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
Gianni Zonin, who likes to bill himself as “the biggest winegrower in Italy,” has 11 estates—10 in Italy and one in the U.S., in Barboursville, VA, not far from where that great oenophile Thomas Jefferson cultivated vines. Barboursville’s Octagon is blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc created that the winery produced only in the selected vintages. Dark red color in the glass, a nose of chocolate and blonde tobacco with nuances of eucalyptus. In mouth is silky: licorice and dark plum slip on a soft carpet of tannins. Finale is somewhat bitter; a shame that it is a little bit short. Pleasant with grilled meat.