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2008 Kirkland Meritage

If you live near a Costco you know where this is going. “Kirkland” is Costco’s proprietary brand for everything from soup to nuts (and I mean that literally). They market a “Kirkland Signature Wine Collection” whereby they slap their own label on wines, and some of them are quite good and represent excellent value. This Meritage is a classic Bordeaux blend. The nose is slightly herbal and gives off whiffs of boysenberry and cedar. The flavors are of blackberry and there is perhaps a shade too much oak. The merlot comes on strong, almost overtaking the cabernet sauvignon, but the fruit is quite nice. A tad one-dimensional, but still very pleasant, and an absolute bargain for the price and quality. Nice with simple grilled meats. Recommended. GT
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2006 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon

Four hours in the nose is blueberry and black cherry pie. The same fruits, adding unsweetened chocolate, high notes of tobacco leaf and a touch of eucalyptus and vanilla doesn't overpower now and will fade with more time, all make a complex but well-knit palate. Tannins are dust-fine and sweet. The finish lingers. Buy it now but cellar it for five more years. When you do drink it, drink it with a black-and-blue ribeye and fried onions. Highly recommended. DH
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2008 Girard Signature

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
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2009 Mason Sauvignon Blanc

Nose of pink grapefruit and apple, with a very slight back hint of spice—cinnamon, maybe? Very clean and rich on the palate, with elements of the pink grapefruit and peaches. The fruit is very expressive—this is not an austere, steely Sauvignon Blanc. Finishes long and clean. Impressive. Try with grilled shrimp. Highly recommended. GT
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2007 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Improving with every sip, gaining structure and depth with every extra minute of air, this is a beautiful baby that will, with time, mature into a gorgeous adult. Dark fruit (blackcurrant and mulberry) has a background of tobacco leaf and the tiniest touch of cayenne. Rich very dark chocolate and espresso pop on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet and dusty. Even with all the rich sweetness, it also has good acids and an underlying minerality, offering a decade or more in the cellar, maturing and offering layers of primary and secondary flavors in the future. Drink with a good steak and a better friend. Very highly recommended.
Cornerstone

2007 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Improving with every sip, gaining structure and depth with every extra minute of air, this is a beautiful baby that will, with time, mature into a gorgeous adult. Dark fruit (blackcurrant and mulberry) has a background of tobacco leaf and the tiniest touch of cayenne. Rich very dark chocolate and espresso pop on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet and dusty. Even with all the rich sweetness, it also has good acids and an underlying minerality, offering a decade or more in the cellar, maturing and offering layers of primary and secondary flavors in the future. Drink with a good steak and a better friend. Very highly recommended.
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2003 Amethyst Cabernet Sauvignon

Lovely warm nose of chocolate, violets, and blueberries, along with a hint of saffron. A bit tight at first and a tad more floral than one might expect, but it unfolds to a seamless melding of soft tannins with more of that blueberry fruit laced with a bit of tobacco. Not an earth-shatterer and not a wine for long-term aging, but a very nice Cabernet nonetheless. Drink with a white pizza. Recommended.
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2008 Plumpjack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Somewhat disappointing on first taste with vegetal asparagus notes, but patience is rewarded. Those unhappy nuances float away into the ether once the major alcohol (14.8%) dissipates, replaced by a nose of ripe blackberries and spices—a hint of anise, perhaps. Coats the palate nicely with soft tannins and chocolate and plum flavors. The finish is not overly impressive at first, but grows on you. In fact, this wine was even better the next day. Not out of place with a duck confit or even a cassoulet (once the weather gets chilly again). Highly recommended.