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2007 Bellview Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Blended with 8% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (in addition to the Cabernet), this is fairly straightforward with currant and blackberry fruit and subtle earthy spice. The oak is a bit overt on the finish, which is also a bit short, but overall this is a solid Cab from a lesser-known region.
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2009 Ridge Geyserville

The bottle says 14.5% alcohol. My nose and eyeballs suspect if might be well north of 15%. This is a big wine, with brawny red fruits, a bowl of mixed cherries ranging from barely ripe to nearly black and strawberries to match, fighting it out with blackberries in a ring made of American Oak, refereed by a box of raisins. Sweet dusty tannins abound, but there is enough acid to match. This might settle down and blend together with a few years in the cellar. It is more a stand-alone snack than a food wine, but if you must, match it with a very sloppy cheese steak sandwich. Recommended.
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2009 Achaval-Ferrer Quimera

Achaval-Ferrer is famed for producing extremely complex—and extremely expensive—Malbec, but their Quimera blend (made from malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot from varying locations and in varying percentages) is a steal even at forty bucks. Quimera is a demanding wine, with huge structure, dark fruits, and savory, herbal notes. It’s also a unique wine, blending the best of Argentina’s Malbec qualities with those of red grapes usually associated with Bordeaux and California—and in the best years it can age for decades, gaining similar complexity, nuance and elegance as its much pricier counterparts north of the equator.
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2007 De Martino Las Cruces Single Vineyard Old Bush Vines

Winemaker Marcelo Retamal is developing a well deserved reputation as one of Chile’s visionaries, and this field blend red (made mostly from Malbec vines planted in the mid 1950s) shows why. This wine is the full package: tobacco smoke, meat, chocolate, dark plum, juicy and silky—which basically means that the tannins are rounder and approachable now. Focused, expressive, and sure to be empty at your dinner table in before-you-know-it timeframes.
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2008 Château Tour Chapoux

Sweet pepper and a bit of formaldehyde in the nose. Raspberry notes on the palate, but short on the fruit, with the tannins seeming coming in prematurely. Bitter finish. Perhaps I got a bad bottle, but I gotta say: Not recommended.
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2007 Les Breteches du Château Kefraya

A slightly dusty-looking brickish red. Aroma is of brick dust and freshly tilled earth, dried cherries, and cocoa powder. Rough tannins hover across the early- and mid-palate and linger on the (moderately long) finish. Beneath the tannins, dried cherry and clove notes add to a profile that is surprisingly light and freshened by plenty of acidity. Overall impression is raspy and astringent, but flavorful and reasonably well-rounded. This would be splendid with smoked trout or a substantial grilled fish like mahi or swordfish, or with a vegetarian entree laden with lots of garlic and a bit of cream.
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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.