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2011 Lafond Chardonnay SRH, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

Golden in color, clear.  The nose has lemons and slight apple cider.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the apple cider notes are stronger.  Nice texture.  Some acid.  Mature if a bit past.  These should be consumed sooner than later.  It will work better with some lighter but rich foods.  Crab or lobster would work.

1997 Fonseca Porto Vintage, Portugal, Douro, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1997
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

Decanted for about 6 hours prior to drinking.  This is a good if not great declared vintage.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has milk chocolate, cherries, and raspberries.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is sweet with chocolate covered raisin notes.  Very tasty.  Some complexity.  Solid finish.  This is drinking very well now and should probably be consumed over the next decade though it will certainly have something ot offer after that.  Drinks well on its own, it would work well with a chocolate cake.  

2014 Saxum Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

From Magnum.  This is a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 22% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 13% Tempranillo, 12% Grenache, and 10% Petite Sirah.  The bottle was opened for air for around 24 hours prior to serving.  Drank over two nights, it was consistent both nights.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, plums, black raspberries, cherries, gravel, black pepper and floral notes.  Crazy good and complex.  Full bodied and full throttle.  On the palate, all of those purple and red fruits seem to come out with underlying minerality and gravel.  Juicy acidity.  15.9% ABV but no s

2012 Sine Qua Non Syrah Stock, USA, California, Ventura, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$218.00USD

Another delicious wine from SQN.  It is a blend of 84% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 6% Petite Sirah, 1% Mourvèdre and 2% Viognier.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, slight black olives and spice.  Full bodied.  Serious, fruit forward and intense wine.  On the palate, there are some tannins left.  Lots of black raspberry fruit over an earthy, meaty base.  Juicy acidity.  15.5% ABV but no heat.  Long finish.  In short, everything you could expect from this winery.  It is still young and should evolve over the next decade and drink well for ten mo

2013 Cayuse Syrah Bionic Frog, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$260.00USD

This has really opened nicely since I last tried it.  Still young, but delicious.  Perhaps the best wine from Washington that I have had.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, boysenberries, black cherries, black olives and tarragon.  No burnt rubber that sometimes shows up in Washington Syrah.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the black and purple fruits dominate.  Black pepper.  Slight black olive with underlying minerals/rocks.  Wonderful lush but fluid texture.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This is still maturing and should be great drinking for t

2005 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Mt. Veeder, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$265.00USD

Classic Napa Cabernet from a very good vintage.  This is a Cab that takes a while to mature and at age 15, it is just hitting that sweet spot.  Purple in color. The nose is great with cassis, cedar, a bit of funk, leather and camphor.  Complex and enticing.  Full bodied but not a bomb at all.  The palate is complex and deep without being over done.  Cassis layered with earth and leather.  Energy and balance.  Long finish.  Drink this over the next ten to fifteen years.  It drinks well on its own but is probably better with food.  From a steak to a roast, this would work great.  

2012 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard, USA, California, Edna Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

John Alban is one of the pioneers of the California Rhone wine movement and he is still at the top of his game.  Inky purple in color, magenta at the rim.  An amazing nose with black raspberries, graphite and a bit of funky earthiness.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Lush.  Black raspberry fruit with underlying char.  Long finish.  Just starting to show some maturity.  This ill go another ten to fifteen years with no trouble.  Great on its own, this will work well with spicy foods.  

2011 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$425.00USD

From the heart of the historic To Kalon Vineyard in Napa.  This bottle was opened and allowed to breathe for about 8 hours prior to serving.  This was a cooler vintage in Napa, but To Kalon is on the valley floor and gets plenty of sun and warmth.  Deep ruby/purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, cedar and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  It is young but showing some signs of maturity.  Cassis, cedar and black cherries intertwined with spice and slight minerality.  Lovely texture.  Nice finish.  This should continue to mature for another five to sev

2006 Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is a Cabernet Franc from Tuscany.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black cherries, black raspberries, dark chocolate, slight floral notes and a hint of cigar box.  On the palate, this is ripe and a big wine.  Despite being 14 years old, it still shows medium tannins and fresh fruits.  Black cherries, some blueberries, chocolate and tobacco.  Nice balance.  Smooth finish.  This can compete with Cab Francs from anywhere.  It will easily do another decade.  A nice match for a steak or roast.  

2016 Downstream, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

This is a wine made by Rhone wine consultant Philippe Cambie and Saxum’s Justin Smith.  It is a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 8% Syrah, 6% Mataró, 6% Petite Sirah, and 4% Tempranillo.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, slight bramble, dust, black cherries and spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Delicious.  Serious tannins.  Black raspberries, plums and spices over a gravelly bed.  Long finish.  Pop and pour, this was drinking great from the start.  It's hard to say how well this well age.  The label says 16.1% abv but there is no heat.  Still, at t

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