Despite the somewhat spotty reputation of the vintage, Trefethen's 2000 Napa Valley merlot and cabernet sauvignon have both turned out well.
The merlot ($30) delivers penetrating black-cherry fruit with nuances of chocolate and shows better structure than most of its breed. The cabernet ($42) is even better, with black currant, plum and earthy flavors following an enticing cedary aroma. There's plenty of structure, but the tannins are soft, making this a wine you can drink now or in 20 years.
A notch up is the 1999 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Oak Knoll District ($75). Made primarily from Trefethen's hillside vineyard, this concentrated wine offers big, luscious blackberry and black-currant flavors with nuances of chocolate, bay leaf and thyme. This is a wine that can compete with the best cabernets of the valley - many of which command twice the price.