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2007 Aglieta “Pomo”

Again, we tasted a slightly younger wine at the estate than the vintage currently available (2006). This is a bright, youthful wine but with plenty of weight nevertheless. Cherry, pepper, and earth come through on the nose. Chocolate and berry flavors flow across the palate, and the finish is long. Very pleasant now but could still benefit from some more time. Let it breathe a bit. Highly recommended. GT
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2007/2009 Volpaiole Classico

The ’09 is not yet released, but is an absolute stunner. Tasted at a lunch with several of Olivier’s wines, so used the ’07 (an exceptional year in many regions of Italy) as a comparison benchmark. The ’07 was made just before Olivier took over, but the ’09 is wholly his own. The 2009 exhibited a youthful nose, but undertones of forest and mushrooms. Silken on the palate, it is a teaser of what may come as the fruit remains somewhat hidden. Luxurious finish. Can’t wait for this to be released. The ’07 is more developed and more complex at this stage than its younger brother, with a less perfumed nose but great blackberry and peppery notes on the end. I highly recommend both, but that ’09 strikes me as a potential classic. (The ’06, also lovely, is available through its importer, Lyaeus Imports in Washington D.C.) GT
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2008 Château Pape Clément

This still-young wine spent 18-22 months in new barrels. Soft tannins outweigh acids. Primary flavors are tart red fruit, cranberry and rhubarb, with some dark cherry in the background, evolving toward darker fruits followed by unsweetened chocolate on the finish. Overall mouth-feel was rich. Recommended.
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2008 Sacha Lichine Cabernet Merlot

This is billed as an “Old World meets New World” wine. It might be more correctly labeled as a “French wine aimed directly at cutting into the American market.” There are some nice blackberry nuances around the nose but they seem to get cut off by some herbal notes. Fruit-forward, it’s a little cluttered on the palate, with cassis flavors battling it out a bit with some briar and red licorice notes, but has some nice silken tones after it has a little time to sort itself out. Tannins are soft and the finish is pleasant. Nothing here to distinguish this from the ocean of low-to-mid range American Cabernets produced each year, but still a pleasant quaff, and not a bad value. Try with a roast pork or grilled chops. Recommended.
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2006 Mission Hill S.L.C. Merlot

2006 was a truly exceptional season in the Okanagan Valley, with one of the earliest starts to harvest and a long back season to leave grapes hanging and gaining ripeness and complexity. The 2006 S.L.C. (Single Lot Collection) Merlot from Mission Hill is a great testimony to the quality of the vintage, with its fine dark fruit, pleasantly chocolatey and spicy notes, fine, almost powdery tannins and very good length. Winemaker John Simes’ precise work is visible in this top-tier cuvée made from selected grapes grown at the southern edge of the Okanagan Valley, creating a well-crafted, balanced wine. It’s a textbook New World merlot whose 14% alcohol doesn’t show. Mission Hill wines are available in the US and they are worth seeking out. Recommended.
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2006 Summers Ranch Knights Valley Reserve Merlot

Complex and familiar aromas, elements of black cherry, no make that black currant, with leather too, and leaf and forest underneath; the same on the palate, too. Good body, integrated tannins, and a medium-long finish. I made notes, then whisked the bottle off the table so I could try it again the next day. Yes, it really delivered, once again. At dinner, it worked especially well with garlicky beef.
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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. Recommended.