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2009 Lions Drift Pinotage

This wine has an interesting blend of black and red fruits, with a touch of vanilla, on the nose. There isn't a hint of the dreaded Pinotage "burnt rubber" in this wine. It gets really interesting on the palate, throwing out layers of different flavors, one after another. It starts with tart black fruit, blackberry and a little elderberry, but within seconds the tart flavors shade to cranberry, then even more quickly sweetens to strawberry, joined by limestone and vanilla. This is a young Pinotage, with good acid, and lightly dusty tannins, that doesn't have any off flavors that might magnify over time, suggesting it is a good candidate for half a dozen years or more in the cellar. This is a good wine at a great price. Drink with barbequed beef. Highly Recommended. DH
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2006 Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Pinot Noir

Silky red fruits, cranberry, wild strawberry, and redcurrant, are the highlights of this wine. Some basil and tarragon show on the mid-palate, along with sweeter cherries and strawberries. The curious aspect is on the nose, where the red fruits show clearly, but there is a curious underlying hint of darkness, a deep loamy depth with a bit of funk. Tannins are very light, acids quite bright. Cranberry and anise linger on the finish. Five years old now, this seems to be improving based upon early reviews, though perhaps not for a lot longer. It is a good food wine. Pair it with roast pork with mushroom gravy, letting the acids cleanse the palate for each new bite. Recommended. DH
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2009 Domaine Poulleau Pére & Files Côte de Beaune Les Mondes Rondes

Sweet cherries and funk on the nose. On the palate, rhubarb, cherries, and brown sugar lead. Strawberries and sage, with a light background of anise, appear on the mid-palate. Sage, mixed red fruits, vanilla, and brown sugar linger on a mid-length finish. Acids are high, tannins very smooth, together offering a wine for the cellar. All the different flavors are interesting, but they are disjointed, even conflicting. This may be a wine best judged a decade after bottling. It could be very nice, based upon promise, high acidity, smooth tannins, and depth of flavor. Drink with sage-rubbed pork loin.
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2007 Bodegas San Alejandro Garnacha Calatayud Las Rocas

Very bright red fruits, straightforward, not incredibly complex, but well-balanced. High acid and good minerality make a very food-friendly wine. Cherries and cranberries are the lead fruits with some raspberry showing on the mid-palate along with a very light herbal touch. This is a red wine for chicken, but stick with the dark meat. Recommended. DH
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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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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