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Red Wine

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Iconic? Yes. A great value? You bet. Charles Smith's nod to the Old World, Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is abundant with fruit: blueberry pie, ripe black cherries and plums orbit lighter notes of vanilla and violets 'round the bowl of the glass. On the palate, it's textbook Washington Cabernet, abundantly laden in mouth-filling fruit, lightly trussed in ripe tannins. Go ahead, pour yourself a second glass. 13.5% ABV | Sample Charles Smith Wines 8.9 Points ...

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

It begins with a pulse. Blackberries. Like Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, softly, softly roasted black cherries and blackcurrants emerge, followed by lilting notes of graphite, sandalwood, forest and pain grille. On the palate, rippling layers of opulent dark fruit that glide across a textural landscape of well-integrated, supple tannins. The 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet the very definition of elegance, certainly the benchmark for what Washington State can achieve. 14.9% ABV Quilceda Creek Vintners 9.8 Points ...

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

From Garagiste, a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec—in this case from a biodynamic producer (something of a rarity in Bordeaux), the 2015 Château de Monbazan Graves Rouge is plush on the nose and palate. The first impression is one of cherry pie, followed by vanilla, baking spices, and the merest suggestion of violets. It's easy going on the palate, with no hard edges. And while it lacks the earthy, leathery soulfulness that Graves is known for, it has charm. Drink now. 13.5% ABV Château de Monbazan 8.8 Points...

Herdade do Esporão Esporão Reserva Tinto 2014

Herdade do Esporão Esporão Reserva Tinto 2014

Another excellent vintage from Esporão, the 2014 Reserva Tinto is a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Trincadeira, and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French and American oak for 12 months. The nose is poetic: anise, violets, cigarette pack foil (a very specific aroma, my mother was a heavy smoker) black raspberry, and black cherry. And while there's no suggestion of the gamey-savory note on the nose that explodes on the palate like a caged tiger, it has lovely sueded tannins and a white pepper finish. 14.5% ABV | Sample Herdade do Esporão 9.0 Points ...

Ledger David Rouge Valley Southern Oregon Tempranillo 2015

Ledger David Rouge Valley Southern Oregon Tempranillo 2015

Ledger David's 2015 Red Valley Tempranillo displays some hard angles on opening, especially in terms of acid balance. It's much better on the second day, yielding soft aromas of plums, bing cherries, cedar, and violets. Medium bodied, and tightly-wound, with powdery tannins and a spicy hit of black pepper that charges in the back palate and gradually fade to Dutch cocoa powder process. Needs decanting. 14.7% ABV | sample Ledger David Cellars 8.8 Points ...

San Marzano Talò Malvasia Nera Salento IGT 2015

San Marzano Talò Malvasia Nera Salento IGT 2015

Another delightful find from San Marzano, this 100% Malvasia Nera is softly textured and juicy. As with all wines in the Talò line, it over delivers for its roughly $15.00 price point. Juicy Italian plums, blackberries and black cherries are rendered more complex by an earthy-savory edge of dried herbs, coffee, and underbrush. In the mouth, it's round, fleshy, and voluptuous, and all too easy to drink. A soulful pairing with pizza, roast duck or pigeon. 13.5% ABV | Sample San Marzano 9.0 Points...

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

One of Napa Valley's best kept secrets, Louis M. Martini's 2013 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with juicy blackberries, blackcurrants, and cassis. Leather, dried leaves, and trail dust along with an attractive top note of vanilla round out the nose. It's sleek and softly textured on the palate with fine tannins and a medium+ finish. At this point in its evolution, it's totally accessible and offers real drinking pleasure for a modest price. Sample Louis M. Martini 9.0 Points...

Murrieta's Well The Spur Red Blend 2014

Murrieta’s Well The Spur 2014

Better on the second day, I recommend decanting on opening — a ripe blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petite Sirah, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc from Livermore Valley — the 2014 Murietta's Well 'The Spur' opens with notes of blueberry, black raspberry, black cherry, and blackcurrants couched in dark layers of earth, leather, and baking spice. It's fairly plush on entry, with ripe, chewy tannins lending structure to a black-fruited core. 14.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta's Well 9.0 Points...

Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 & 2014

Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

2014 marked Col Solare's 20th vintage, giving the winery ample reason to celebrate the enduring partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Marchesi Antinori. A warmer, riper vintage than 2013, this memorable Red Mountain Cabernet is all about power and sinewy concentration, with black cherry, cassis, blackcurrant, dark chocolate shavings and espresso rippling across this wine's baritone expanse. This is a broad-shouldered, serious wine that will offer another decade of drinking pleasure. Col Solare 9.4 Points...

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie 2014

Crushed raspberries, pie cherries, cranberries, and underbrush waft from the glass. Beguiling secondary notes of dried violets, lilacs and potting soil lend perfumy complexity. It's a light, nimble Gamay—classic Fleurie—with lifted red fruit tightly wound round a mineral vein of iron ore followed by loamy soil, and bay leaf. 13.0% ABV Domaine de Roche-Guillon 8.8 Points  ...