I have always been a fan of Swanson wines - particularly the Merlot, which has always been a robust, lush/rich style, to me. It is one of those types of Merlots that people call a "Cab-drinkers-Merlot", which is a term that I hate. This is a Merlot-Lover's-Merlot: loads of cherry, chocolate and herb flavors. The other wines from Swanson have always been of the highest quality - it is not easy to make lowsy wines with their vineyard locations.
See www.swansonvineyards.com for more info on their location (and chocolates).
2002, Merlot Oakville Estate - really deep nose and color with strong tears on the glass sides; huge chocolate and dark cherry aromas in the nose, smoke and spice, as well. Very rich and smooth on the palate (almost lush in the 2002). Finish is dry with ripe, rich tannins and a longish length that has great herbal, chocolate, cherry-fruit flavors. Big style. Grown primarily on clay.
2002 Alexis Red Blend Oakville Estate - primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah (in fact, with the 2004 vintage this will be labeled as Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon). Very deep, dark color - red-black. Deep cassis- berry- Asian spice flavors; black cherries. Very rich and smooth on the palate; doesn't really dry out, but continues with the rich, ripe, plush tannins well through the finish. Very good drinking wine with a big, but drinkable style. Grown primarily on alluvial loam with lots of drainage.
2005, Pinot Grigio Napa Valley - slight gas presence. Sweet fruit nose with flowery aromas (hibiscus, lily). Quite pleasant, rich style on the palate; some acidity, but more weight than snap. Fine drinking style that is more Pinot Gris than Grigio. Good concentration of fruit.