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2010 Echelon Red Blend

Aromas of wild herbs growing on dry, late summer California hillsides – wild thyme, sage, juniper. At first it feels thinnish on the palate, but that’s only because the tannins are integrated into the dark fruit in a more refined manner than expected. Wild herbs show up in the finish too, but then it ends almost sweet. Highly recommended. BSE
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2009 Three Wives Remy’s Red

A little hazy (unfiltered), bright, medium intensity, bright purple color. Clean on the nose, medium intensity aromas of black fruit, moss, cedar, black pepper, spice, stewed black cherries, oak, and smoke. Dry, medium body, medium tannin, medium-high acidity. Flavors of red and black fruit, Bing cherry, red fruit, strawberry, raspberry coulis, some oak on the palate, and a slight lactic note. Medium finish. Pair with braised short ribs or tofu in five spice. Recommended. RR
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 1999 Pommery Grand Cru Brut Millesime

In the glass, there’s a profusion of very small bubbles. Aroma opens with light notes of yeast and agar, a hint of toast, later becoming toastier, almost caramelized. The first sip is raspberry and lemon. A creamy mouthfeel gives way to a combination of fruit and tartness on the palate it takes to the finish line—a long finish that in the end becomes citric, bone dry. Highly recommended. BSE
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1999 Pommery Grand Cru Brut Millesime

In the glass, there’s a profusion of very small bubbles. Aroma opens with light notes of yeast and agar, a hint of toast, later becoming toastier, almost caramelized. The first sip is raspberry and lemon. A creamy mouthfeel gives way to a combination of fruit and tartness on the palate it takes to the finish line—a long finish that in the end becomes citric, bone dry. Highly recommended. BSE
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2003 Masies d’Avinyo Abadal Pla de Bages Seleccio

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
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2008 Domaine La Blaque Coteaux de Pierrevert

Blackberries, briars, black pepper, and nutmeg waft up from the glass. On the palate blackberries, real licorice, pecan shells and soy make a complex array of flavors. The finish lingers. Tannins are still very tight - this would benefit from a few more years. Drink with pepper steak. A sophisticated wine at a simple price. Recommended. DH
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2008 Girard Signature

The nose is a little tight, suggesting blueberries and tobacco along with a light background of red fruits and licorice. It offers some interesting complexity in the palate, too, with loads of dark fruit, blackberry, elderberry, and blueberry, with a bright red fruit background. The mid-palate has coffee and licorice, the finish adds unsweetened chocolate. Tannins are very sweet, mouth-feel is very smooth. Complexity seems to come from fruit (plus, perhaps, some extraction), not from wood. The wood effect is clear but light, adding touches of spice but not overwhelming the original juice. It would be at home with a steak or a great burger, or a fireplace and a friend. Highly recommended. DH