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Owen Roe - Syrah Ex Umbris
This wine is pretty big, but like most new-world syrahs it wants to wiggle out from a standard classification. Yes, it's dark and brooding, but it had a lively grace to it, as well. Big, almost black fruit, but not approaching Aussie-style. Obviously not a hot-grown region, but well made and minimally handled. The fruit shows through and that's a very good thing. I think this has more legs than most people think, it will drink well for another four years at least. It will throw sediment, but will still be lovely even when stripped down.
Sunce - Cabernet Franc Mazzera Ranch
A gorgeous showing of cab franc. Sexy and lithe, this wine has the elements of that cabernet you love, but with the added spice of the franc. She's the mistress to your cabernet wife. Handled beautifully, this is well put together, not hiding great flaws. It's very pleasing, but also somewhat serious. Easier to match with food, I had this with two very different pizzas and it was stunning. A winner all around from a not-so-well-known producer.
Robledo - Barbera 7 Brothers
A delicious, if uncomplicated, new world barbera. Big, ripe fruit, good acid and well-balanced to boot. The tannins are well-integrated and this wine will please you greatly. A nice break from your typical California cabernet.
Ridge - Geyserville
This wine is a knockout. I've gone through over half of my case now and it's JUST starting to really show. I was worrying before that it had oxidized, but after this bottle, I'd say it has a long way to go. Beautiful zin fruit, not showing its 9 years. Excellent clarity, hardly any fade. This is a lighter bodied zin, but excellent with food. It's lithe now, very smooth, showing fruit well. This is a wine that typically needs age and this vintage is no exception. For those who have waited, your patience is being rewarded.
El Roy - Coalesce
Aging very well, holding together quite nicely. Surprising fruit and balance for an older California wine. Not too much fruit for a Paso Robles, which was surprising. Might have lost some of its "fruit punch" aspect over the years. Wish I had another bottle...