California Grapevine, by Nick Ponomareff, 92pts
Whitley on Wine, by Robert Whitley, 94pts: I found the 2007 Stephanie Merlot (94 points) to be every bit as memorable as the 2006. At the price, it is certainly one of the great wine steals of the Napa Valley.
Wine Spectator, by James Laube, 90pts: Supple yet focused, with black cherry, cedar and spice aromas and fleshy red currant and toasty vanilla flavors that take on loamy tannins and a delicate complexity. Drink now through 2014.
Andrea Immer Robinson, 94pts: Merlot is back on the map with this structured, sophisticated offering from Hestan Vineyards, named for proprietors Stanley and Helen Cheng's daughter Stephanie, whose concert harp is depicted in golden silkscreen on the label. Brooding, cedary bruised plum and balsamic, with leafy layers that speak more to classic Cab than mundane Merlot. Superb, and will cellar beautifully.
Wine Spectator, by James Laube, 90pts: Dense and rich, with currant and fresh earth aromas and muscular dried black cherry, cedar and toasty espresso notes that finish with a flourish of loamy tannins. Best from 2011 through 2015. 475 cases made.
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