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2006 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

A Napa biggie, a cousin of the pricier Quintessa. Nose of blackberry, eucalyptus, and earth. Rich feel on palate seemingly coming from myriad directions: dark currants, cocoa/chocolate, even some hints of pumpkin pie spice blend. The fruit, however, is a tad out of whack to the tannins and the wine is a bit “hot” (14.5% alc.) making it seem a bit unbalanced. A sinewy, semi-long finish that is slightly sweet. Nevertheless, a quite good wine, and a bargain when compared to many of its pricey Napa neighbors. Try with grilled hanger steak. Highly recommended.
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2004 Fidelitas Optu

An elegant offering from Washington’s Columbia Valley. Alcohol on the nose (14.5%) initially obscures the lovely treats underneath of cedar, anise, and fresh leather. Crisp on the palate, soft tannins, and expressive flavors of dark cherry and blackcurrant. At first it seems to finish short, but comes around in short order. A slow starter out of the gate, but a winner by many lengths. A great steak wine. Highly recommended.
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1999 Valley of the Moon Cuvée de la Luna

The cork was a little soft and I lost a couple centimeters of it to the bottle. This wine is definitely showing some age. Garnet in color with a brick rim. On the nose it has definite aromas of dried fruit—cherry, plum, raisins—lots of spice, some vanilla, dried flowers, earth, the slightest hint of bell pepper, and what I think is a little Brett. It’s dry and rich on the palate, medium intensity, medium-light acidity, super soft tannins. Lots of dried fruit and floral flavors come through on the palate as well. Black fruit: plums especially. And a little cola. Definitely some brighter cherry on the finish.
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2005 Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage

This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.
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2004 Nicholas Cole Camille

This merlot-driven Washington cuvee shows big fruit slathered with big, but fine, wood. Layers of deep black cherries, some slightly bruised, unsweetened chocolate, and espresso, are sandwiched between thin layers of French oak, offering richness, some depth on the mid-palate, and wood-spice flavors, cedar and sandalwood. Drink with something very thick, very red, and only slightly cooked (and you know who you are).
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2007 V. Sattui Winery Cabernet Franc

Another star of the Palate Press Grand Tasting, earning a consensus four out of five stars and introducing many of our guests to Cabernet Franc. It was a lean, powerful Cabernet Franc, exhibiting the typical tobacco under clean blackberries and light but clear tannins. This will continue to age nicely for several years. Drink with New York strip steak. It is a particularly good choice for those who prefer their meat medium or more, rather than rare.
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2005 Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage

This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.