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Cayuse - Syrah Cailloux Vineyard
The fruit on this wine is some of the most subtle I've ever tasted on a Washington Syrah. With 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier, there's definitely a nice fruit balance on the front end with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry, but when it hits the mid-palate, there is a truly unique minerality, leather and earthiness that takes over and subdues the fruit. Not a UFC-type submission, but more like a dinner with the Dalai Lama who convinces you that everything you ever thought about life was wrong...and it was all okay with you, even uplifting and motivating. Having enjoyed this wine with two good buddies who are true wine aficionados made it all that much better.
Pegau - Chateauneuf du Pape (Cuvee Reservee)
The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee is a brilliant effort that ranks alongside the colossal 2003 Cuvee Reservee. A blend of approximately 85% Grenache, 8-9% Syrah, and the rest Mourvedre and other varietals from 50-100+ year old vines aged in foudre, it exhibits a dense plum/purple color along with a big, sweet bouquet of beef blood, grilled herbs, barbecue smoke, lavender, sweet cassis and kirsch and a hint of Asian soy. The wine possesses a fabulous texture, a full-bodied mouthfeel and a seamless integration of tannin, acidity and alcohol. Certainly the alcohol level is pushing 16% in this wine. With extraordinary texture and unctuosity, this remarkable effort should drink well for 20+ years yet be very appealing in its youth given the glycerin, velvety texture, and remarkable complexity
Gerard Charvin - Chateauneuf du Pape
I believe the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape is the finest wine ever made at Charvin. Their wines never achieve a lot of color, but this is one of the most saturated ones they have produced. The blend from the 45- to 50-year-old vines is 85% Grenache and the rest equal parts Syrah, Mourvedre, and Vaccarese, all aged in cement tanks prior to being bottled unfiltered. A terrific nose of kirsch, lavender, licorice, forest floor, and spice box soars from the glass of this full-bodied effort. With fabulous density, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a 45+-second finish this brilliant, elegant, feminine-styled wine is loaded with concentration and intensity. Like many 2007 Chateauneuf du Papes, the extraordinary fruit level makes it hard to resist. However, it will be even better in 3-5 years, and should last for 15-20
Ken Wright - Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard
The 2008 Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard from a site planted in 1983 and farmed by Ken Wright for the past 10 years, is dark ruby red with a sexy nose of underbrush, cherry blossom, spice box, and assorted black fruits. Rounder, richer, and a bit more concentrated than the preceding wines, it displays an outstanding integration of oak, acidity, and tannin, a velvety texture, and a lengthy, pure finish. It merits 3-4 years of cellaring and will deliver prime drinking from 2013 to 2023.
Jacques Prieur - Volnay Santenots 1er Cru
A mere 1,000 bottles worth of 2006 Volnay Clos des Santenots (from the old vines in this monopole) made it through the gauntlet of Prieur's sorting tables, and the results were treated to the same 100% new wood as the estate's grand crus. This exhibits an almost severe degree of concentration, with tart but ripe cherry, rhubarb, pungent brown spices, and smoky, peat like notes combining on a viscous yet firmly-textured palate. It finishes emphatically, but without much charm or nuance, and with the effect of the extra measure of wood seemingly tipping the scales away from juicy primary fruit satisfaction. That said, here is a formidable Pinot that will be well worth revisiting in 2010 or 2011 and should not succumb to old age for at least a decade. What's more, it's certainly possible that the wine would have appeared to me more expressive if given another several weeks post-bottling