Laura’s Tasting Notes: The 2013 Paloma Merlot
Considered by Winemaker Sheldon Richards to be one of the most complex wines he has ever made and considered by Robert Parker to be deliciously textured and opulent—see Robert’s Review below. The 2013 vintage was a great year for Paloma, as well as the rest of Napa Valley. Why? Because mother nature cooperated, which resulted in excellent growing conditions!
Jumping into the glass, it’s full of raspberry, red plum, and vanilla bean. Breathing deeper into the aromatic depths comes with dried red currant and fig jam notes. As the wine enters the mouth, its approach is silky, soft, and round. The flavor, however, waits until the mid-palate to fully express itself, where an acidic raspberry settles on the tongue before the swallow of fine peppery tannins. The drinker is left with a lingering raspberry finish and a dry tongue, salivating for the next sip.
This wine, as with most Paloma wines, was aged for eighteen months in one-third new French oak and two-thirds neutral French oak. The tannins present tell the drinker that it has life left in it. How much longer can it go? At the time of these notes, fall of 2023, if the cellar conditions are appropriate, I can confidently say at least another ten years. And I would expect the complexity to continue extending over that time. The flavors will become more intricate and nuanced.
Whether you lay it down or drink it now, at 10 years old, it’s in a great place.
This was the fourth drought year in a row for Napa. With relatively high summer temperatures, we saw nicely ripened fruit over the September harvest. We had little to no shatter, which is rare for Paloma during bloom. The spring weather at the top of Spring Mountain does not typically yield the highest bloom rate, but 2013 was a great year!
Robert Parker’s Review of the 2013 Merlot
“93 points. This wine exhibits plenty of plum, black cherry, and blackcurrant fruit, mocha, and coffee bean in a lush, delicious, and opulently textured style. It is drinking beautifully already and will continue to evolve for another decade or more.” —Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast, 2017