For this experiment, I chose to compare (blind) two wines from Merryvale Vineyards: the 1999 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon bought $20.80 at the time, and the 1999 Merryvale Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that costed me $30.20. Both are from the Napa Valley, from the same vintage, and both have some amount of Merlot in the blend.
In the glass, the two wines had a similar deep garnet color, the Reserve being slightly darker. The regular Cabernet had a bright, spicy, and smoky nose whereas the Reserve had a denser nose with black fruit and cherry liqueur aromas, and some smoky notes. On the palate, the regular Cabernet was medium-bodied, slightly lean on the mid palate with some acidity on the finish. In comparison, the Reserve had a fuller and more complex body, with a more tannic finish.
At the end, it was easy to identify the two wines. The regular Cabernet was a fine wine that had aged pretty well but it didn't have the complexity of the Reserve. Does that mean that the Reserve was worth the price? I think so.
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