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2007 Castello Banfi Belnero Proprietor’s Reserve

The nose offers up a blend of fresh cherries, and the sweet cherries and fondant inside chocolate-covered cherries, a touch of coffee, and a strong shot of vanilla. On the palate the lead is with bright red fruit and chocolate, softening to black cherry and a bit of black fruit on the mid-palate. The vanilla effect of oak shows up on the finish, ending with a strong flavor of sweet milk chocolate-covered cherries. Acids are rather bright, tannins somewhat understated, making it a fair food-matching wine today, but not a strong candidate for long-term cellaring. Drink with eggplant parmesan. This might be highly recommended at half the price, but at $40 it is recommended. DH
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2007 Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Unfined & unfiltered. A minty nose, with a certain earthiness. Later, cocoa and vanilla notes come out. Lots of dark, sweet plummy fruit with hints of strawberry. Nice, strong, integrated tannins. A warm, buttery finish. It’s the wine I kept sipping with a steak dinner. Recommended. BSE
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2007 Emblem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Dusty dark fruit in the aroma at first, then vanilla. Opens up to be rich and buttery, with a touch of char on the fruit, like burnt sugar. Over all well balanced with moderate tannins and respectable structure. A bit of acidity apparent in the medium-long finish, too. Recommended. BSE
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2007 Aglieta “Pomo”

Again, we tasted a slightly younger wine at the estate than the vintage currently available (2006). This is a bright, youthful wine but with plenty of weight nevertheless. Cherry, pepper, and earth come through on the nose. Chocolate and berry flavors flow across the palate, and the finish is long. Very pleasant now but could still benefit from some more time. Let it breathe a bit. Highly recommended. GT
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2007/2009 Volpaiole Classico

The ’09 is not yet released, but is an absolute stunner. Tasted at a lunch with several of Olivier’s wines, so used the ’07 (an exceptional year in many regions of Italy) as a comparison benchmark. The ’07 was made just before Olivier took over, but the ’09 is wholly his own. The 2009 exhibited a youthful nose, but undertones of forest and mushrooms. Silken on the palate, it is a teaser of what may come as the fruit remains somewhat hidden. Luxurious finish. Can’t wait for this to be released. The ’07 is more developed and more complex at this stage than its younger brother, with a less perfumed nose but great blackberry and peppery notes on the end. I highly recommend both, but that ’09 strikes me as a potential classic. (The ’06, also lovely, is available through its importer, Lyaeus Imports in Washington D.C.) GT
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2007 Stoller Vineyards SV Estate Pinot Noir

“SV” on the label signifies the estate-grown Stoller Vineyards grapes, and also the “senior vines” the grapes are grown on. The wine is warm and earthy with a hint of rose in the aroma. Fruit arrives first on the palate, then the underlying char from the barrels. There's a bit of spicy tannin on the finish. With good elements, the wine is still a bit delicate. All in all, this wine has a “narrow spectrum” of flavors, as Bill Stoller put it during a tasting in my kitchen yesterday. We both expect the wine can develop further over the next five years. Okay now, recommended with aging.
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2007 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Laurène Cuvée Pinot Noir

Clear, bright, medium-pale ruby red. Clean nose with aromas of earth, minerality, pungent purple flowers, red fruits, and blueberries. Dry on the palate with medium acidity, tannin, and body. Flavors of blue and red fruits, rhubarb, and cranberry. Very gentle oak leads to a medium-long finish. Recommended.