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Masperla - Priorat
What an incredible deal this was. This showed all the strength, vigor and richness one should expect of a Priorat, but at a very reasonable price ($12.99 at Costco). Nothing fancy or tricky here. It's just an incredibly tasty, full-bodied red that pairs well with just about any grilled red meat, and could be laid down for at least five years. Highly recommended.
Arnoux & Fils - Vacqueyras Vieux Clocher
This was leaner than the producer's Gigondas from the same vintage, but showed more garrigue - that slightly herbal quality characteristic of wines from this region. I must admit this wine was more interesting and expressive of its terroir. Will definitely buy again.
Bonny Doon - Le Cigare Blanc
As other tasters have noted, this offers a bounty of ripe stone fruit flavors, such as apricots, peaches, cavillon and honeydew. It's a little heavy on the palate at first, but after 15-20 minutes of aeration it lightens up and finds its balance. Rhone devotees should like this - tasted blind, it's very close to a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Hermitage. The Roussanne element is strong. Would buy again.
Louis Jadot - Chambertin-Clos de Beze
This offered everything one could hope for in a burgundy. It showed a humus (mushroom) quality and was full and fruity on the palate with a long finish. But, I must admit the fruit was beginning to taste faded and tired, but that might have been due to this bottle's provenance. The major take-away for me is that this wine drinks like a classic burgundy from a strong vintage, and must have been fantastic in its youth. That said, I would like to try another bottle from this producer or from another. While it didn't quite live up to its stellar reviews in Wine Spectator (96 points), Wine Advocate (93 points) and CellarTracker, it was certainly an enjoyable quaff and full of character and soul. A grand old beauty.
Alain Jaume et Fils - Vacqueyras Grande Garrigue
This lived up to its name, showing copious amounts of garrigue - that herbal quality so common to red wines from this part of France. It was also full and dark-fruited on the palate, with a 30-second finish. A great pairing with any grilled meat. Would buy again.