The 2001 Rosenthal The Malibu Estate Devon Vineyard Merlot is rich in color and flush with flavor. Yet, it is an elegant, easy to drink Merlot that combines the rich, redolent fruit of California with the elegance and suave sophistication of classic, top-notch Bordeaux from St. Émilion. A rich amplifying nose of cassis, cedar, chocolate, tobacco, and plum all recall the best efforts of Bordeaux's most privileged St. Émilion Grand Cru estates. Meanwhile, this wine's rich fruit, great extract, and substantial body, including 14.1% alcohol, remind us, indeed, that Rosenthal's Devon Vineyard Merlot remains a California classic. This wine is, also, Merlot at its best. Smooth but very flavorful, the 2001 The Malibu Estate Devon Vineyard Merlot is thankfully nothing like the far too many thin, insipid, over-cropped renditions of California Merlot that pervade the market. Instead, this outstanding effort is testimony to the importance of low yields and the estate's fastidious approach to winemaking. As always, this most recent release from The Malibu Estate was bottled without fining or filtration. We wish more California wineries would take a lesson here? Enjoy this classic beauty now and for the next several years. We suggest serving The Malibu Rosenthal Estate Merlot at cool room temperature or approximately 66° F. Extended aeration is not necessary, as this wine requires only a few minutes in the glass to shine.