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A new politician is just like merlot — thin-skinned and very sensitive to its environment.

But in the right hands and given time, both can become refined.

We’ve had many merlots over the years, including the cheaper ones that taste like grape stems. Not Stag’s Leap. Those folks know how to produce wonderful wines that are complex, refined and luscious. And not cheap. But sometimes it’s worth a splurge.

A long maceration period followed by French oak aging produces an expressive wine with plenty of dark fruit flavors and a smooth finish.

Sherry: “Smooth and complex with fruity blackberry, cassis and cherry accented with clove and pepper.” (3.5 stars out of 5)

Chris: “A cigar box bouquet with deep and rich flavors of cherry, plum and cassis with spicy clove.” (3.75 stars out of 5)

Available from $28 to $35.

Coming next week: Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne


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