My wife purchased this wine at the supermarket last night (you can do that here in New Hampshire), where it was listed as 2 for $10. This should have been a tip-off, but we had no wine, the liquor stores were closed, and therefore . . . . Anyway, it is a great example of why you should never buy wine at the same place you get your detergent.

It is a wine of surprisingly little character--effectively, grape juice with alcohol added. The bottle lists it as 12.5% alcohol, to be exact, but I find this difficult to believe. In fact, a little extra fermentation might have gone a long way toward making this wine more balanced and, frankly, passable. It has a very short finish, leaving you wondering what you should do with the rest of the bottle.

It is not a bad wine, in that it is clearly made from merlot grapes and retains their soft, supple, unassuming taste (when young, anyway); I may therefore cook with it, but I doubt I will venture to drink it again. It's tragic, in a way, as I understand 1998 was a great growing year for the vineyards in Sonoma, where these grapes were grown.

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