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Red Wine

Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats 2015

Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats 2015

Soft, plummy and plush, the 2015 Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats offers ample drinking pleasure. On opening, black cherries, ripe Damson plums, cedar, sweet tobacco and menthol. The palate takes its cues from the nose, with a uniform profile—juicy black fruit cozened in velvety, ripe tannins and tempered acidity. This is a wine I would, and am, happy to enjoy it on its own. 13.5% ABV | Sample Alain Jaume & Fils 89 Points...

Adega da Cartuxa Évora Colheita Tinto 2013

Adega da Cartuxa Évora Colheita Tinto 2013

Ruby hued, the 2013 Cartuxa Évora Colheita Tinto is, at least for this writer, more expressive on the second day, and is deeply perfumed with notes of Japanese plums, blueberries, balsam wood, and exotic spice. Softly textured on the palate with lovely purity of fruit, couched in black tea tannins, this traditional Alentejo blend of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alfrocheiro, Periquita, Moreto, and Tinta Caiada culminates in a finish of plum skins and dried herbs. 14.5% ABV | Sample Adega da Cartuxa 91 Points...

Domaine Amido Lirac 2014

Domaine Amido Lirac 2014

A splendidly perfumed nose that is so classic of Grenache: raspberry pastis, market strawberries, forest floor, black licorice candy, violets, and warm spice. The 2014 Domaine Amido Lirac is fresh and vibrant on the palate, with a sweet-fruited raspberry turnover core supported by ultra-fine tannins. The finish, while not lengthy, offers bay leaf and spice. I poured myself another glass without giving it a second thought, something I rarely do with samples. 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah | 13.0% ABV Domaine Amido 91 Points...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

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  ...

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The 2013 Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is furnished in fruit-forward that run the gamut from black currants to blueberries along with toast, cedar and woodspice. Concentrated, ripe, and fairly powerful in the mouth, making this an ideal steak wine, the finish is herbaceous—a hanging note where bell pepper and cracked black pepper make their debut. Sample Lapostolle 8.9 Points...