The winery closed now, this bottle shows the promise lost in today’s economy. At this price point, most Napa Merlots are drink-now fruit bomb oaksidents. Primary fruits are black, but dark, blackberry ad unripe plums over secondary red fruits, raspberry and sour cherry. There is some mint on the mid-palate and a touch of tobacco, hinting at perhaps a tiny blend of Cabernet Franc in the mix. Swirling around all of it, though, is a bucket-load of unsweetened chocolate, never overpowering anything but always hovering in the background, adding depth to every other flavor. This one shows structure and layers, and is marked by herbal secondary flavors. It is tight, tannic, mouth-drying, and a little disjointed, needing two to five years of cellar life before it reaches its peak. But it would soften right away if paired with a porterhouse.

WHO: Havens
WHAT: Merlot
WHERE: Carneros, California
WHEN: 2006
HOW MUCH: $20

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