On the sweeter side of off-dry. Hints of dried apricot and Meyer lemon on the mid-palate. Ripe, even bruised, rather than tart, apples linger on the finish. Recommended. DH
The color shows the wine’s age, just starting to go from deeper colors in the center to a brick red at the edges. The nose shows classic Northern Rhone - a bushel blackberries in a room full of dry-aging beef. The same blackberries and meat show on the palate, with black pepper, raspberries join the party on the mid-palate. Meat flavors move toward smoked meats on the finish, adding lingering licorice. Tannins are fine, soft, mouth-coating. Drink with dry-aged New York Strip. Highly Recommended. DH
The color is the first thing to notice, a bright rich 18k gold. The nose is sweet and floral, hibiscus with apricot and honey. Layer after layer of flavor dance across the palate, all varying variations of apricot and honey, with a bright acidic backbone ranging from sweet Key Lime juice to tart Key Lime zest. Hints of mango linger throughout, though teasing, barely identifiable. It is hard to clock the length of the finish as the desire for the next sip overruns the attempt to measure the finish. Suffice to say, it is incredibly long. Drink with foie gras for the classic match, but it would be even better with Kung Pao from Lucky Strike in Portland, the sweet a counter-balance to the spice. Very Highly Recommended. DH
Surprisingly lush, the Cabernet Franc offers cured tobacco leaf, wrapped in some silky blackberry, black cherry and mocha from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Pencil lead shows up on the mid-palate. Tannins are dusty, fine. The Syrah flows under it all, offering a smoked meat/umami background, then coming to the fore with black pepper on the finish. This seems to just be hitting its stride now, breaking free from its tight, tart youth. Drink with flank steak. Highly recommended. DH
Lovely warm nose of chocolate, violets, and blueberries, along with a hint of saffron. A bit tight at first and a tad more floral than one might expect, but it unfolds to a seamless melding of soft tannins with more of that blueberry fruit laced with a bit of tobacco. Not an earth-shatterer and not a wine for long-term aging, but a very nice Cabernet nonetheless. Drink with a white pizza. Recommended.
In preparation for Open That Bottle Night (live, only on Palate Press; Saturday, February 26 from 7 pm - 10 pm EST), contributor Tom Johnson shares some thoughts on the bottle he plans to open for the event.
One of the younger 2003 Bordeaux tried in the last few months, this Graves neighbor of first-growth Chateau Haut-Brion, under the same ownership since 1983, might be one of the few 03s to keep the promise of long life expected when they were barrel-sampled and upon initial release. Tannins are still quite firm and drying. Acidity is present, too, enough to counter-balance the tannins; more time in the cellar will let everything settle down and knit together. The flavors open with blackcurrant and violets, moving next to licorice and eucalyptus, with bare hints of chocolate on the finish. The mix might have a bit of Cabernet Franc, as there is also an undercurrent of tobacco leaf in the initial attack. Finish lingers for well over thirty seconds. Drink with Black Truffle Tenderloin Steak Tartare at Bern's Steak House. Ask for Owen as a server, and tell him we sent you.