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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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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2005 Havens Wine Cellars Bourriquot

The nose is rich—mulberry, unsweetened chocolate, and a ripe, meaty, gaminess. The Cabernet Franc leads on the attack, more blackberry than mulberry, with tobacco leaf and unsweetened chocolate. Merlot takes over on the mid-palate, softening to a silky mouthfeel and offering hints of red fruit and fine, dusty tannins. The finish is mid-length with lingering tastes of unsweetened chocolate. Drink with bacon-wrapped filet. Highly Recommended. DH
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2005 Havens Wine Cellars Bourriquot

The nose is rich - mulberry, unsweetened chocolate, and a ripe, meaty, gaminess. The cabernet franc leads on the attack, more blackberry than mulberry, with tobacco leaf and unsweetened chocolate. Merlot takes over on the mid-palate, softening to a silky mouthfeel and offering hints of red fruit and fine, dusty tannins. The finish is mid-length with lingering tastes of unsweetened chocolate. Drink with bacon-wrapped filet. Highly Recommended. DH
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2008 Kirkland Meritage

If you live near a Costco you know where this is going. “Kirkland” is Costco’s proprietary brand for everything from soup to nuts (and I mean that literally). They market a “Kirkland Signature Wine Collection” whereby they slap their own label on wines, and some of them are quite good and represent excellent value. This Meritage is a classic Bordeaux blend. The nose is slightly herbal and gives off whiffs of boysenberry and cedar. The flavors are of blackberry and there is perhaps a shade too much oak. The merlot comes on strong, almost overtaking the cabernet sauvignon, but the fruit is quite nice. A tad one-dimensional, but still very pleasant, and an absolute bargain for the price and quality. Nice with simple grilled meats. Recommended. GT
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2008 Bellview Winery Cabernet Franc

This warm-vintage Cabernet Franc brings all of the spice, earth and herbal notes franc fanatics crave—everything from black tea to bay leaf to dried oregano to black pepper—with ripe, medium-intensity tannins, well-incorporated oak and just a bit of acidity on the finish to improve the balance.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2007 Maryhill Cabernet Franc Proprietor’s Reserve

The nose is full, dark and red fruit with sweet vanilla and toasted wood. On the palate, loads of chocolate-covered cherries dominate, followed by root beer, then raspberry black tea as it approaches the finish. Tannins are very sweet, just barely dusty, a bit stronger than acids. This would be good with a rib-eye steak, but it would be even better with a good hot dog. Recommended.
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2007 Maryhill Cabernet Franc Proprietor’s Reserve

The nose is full, dark and red fruit with sweet vanilla and toasted wood. On the palate, loads of chocolate-covered cherries dominate, followed by root beer, then raspberry black tea as it approaches the finish. Tannins are very sweet, just barely dusty, a bit stronger than acids. This would be good with a rib-eye steak, but it would be even better with a good hot dog. Recommended.