2014 Domaine La Millière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$39.00USD

This was a pleasant surprise.  Served from Magnum and along side some bigger California wines, this provided a nice contrast and was quite tasty.  2014 was not a particularly good vintage in the southern Rhone, but of course, good producers usually find a way to make good wines.  Ruby in color.  The nose is nice with cherries, garrique/spice, and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Nice cherry fruit with some dark cherry and a bit of earthiness.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This worked quite well with some home made pizzas and in general is food friendly.  It is dr

2004 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This was possibly the oldest EdB I have had and it was great.  Showing a bit of age but certainly not over the top.  Pop and pour, it improved on opening and then held constant for the evening.  Purple in color, some bricking at the rim.  The nose has cherries, some black cherries and baking spices.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Still lively but balanced acidity.  Cherries with a bit of earthiness and the baking spice finishes the palate.  I doubt it gets better from here but it certainly seems like it would have at least five more years before a slow decline.  This will go grea

2004 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

One of the longer living CdP's.  However, 2004 is an ok, not great vintage at this time.  The result?  At age 15 this is at peak.  It should be here for at least five and likely ten more years.  Medium ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, slight floral notes, garrique and slight earthy funk.  On the palate, this has nice depth.  Layers of cherry liqueur unwind in the glass over a funky earthiness.  Light dry tannins especially on the finish.  This works well with stews and roast.  Everything you want in a traditional CdP.  

2016 Domaine Font de Vent Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This producer used to be known as Font de Michelle but has re-branded using this name.  It is a very traditional CdP with about 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre according to the back label.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherry and spice and a bit of a liqueur note.  Very nice chewy mouth feel.  Black cherries, a bit floral and cherries along with some alcohol on the palate.  Long finish.  This should pair well with stews, charcuterie and roasts.  Both 2015 and 2016 are great vintages in CdP.  This one easily has a decade or more left to enjoy.  

2012 Saxum Broken Stones, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

Saxum is one of my favorite wineries so no surprise, but this is outstanding.  It has really opened up since last tried reinforcing my belief that despite what some say, these big reds are best after ten years in a good cellar.  This is made from 79% Syrah, 7% Petite Sirah and the rest Grenache, Mourvedre and Roussanne grapes.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, roasted meats and slight violets.  On the palate, the texture is wonderful.  Velvety with excellent acidity.  Complex and layered, this unwinds in the glass.  And, it is delicious with black raspber

2011 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

This was a difficult vintage in most of California, but Saxum seemed to handle it just fine.  The wines, do, however, seem to be drinking a little earlier than most vintages.  The 2011 Saxum's are ready to drink but no hurry on any of them.  This one has at least another decade but it probably won't get better.  That is fine because it is outstanding.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, smoke, black cherries, red currants and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, there is nice black raspberry fruit with some black cherries over some pepper and charred earth.  A nice backbone of a

2014 Torrin The Banshee, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Another stunning wine from Torrin.  Still a bit young but starting to show some development especially with a few hours in a decanter.  This is 50% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre and 24% Grenache.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with a  meatiness reminiscent of the northern Rhone but vibrant fruit that says California sunshine.  There is also some black pepper, plums and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black raspberry fruit intertwines with black pepper over a smoke and earth base.  It is pretty big right now with firm tannins.  This should continue to develo

2013 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

40% Mourvedre, 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache, and 10% Counoise.  This is still pretty young but quite delicious.  Sort of like a California version of a Chateauneuf du Pape.  Deep ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose has cherries, plums, cedar, spice and slight cocoa powder.  On the palate, the spicy red fruits dominate at this stage.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This has tight layers that unwind in the glass.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  It may improve a bit from here but easily has a decade and probably two left in it.  

2017 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas, USA, California, Adelaida District Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

This is basically the second wine of Esprit de Tablas from Tablas Creek although they make a lot of different wines, not all available without being in their wine club (highly recommended).  This sell for around $30 and can often be found at retail shops.  It is young and will likely improve a bit over the next few years.  Screw capped!  Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvedre.  Whereas the Esprit can be compared to a Chateauneuf du Pape, this is more like a better Cotes du Rhone or even a Gigondas.  It has a deep ruby color with some purple swirls.  The nose has black cherries, slight eart

2016 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux-de-Provence, France, Languedoc, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

This one comes in a unique shaped bottle.  It is drinking quite well today and should easily last for five more years.  Ruby/purple, clear and bright.  The nose is tight at first.  With air, some black raspberries and raspberries come out.  Also some floral qualities and some spice.  On the palate, this has nice black raspberry fruit.  Slight leather.  Medium tannins.  A bit dusty underneath.  Good finish.  Very food friendly.  At around $15, this is a very nice value.  

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