Like several for the moderately-priced bottles of '03 Bordeaux I have opened recently, this is coming to life, perhaps even peaking now. A year ago it was dead, but now it is showing a pleasant balance of fruit, blackberry and some raspberry, and more aged flavors of violets and cigar box. Tannins are soft and smooth. This has matured into a very pleasant bottle of wine at a bargain price, drinking at its peak right now. Highly recommended as a bargain introduction to a great year for Bordeaux.
Flavors of blackcurrant and a tiny touch of mint are quickly overwhelmed by cherries from the merlot and wood from the winemaking. It is sweet, red fruits ultimately dominating, with spices from the wood, cinnamon and clove. This is one of the better grocery store wines, keeping varietal correctness and not collapsing into an oak-extract mass of maple and brown sugar.
This intriguing rosé started with three days skin contact, followed by a very slow three-month fermentation. Progression on the palate is fascinating, as if the wine changed from white to red from attack to finish. It opens with a great acid streak and the tiniest fleeting hint of barely ripe peach before immediately switching to the red flavors. It starts lightly with strawberries, faint at first then growing, getting sweeter and darker, evolving into cherries, which linger. I drank this the day after it was bottled, in a courtesy tasting with General Manager, Craig Camp, and the new full-time winemaker, Jeff Keene. Once the wine recovers from the beating it took it will only get better.
What do you do if another vintage is as good as "The Perfect Vintage," if you are butting up against the ceiling of your 100-point system, perfection having been achieved, and then nature and winemakers do it again or, heaven forbid, surpass "perfection?" You add an asterisk.
The use of wood is obvious and provides much of the flavor. There is a lot of fruit, cherries with a little blueberry, but vanilla, butter, baking spice, and tannins all come from the wood. Bonarda is usually lighter and brighter, with cherry, light tannins and light acids. In this wine the grapes are upstaged by the wood.
Very bright acids and tart red fruit, strawberries, cranberries, and rhubarb, in leather, spiced with black pepper. Firm tannins and bright acids suggest good cellar life, but this is a great food wine right now, with a terrific QPR.