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Red Wine

Beaux Frères Gran Moraine Pinot Noir 2015

Beaux Frères Gran Moraine Pinot Noir 2015

From a small, narrow vineyard aptly named The Tongue, Beaux Frères 2015 Gran Moriane Pinot Noir is made from Dijon clones planted in transitional volcanic marine uplift. Coastal influence has graced it with lavish aromas of ripe blue fruit, black raspberries, underbrush, lilacs, and a dusting of cocoa powder. The profile is more masculine in expression—the interplay of acid and fine tannins lend focus, a center of gravity, even as buoyant shards of flecked and ancient siltstone dance and shimmer on the palate. The finish, one of smoky minerality, cacao nibs, and warm spice. Sample Beau Frères 94 Points...

Tendril Wine Cellars Extrovert Pinot Noir 2014

Tendril Wine Cellars Extrovert Pinot Noir 2014

Winemaker Tony Rynders 2014 'Extrovert' is so named because it is the most fruit forward label in Tendril's portfolio. On the nose, the subtle interplay of blackberry, black cherry, cola, underbrush and decaying rose petal sets the stage for this focused Pinot Noir. In it, one can find concentration and balance, fine tannins, and admirable length. Tendril Wine Cellars 91 Points...

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...

Château des Fougères Graves Clos Montesquieu 2014

Château des Fougères Graves Clos Montesquieu 2014

An excellent Bordeaux value that will offer drinking pleasure over the next decade or so—this opaque beauty, the 2014 Château des Fougères Graves Clos Montesquieu, is richly perfumed with blackcurrants, blackberry jelly, cedar, juniper berry, crushed lavender, and dried mint. Grippy tannins gather at the fore-palate like storm clouds on the horizon, then dissipate, neatly segueing into an earthy undercurrent that terminates in a dusting of mineral splendor and bay leaf. Better with decanting. Château des Fougères 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...

Alain Voge Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014

Alain Voge Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014

Crafted from 60 year-old biodynamically farmed Syrah, Alain Vogue's Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014 is expressive, yet restrained. Blueberries and blackberries wind 'round earth, black olive, and pink peppercorn. As its opens, secondary aromas emerge: clove, cinnamon bark, cardamom, lanolin, spice, violets, incense. It’s poised, with all of the power Syrah commands, but there is freshness too. It ends on a decidedly mineral note, an arc of volcanic granite, long since decomposed. 13.5% ABV | Sample Alain Voge 91 Points...

E. Guigal Château d'Ampuis Côte-Rôtie 2012

E. Guigal Château d’Ampuis Côte-Rôtie 2012

Seductive aromas of sous bois, mushroom, brambly forest fruit, cloves, cardamom, and violets, or perhaps an elusive note of heliotrope flow from the glass. Of note, Guigal's 2012 Château d'Ampuis is slightly lighter in body than the typical Cote-Rotie, but the intensity and palate tension is there—a framework of fine tannins and taught acidity that seamlessly knits together this soulful blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. The finish is one of subtle smoke and spice. 13.5% ABV | Sample E. Guigal 93 Points...

Château Pavie Arômes de Pavie Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2009

Château Pavie Arômes de Pavie Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2009

Arômes de Pavie is the second label of Château Pavie, and is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2009—a warm, ripe vintage is drinking beautifully now. Tight on opening, but after three hours aromas of earth and dust, and freshly turned soil emerge and subside, followed by Damson plums, mulberries, camphor, and Tandoori spice. Fine, supple tannins lend structure and finesse to this wine's well-balanced acidity and focus, as it glides to a lingering finish of spice and pu-erh tea. Château Pavie 91 Points...

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

A winery that narrowly avoided last October's fire, William Hill Estate has been turning out solid Napa Valley Cabernets for more than thirty years. The 2013 vintage is opaque in the glass with a violet to the edge to the rim. Dusty blackberries, plums, and black currants with a decidedly savory edge. In the mouth, its full of soft, jammy fruit neatly wrapped in velvet and toast. Nicely balanced despite a hefty 15.2% ABV—you'd never know it's there. Cedar, and a touch of mocha on the finish. Sample  William Hill Estate Winery 8.9 Points  ...