of pricier selections. My personal favorites: 1996 Profile, Merryvale.” (Gives number for MV wine club at end of article.) (See also entry on Steve’s comments about Profile blend.) – Mary Ross

  • From Blends have been around for centuries: Syndicated Newspaper: "Powerful and rich...

    “… with meaty flavors accented with berries, plums and spice. In the text of the article: “Says Merryvale winemaker Stephen Test of his ‘Profile’ blend, ‘There’s something that happens when you blend. Cabernet can be tight in the mouth, while Merlot can be fleshy but lacking in structure. Cabernet Franc adds an aromatic note that can’t be achieved any other way. What we’re looking for is a big, fat, round, seamless mouthful. Any one of the Bordeaux by themselves won’t necessarily do that.” – Mary Ross

  • From Level of Consistent Excellence: Bloomberg News Syndicate

    In article about visiting the Napa Valley… “That isn’t to say that Merryvale’s other wines shouldn’t be tried. Its Starmont Chardonnay is one of the best of its type, and at its moderate price, one of the best values in the field. Much the same can be said about Profile, its Bordeaux-styled proprietary flagship wine.” – Al Bassano

  • From New Release Recommendations: Syndicated Newspaper

    Merryvale Profile, Napa Valley, 1996, is Robert Levy’s last wine with some Michel Rolland thrown in. Mostly cabernet sauvignon with some merlot splashed in for complexity. What complexity! It’s all about those best-barrel lots. Have it for a major occasion. – Layne V. Witherell

  • From Pick of the Week: Syndicated Newspaper: "A powerful California Version...

    “… of the blended Bordeaux style, the glossy Merryvale Profile 1996, Napa Valley, is so seductive with the scent of dry southern hillsides, dusty thyme and lavender, wheatmeal and minerals, cigar box and lead pencil and intensely concentrated cassis and black raspberry fruit that you’re almost surprised when formidable oak and tannin rise like a tide from the depths, dictating four to six years aging. About $75.”  – Fredric Koeppel

  • From Wine of the Week: Dallas Morning News: "How, you might wonder...

    “… does a $79 bottle of wine earn the distinction ”best value”? Answer: When it is blind-tasted by a panel of wine experts who proclaim it to be as good as Opus One ($125) and Cardinale ($122) — wines nearly half-again its price. The tasting took place recently in Houston to determine the quality and style of the finest California cab sauv blends. One of 11 tastings being held across America and in Zurich, Switz., pitted the wines against each other as well as some first-growth Bordeaux wines, all from the 1996 vintage. In each city, a group of qualified professionals tasted the wines double-blind. That means they know neither the wine in any given glass, nor even which wines are being tested. This is done to prevent any preconceived ideas from affecting the scores. Although the results varied slightly from tasting to tasting, they were consistent on the whole. As of this writing, the results of the first six tastings show a three way tie for first place among Opus One, Cardinale and Profile. Now you see why it is deemed to be the best value of the group. This wine also has received a 91 rating from the Wine Spectator and a 90 from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Full of blackberry, plum and black cherry flavor, it has hints of mineral and spice. The body is round and satisfying from the blend of cab sauv, merlot and cab franc grapes. Wines it beat include Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Caymus Napa, Far Niente, Phelps insignia, Pahlmeyer and Legacy — all fine collector’s wines. All 10 wines are just being released and can be found or ordered from fine wine shops. It’s best to order ahead: They are limited-production wines.”  – Diane Teitelbaum

  • From Wines for Great Occasions: Syndicated Newspaper: "Finally, the powerhouse 1996...

    “…Finally, the powerhouse 1996, though even younger, took the grand prize. It was simply a masterpiece of complexity, depth and length. Curiously, it also seemed soft enough to enjoy young, though it will certainly intensify as it ages. Great red wines can be like that. Now for the bad news. A bottle of 1996 Merryvale Profile will cost you about $80. Is it worth that? Well, with Opus One sometimes selling for twice as much and the big guns of Bordeaux for far more, I guess it is.” (see recap of article) – William Clifford