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WA 95 (Parker): Performing better from bottle than it did from cask (and comparable to their wines 2005, 2000, 1990 and 1982), this is a great classic from Xavier Borie's estate situated on the back roads west of the town of Pauillac. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by hints of spring flowers, crushed rocks, black currants, cedar and earth/underbrush. Precise and elegant as well as backward and foreboding, it should put on weight in the bottle and evolve for two decades. Very concentrated as well as velvety-textured, it is a beauty of finesse, balance, purity and nobility. It will benefit from 5-7 more years of bottle age.
Sine Qua Non - Syrah Five Shooter
WA 98+: The 2010 Syrah Five Shooter is straight up gorgeous. A massive wine that somehow holds everything together, it offers a wild array of cassis, blackberry, white chocolate, underbrush and pepper that flows to a full-bodied, layered Syrah that has masses of fine tannin and enough substance to evolve for decades. A blend of 85% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Petite Sirah, 5% Roussanne and 2% Viognier that was fermented with 20% whole cluster and aged 22 months in 59% new French oak, it opens up beautifully in the glass and should be decanted if drinking anytime soon. Drink 2015-2030. About as good as it gets across the board, these singular, incredible wines are the result of an obsessive attention to detail at all stages of the wine making process. There is no secret or hidden magic going on here. The incredibly talented and down-to-earth Manfred Krankl simply walks the walk as opposed to only talking about attention to detail or offering up the standard, wine is made in the vineyard comments. Looking at the vintages focused on here, 2009 has produced a decadent, voluptuous style that offers up thrilling levels of fruit as well as an approachable, heady richness that-s hard to resist. While they possess ample depth and structure, I would drink these before either the 2010s or 2011s. The 2010s here are stunning and have everything; gorgeous fruit, awesome concentration and incredible purity. While the most age-worthy of the recent vintages, they're a spectacular drink even today. The 2011s, which were all tasted out of barrel, have additional freshness and focus over the 2010s. They have solid concentration and overall balanced profiles that should allow them to cruise in the cellar.
Quilceda Creek - Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley
WA 97-100: More approachable, but no less impressive, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) looks gorgeous, and is probably the most complete wine in the lineup. Layered and rich, yet ultra-pure and also elegant, it gives up classic crÃ¨me de cassis, lead pencil shavings, licorice and liquid flower like qualities to go with full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Relatively civilized, yet with building tannin and richness, it should benefit from short term cellaring and have two decades of longevity.
A stronger effort than its stablemate, Clerc-Milon, the 2012 d'Armailhac is an intriguing blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Complex notes of menthol, coffee beans, black cherries and black currants are followed by a rich, medium-bodied wine with copious tannin as well as sufficient fat and flesh to cover the structure. The harvest took place during the first ten days of October, most of the grapes being brought in prior to the deluge that began on October 7 and lasted until October 9. This excellent Pauillac is a successful Medoc in this challenging vintage for this region.
Egly-Ouriet - Brut Tradition Grand Cru
WA 92 (Galloni): The NV Brut Tradition Grand Cru possesses gorgeous warmth and openness in a radiant, broad-shouldered style that is impossible to resist. Deep and textured through to the finish, the Tradition Grand Cru combines richness and minerality with notable finesse. Spice and smoke nuances add complexity on the dazzling finish. The Brut Tradition Grand Cru spent 36 months on its lees prior to being disgorged in July, 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2011-20118. Egly-Ouriet remains one of Champagne's leading small growers. From top to bottom these wines impress for their inimitable class. A non-interventionalist approach in the vineyards and cellar, old-vine parcels in top vineyards and long lees-aging are some of the qualities that define these sublime Champagnes.
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