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2008 Coca I Fito

Here is a elegant and earthy red from Spain’s Catalonian region and the Montsant D.O. Very tight when first opened, with aromas of bittersweet chocolate and black tea. It gives up its secrets slowly and you’ll be rewarded by keeping it in the glass and returning to it. It slowly opens up on the palate with layers of dark blackberries and spice (cumin, for one). This wine would work well with grilled kebabs or even Indian food.
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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 (and you know who you are).
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2005 Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage

This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.
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2006 Vezer La Salette

Tasted at a recent show of North American wines, this red blend stood out of the bottled crowd. Deep, opaque purple color shows off a nose of violets and dark chocolate and toast. Chewy and dense at first, it yields languorous blackberry and pepper flavors upheld by soft tannins and a nice sugar balance. A very nice yin and yang of velvet and strength. A great wine with winter dishes, especially a cassoulet. But it’s not just for winter, either. Pricey, but a keeper.
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2006 Herdade do Mouchão Dom Rafael

Clear, bright, medium-full ruby with some black-purple tint. Clean, medium intensity aromas: tons of fruit, cooked fruit, black cherry, raspberry, floral. Dry, medium body, medium tannin, medium-low to medium acidity. Flavors of dark fruit, blackberry, plum, baking spice. A rich, medium-long finish. Would pair well with olive tapenade, chili (though avoid something too spicy), barbeque, or chocolate torte.
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2003 Château La Mission Haut-Brion

One of the younger 2003 Bordeaux tried in the last few months, this Graves neighbor of first-growth Chateau Haut-Brion, under the same ownership since 1983, might be one of the few 03s to keep the promise of long life expected when they were barrel-sampled and upon initial release. Tannins are still quite firm and drying. Acidity is present, too, enough to counter-balance the tannins; more time in the cellar will let everything settle down and knit together. The flavors open with blackcurrant and violets, moving next to licorice and eucalyptus, with bare hints of chocolate on the finish. The mix might have a bit of Cabernet Franc, as there is also an undercurrent of tobacco leaf in the initial attack. Finish lingers for well over thirty seconds. Drink with Black Truffle Tenderloin Steak Tartare at Bern's Steak House. Ask for Owen as a server, and tell him we sent you.
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2006 Deerfield Ranch Red Rex

This red blend is a real Frankenwine, lots of different parts sewn together creating a bit of a monster. Candied cherry shines through on the nose from the Sangiovese, but on the palate the Syrah blasts its way to the fore. Smoked meat, blackberries, and sage are there, but they're fighting it out with the Cabernet's blackcurrants and black cherry from the Merlot. Tannins are powerful to the point of harsh. Acids are just as big. The two together, along with the kitchen sink blend, make for an aggressive mouthful of wine. It might settle down settle down and knit together in five to ten years, but right now if you put it in your mouth it just tries to fight its way out to look for a village to burn and a kid to throw in the river.
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2009 Hahn Winery GSM

A very juicy fruit-forward wine sprinkled with white pepper and allspice. Blackberries and figs lead the attack, giving way to black cherry cola, pepper, and vanilla on the mid-palate. Tannins are sweet and smooth. Acid is quite powerful, even a little bit tingly, but should settle down over time. Drink with pork roast.