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Patient Cottat - Sauvignon Blanc Le Grand Caillou
More time in the bottle has improved this wine somewhat. It's not as tart or herbaceous as it was before, but has retained most of its acidity. In this case, it showed well paired with linguine in white clam sauce. Better if not served ice cold but colder than cellar temperature.
Trader Joe's - Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve Lot #35 Atlas Peak
Somewhat firm and lean, but savory. Good acidity. Drinks rather like a high-altitude wine, e.g., something from Chile or Argentina. Hold until 2016.
BV - Tapestry Reserve
Served from a large, wide decanter after 30 minutes of aeration. Fruity, smooth-edged, heavy on the palate, huge bouquet, looong finish of meat juice and caramel. Still quite primary at this point, but beginning to come together. Mercifully, this bottle was only 14.5% ABV. A good example of a Napa Meritage. Would buy again, but hold this vintage until 2017.
Guigal - Crozes-Hermitage
**BOTTLE NO. 1,000** This was full and dark-fruited but balanced. Nice nose of "scorched Earth," not unlike its cousin Cote-Rotie. On the finish, the wine also showed plenty of garrigue - that lavender, thyme and rosemary-like sensation one often gets from wines made in this part of France. Very charming. Crozes-Hermitage can be a fabulous value, as this bottle demonstrated. Drink now through 2020.
Chapoutier - Chateauneuf du Pape la Bernardine
This wine received lackluster reviews on CellarTracker - tasters found it astringent, one-dimensional and not up to Messr. Chapoutier's usual high standards. Most recommended decanting (which I did), and the wine began to open up, and when it reached room temperature it was firing on all four cylinders, showing depth, complexity, a long finish and nice, silky mouthfeel. I would buy this again, and would like to try this wine in a good vintage.