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2009 Campo Lavilla Tempranillo

Clear, medium intensity, bright ruby red. Clean medium intensity aromas of soft earth, moss, dark cherry, plum, fresh cranberry, violet, chalk, strawberry, and tobacco. Dry on the palate with medium tannin, medium-high acidity, medium body. Flavors of bright red fruit, cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, tart cherries; clean minerality on the finish. Drink with spicy lamb kebab or grilled portobello mushroom with blue cheese. Highly recommended. RR
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2008 Pedestal Columbia Valley Merlot

Clear, bright, medium-deep intensity, ruby red. Clean, medium intensity aromas of dark fruit, plum, blackberry, sage, and cedar. Dry on the palate, medium-high tannin, medium body and acidity. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry, charred wood, bitter herbs, and moss. Pair with herb crusted lamb or a spicy black bean burger. Recommended. RR
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2008 Bodega Inurrieta Sur

Blackberries and brambles show in the nose, with a vanilla background from American oak. The palate is dark and deep, with earthy mulberry backed by black cherry. Mild black pepper and tobacco leaf show on the mid-palate, lingering over a mid-length finish with the mulberry. The depth and complexity of the wine belie the moderate price. Drink with flank steak or ropa vieja. Highly Recommended. DH
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2010 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

The nose is a treat in itself, aromas of fresh-ground medium-roast coffee and black cherries, tinted around the edges with fresh sage. The same coffee-cherry theme shows on the attack, the initial taste, adding hints of cola, milk chocolate and licorice on the mid-palate. Tannins are mild and silky, with acids to match. A difficult food match, with rich flavors but medium body, this will pair best with a meat to match. Try it with grilled swordfish or smoked trout. Recommended. DH
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2005 Bodegas Valduero Reserva

That lovely cigar box and cedar nose so typical of many Spanish reds is immediately forthcoming on the nose, along with some herbal elements. Black cherry fruit is forward, and the wine is a bit clumsy in that regard. Tannins are still sharp, giving a somewhat dusty finish, but still quite pleasant overall. At least one hour of aeration is recommended. Still could use some additional age. Good with just about any grilled meat on the barbecue, especially if using wood to smoke. Recommended. GT
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2005 Chateau Arnauld

A very moderately priced Bordeaux, particularly for one from the “Vintage of the Century.” It is also still rather young, evidenced by how much better it showed on the second night. The nose shows blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco leaf. The taste on the palate is far richer than the aromas on the nose. It leads with blackcurrant, cedar, and mocha, with tart cherries, even a touch of cranberry, and dark chocolate, all showing on the mid-palate. Clearly an old-world wine, high acids and dusty tannins to match offer a food-paring wine, rather than a snack in a glass. Drink with a rib-eye or a great burger. Recommended. DH
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2010 Azelia Dolcetto d’Alba “Bricco Dell’Oriolo”

Dolcetto’s reputation in some quarters as an easy-drinking, even insubstantial, wine is challenged here. This is an elegant example of what Dolcetto can be in the right hands. Perfumed, floral nose with black cherry and anise arising out of the glass. A complex mix that includes blackberry and a dusting of pepper washes across the palate. Finish is longer than I expected it to be, although still a bit tannic. Have with roast pork (porchetto) or a prosciutto-laden pizza. Highly recommended. GT
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2007 Sartori Valpolicella Classico Superiore Vigneti di Montgradella

The nose offers up leather, raspberries, and black pepper. It opens on the palate with leather and raspberry, with a dusty mineral background. It moves from black raspberry to black cherry, then tart cherry, on the mid-palate. Medium tannins and juicy red fruits linger through a mid-length finish. This is a food friendly wine at a wallet friendly price. Drink with anything involving red meat and marinara. Recommended.DH