2009 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Impériale, France, Rhone, Wine review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$85.00USD

This was tasted from a magnum that had been opened for a couple of hours.  Delicious and drinking great.  2009 has been an open and for the most part, accessible vintage since release, yet also an excellent vintage.  Made from 90% Grenache.  Deep ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose has raspberries, spice, dust and a bit of an interesting pine note.  What a great texture it has.  On the palate, there are raspberries over a charred wood with just a hint of the pine.  It has some complexity as it unwinds in the glass.  A long finish.  This is not a brute wine and indeed, more elegant

NV Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny, Australia, South Australia, Wine Review

Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is one in a series of Tawny "Ports" made by Penfold's.  It has very attractive packaging although no longer in the wood box.  Made in a Solera style, the minimum blended age is 20 years old.  The Solera currently contains vintages from 1960 to 2004.  Mostly Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache and Mourvedre but others as well.  Iced tea in color.  The nose is a bit oxidized (in a good way) with brown sugar, toffee and crème brulee.  On the palate, this is viscous.  Lots of caramel notes.  Some heat.  There is a nice depth to it.  Long finish.  This will work well on its own or with toffee/carame

2005 Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, France, Rhones, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

Every once in a while you open a bottle and its at peak.  It is a great feeling.  This was one of those times. Deep ruby in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, minerals, slight floral notes and garrique.  On the palate, this is layered and complex.  At the same time it drinks fresh and with vibrancy.  Plenty of black cherry fruit, some black licorice, and charred earth.  Long finish.  This is delicious on its own and will work great with casseroles and roasts.  It should be here for three to five years and then slowly fade while still great for another ten or so.  

2009 Epoch Estate Wines Sensibility Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a blend from Paso Robles.  It is 75% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre and 4% Syrah.  At age ten, it is still youthful but drinking great.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, graphite, black pepper and spice.  On the palate, this is big and full bodied.  Slight tannins.  Lots of black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Great mouth feel.  Long finish.  This drinks great on its own and will work with roasts or grilled foods.  It will drink well for the next ten to twelve years.  

2015 Domaine de la Mordorée Lirac Cuvée de la Reine des Bois, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is always one of the better values in Rhone wines.  They make two cuvees, this being the better of the two.  This is a blend of  40% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black cherries, plums, spice and smoked herbs.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Complex.  The fruits carry thru.  Light tannins.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This drinks well on its own but also works well with a wide variety of foods.  Works with casseroles, pizza or grilled foods.  It will continue to mature for a couple more year

2012 Halcon Vineyards Esquisto, USA, California, Mendocino, Yorkville Highlands, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$27.00USD

This is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries and plums along with some spice and earthy funk.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of black cherries and black raspberries with damp earthiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This is drinking very well right now.  It should be at this level for another five to ten years.  It goes well with roasts and casseroles.  

2015 Keplinger Vermillion, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is the "second label" of star winemaker Helen Keplinger's home winery.  It is made from 31% Sonoma Grapes and 69% Sierra Foothills Grapes.  A blend of 55% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah, and 5% Petite Sirah.  A delicious wine.  Purple in color with ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, spice, gravel and slight plums and earth.  On the palate, this is full bodied but very lively with lots of energy.  Black raspberries dominate at the moment but the black cherries are also present.  There is also a layer of gravel and scorched earth that is a lovely counte

2011 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape Premices, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

The 20111 vintage was difficult in the Rhone.  Nevertheless, Giraud still crafted a very nice wine.  Purple in color.  The nose is tight but with air shows cherries and raspberries with some spice.  On the palate, this runs a bit sweet/ripe.  Cherry candies.  Low in acidity.  Slight tannins.  Moderate finish.  This is easy drinking on its own but might work better with a some less sweet cookies or chocolate dessert.  It seems to be  nearing the end of its optimal drinking window so it probably should be consumed sooner.  That said, it will still be drinking well for at least the next five y

2010 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

The 2010 vintage was excellent if quite structured on release.  While they have finally opened up, the structure remains.  Deep purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, roasted meat and roasted herbs.  On the palate, this has sweet black cherry fruit with a bit of cherries along with some char and spices.  Mild tannins.  Good finish.  I don't think this will improve from here but should be good for another five to seven years at least.  This will work well with burgers or roasts.  

2014 Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades, France, Rhones, WIne Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Gigondas can offer great values on a Chateauneuf styled wine for a lot less money.  This is a great example.  And coming, from a less than great vintage, this is drinking quite well at age 5.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is tight but with air opens to show raspberries, black cherries, char and spice.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Juicy and full bodied.  Black cherry fruit over a bed of spice, earth and char.  Light tannins.  Nice finish.  This won't get better but should be at this level for another five to ten years.  It will go well with stews or roasts.  

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