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2005 A. Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$95.00USD

A. Rafanelli has built up a loyal following of fans and supporters for the Zins and Cabs (and other wines) and with good reason.  At age 15,. this wine is in a prime spot.  Deep ruby/purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is deep with cassis, leather, spice, slight herbal note and tobacco.  Full bodied.  Bright cassis fruit over spice and tobacco.  Complex and deep.  Nice balance.  This is showing some maturity but should easily go another ten to twelve years at this level.  It went great with eggplant parmigiana and would work just as well with a roast.  

2017 Sandlands Chenin Blanc California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Sandlands makes some of the best Chenin Blanc in the US.  Now, that might be faint praise for some, but theirs stands up to anyone's in the world too.  Light silvery/gold in color with a touch of copper.  The nose is very minerally with some orange peel.  Medium bodied with a slightly oily texture.  The minerality really comes thru to the palate, but there is also some tangerine notes and a hint or herbs.  Good balance.  Refreshing.  Nice finish.  This is drinking great now, but Chenin can age well.  This won't make really old bones, but another seven to ten years is not out of the question

2001 Cuvée du Vatican Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Sixtine, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

This is drinking great and pretty much at peak.  Pop and pour, it took about 20 minutes to open and was good to go.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls with slight browning.  A bit flat and a bit shiny.  The nose is great with black cherries, spice, dried flowers, plums, minerals and slight char.  Medium bodied.  A nice backbone of acidity.  The palate has plenty of fruit left with plums and black cherries.  Underneath there is some minerality, spice and slight earthiness.  This has nice layering and complexity.  Nice finish.  Delicious.  At this stage, this works better with some food,

2017 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$28.00USD

Always an outstanding wine and a great value and that is true in this challenging vintage.  It is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black currants, black cherries, slight chocolate and char.  Medium to full bodied.  A nice streak of acidity keeps it lively.  The fruit carries thru to the palate.  Medium tannins.  Deep if tight right now.  Good finish.  This needs a few more years to really open up (or a few hours decant) and should drink well for ten to twelve after t

2016 Tommaso Bussola Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso Ca' del Laito, Italy, Veneto, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$19.00USD

Bussola is one of the greatest Amarone producers, but this is just a simple Valpolicella that is relatively inexpensive.  That said, this was excellent and a great value.  Purple in color with ruby at the rim.  Mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black and red currants, slight raisins, dust and spices.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, black currant fruit with underlying spice and some raisins.  Light tannins.  Dry.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This is delicious.  It worked well with a pasta and tomato sauce.  This should drink well over the next five to seven years.  

2019 Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$49.00USD

Another consistent vintage for this wine.  It is one of those wines that wine snobs love to bash but wine drinkers enjoy very much.  It is big and fresh and exuberant and delicious.  Inky purple in color, magenta at the rim.  Opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black cherries, baking spices and slight bramble notes.  Full bodied with a juicy texture.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, the black raspberries come thru along with some char and anise on the finish.  Long finish that does have some warmth to it.  This drinks great on its own and will work well with big foods.  It s

2018 Prisoner Wine Company Pinot Noir Eternally Silenced, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

My first time trying this wine.  It is a full throttle Pinot Noir carrying a California designation that weighs in at 14.5% abv.  Attratcively packaged with half the bottle covered in black wax.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is big with black cherries and spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Cherries, black cherries and anise.  Long finish.  This is bold and delicious.  This could only come from California.  It is very young so it will be interesting to see how it evolves.  Right now it drinks better on its own although it will work with hearty meat and fow

2018 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo Gran Reserva, Chile, Central Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

This is a Bordeaux styled blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Carmenere, 11% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc from Chile.  It is also a very nice value for the quality.  Purple at the core with a ruby rim, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is tight but opens up to cassis, coffee and spice.  Nothing green on the nose.  On the palate, black cherries, cassis, smoke and fresh tobacco.  Medium tannins.  Softer texture.  This is surprisingly open right from the start.  There is a nice complexity.  It drinks easily now and should continue for the next ten to twelve years.  A nice m

2018 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon Escudo Rojo, Chile, Maipo Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

This is a great value wine from Chile.  The name Escudo Rojo is a literal Spanish translation of the Rothschild name.  Purple/ruby in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, with slight wintergreen and rosemary.  Classic Chilean Cabernet notes.  Full bodied with big fruit.  On the palate, the cassis comes thru along with smoke and some black cherries.  Firm tannins.  Some depth.  This may improve a bit, it needs a few more years to develop to reach peak, and should drink well for the next seven to ten years.  Hard to find a better Cab for under $20.  

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