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2007 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon

A very nice, approachable cabernet blend. Attractive nose of ligonberries and anise, even a hint of sugar cookies, of all things. It has the advantage of being 13.5% alcohol, so it does not have the nose burn that so many high-alcohol cabs seem to have these days. Light tannins and pleasant fruit on the palate with hints of hoisin sauce (i.e. plums), but not a lingering finish. Should not be confused with Mount Eden Estate cab. Nevertheless, a solid, if unexciting, wine. Try with simply prepared steaks or roasts. Recommended.
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2005 Bodegas Valduero Reserva

That lovely cigar box and cedar nose so typical of many Spanish reds is immediately forthcoming on the nose, along with some herbal elements. Black cherry fruit is forward, and the wine is a bit clumsy in that regard. Tannins are still sharp, giving a somewhat dusty finish, but still quite pleasant overall. At least one hour of aeration is recommended. Still could use some additional age. Good with just about any grilled meat on the barbecue, especially if using wood to smoke. Recommended. GT
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2010 Azelia Dolcetto d’Alba “Bricco Dell’Oriolo”

Dolcetto’s reputation in some quarters as an easy-drinking, even insubstantial, wine is challenged here. This is an elegant example of what Dolcetto can be in the right hands. Perfumed, floral nose with black cherry and anise arising out of the glass. A complex mix that includes blackberry and a dusting of pepper washes across the palate. Finish is longer than I expected it to be, although still a bit tannic. Have with roast pork (porchetto) or a prosciutto-laden pizza. Highly recommended. GT
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2006 Bodega Martin Berdugo MB

A very expressive and complex Ribera del Duero wine, and the winery is not shy about it. The “MB” stands for “Muy Bueno” – “very good.” Spends 2 years in oak and another 2 in bottle before release. Chocolate, cigar box, and pepper on the nose carry through on the palate, opening onto rich notes of spice (allspice) and clean fruit (boysenberry). Lingers well on finish. If you’re a tempranillo fan (and I am) you’ll really enjoy this one. It’s the kind of wine I like with just about any grilled meat – will even stand up to the smoke of realTexas BBQ brisket. Highly recommended. GT
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2010 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon, Pedregal Vineyard

A baby that shows every sign of being a great grownup when it fully matures. Deep purple with a seductive nose of blackcurrants, chocolate, and rosemary. Great gobs of blackberry fruit and pistachios on the palate, with balanced tannins. Finishes beautifully and languorously. This has not yet been released at the time of tasting (a barrel sample), and will require at least another 5-8 years of aging to reach its apogee. But when it does, it will be glorious. Very Highly Recommended. GT