Fun South African Syrah at a Fair Price

Today’s Story: Mullineux Wines

Mullineux Wines is a family owned and operated winery established in 2007 by husband and wife Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Situated in the Swartland wine region of South Africa, Mullineux sources fruit from trusted growers while growing some of their own vines in the Roundstone Farm property they own. Chris and Andrea are dedicated primary to Syrah, though they also grow and source Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Viognier. While all of these varieties grow quite well in the Swartland wine region, they also allude to both Chris’ and Andrea’s experiences working harvests in the Rhône Valley and other parts of France prior to establishing their namesake venture.

In the vineyards, Mullineux follows a minimally invasive philosophy which is aided by South Africa’s climate and weather being not very conducive to viruses and diseases. Their winemaking philosophy in the cellar is also centered in minimally invasive techniques, based largely in the desire to produce wines that express a true sense of place. Andrea does not add any yeasts, acids, enzymes, or other chemicals to the wines during fermentation and she practices gentle extraction given the structure naturally provided by the terroir. Following primary fermentation, the wines are pressed directly into French oak barrels of varying new percentages based on site and wine where they complete malolactic fermentation and aging. The wines are not racked unless necessary, and are bottled only when deemed ready without fining or filtration and minimal SO2 adds.

I previously reviewed their 2017 Old Vines White.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Syrah

100% Syrah; 14.5% ABV

The 2017 Syrah is medium purple in color with shades of deep ruby. Given some time to open up in the decanter, this wine blossoms with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a classic nose of plum, blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, violet, sweet tobacco, black pepper, a hint of smoke, and mild baking spice. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate offers up notes of blackberry, blueberry, plum, black raspberry, cherry, licorice, violet, black pepper, and chocolate. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol, and a medium length finish. Good quality and a very solid bottle for the price.

Price: $35. This offers pretty decent value, as the wine has solid intensity and decent depth. It’s a little hot as the alcohol comes into better balance, and while the finish could be longer this is still a very solid bottle for its price-point.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.

Rich, Concentrated, and Insanely Complex Central Coast Syrah

Today’s Story: Andremily Wines

Andremily Wines is a relatively young but very highly regarded producer established in 2012 by winemaker Jim Binns and his wife Rachel. Jim fell in love with winemaking while studying at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, also developing his passion for Rhône varieties by working with a number of small producers in California’s Central Coast. After he graduated, Jim joined the incredibly talented Manfred Kankl of cult producer Sine Qua Non. Jim spent twelve vintages with Sine Qua Non, honing his craft as one of Manfred’s prodigies as cellar master, before he and Rachel ultimately followed through on their dream by starting Andremily. Andremily is named as a combination of Andrew and Emily, their children, and Jim focuses on Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Viognier sourced from incredible sites including Bien Nacido, Alta Mesa, Larner, and White Hawk Vineyards. With low yields and insane attention to detail in all aspects of winemaking, Jim produces a flagship Syrah, a Mourvèdre, a Grenache, and a Rhône blend named EABA under the Andremily label.

Today’s Wine: 2013 Syrah No. 2

85% Syrah, 11% Mourvèdre, 4% Viognier; 15.2% ABV

The 2013 Syrah No. 2 is deep ruby in color and nearly black at its core. I decanted this for an hour and drank it over the following 2-3 hours. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of blackberry compote, blueberry, black plum, black cherry, black licorice, violet, sweet tobacco, incense, smoked meat, gingerbread, cracked black pepper, black olive, graphite, vanilla, and baking spice. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the palate displays notes of crème de cassis, rich black plum, wild blueberry, blackberry purée, black raspberry, black cherry, sweet tobacco, anise, violet, smoked game, green peppercorn, cinnamon, gunsmoke, sandalwood, chocolate, and coffee grounds. This dry red is full-bodied with medium acidity, medium but well-integrated tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. Outstanding quality and insanely concentrated and rich. Still drinking pretty youthful but very well-balanced, especially given the ABV. While a tad rich for my personal palate, I still won’t be able to refrain from purchasing more.

Price: $250 (I paid $200 and allocation is closer to $100 I think). Market pricing on a value perspective is a little steep on these wines, I think thanks largely to their incredible reception by the press and consumers coupled with rather small production. I am patiently waiting on the waiting list, though, because at release pricing this is pretty solid value.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.

Incredibly Well-Made Côte-Rôtie at a Steal of a Price

Today’s Story: Domaine Xavier Gérard

Domaine Xavier Gérard is an exciting and relatively young Northern Rhône wine producer that, as a rising star, seems to have gone cult over the past few years. In 2013, Xavier Gérard who is now in his 30s took over top-notch parcels from his family’s domain in the Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu appellations. Today his holdings include three hectares (seven acres) of estate-owned vineyards in Condrieu and 2.2 hectares (five acres) of estate-owned vineyards in Côte-Rôtie. He also sources an additional 0.5 hectares (one acre) in Condrieu and one hectare (two acres) in Côte-Rôtie. A small parcel in Saint-Joseph completes the portfolio, resulting in the production of four Viognier bottlings (Condrieu) and two Syrah bottlings (Côte-Rôtie and the single-vineyard designate Côte-Rôtie La Landonne).

From a winemaking standpoint, Xavier has shifted his viticultural practices to organic with a hope of receiving certification in the near future. To this end, he only uses copper sulfate in the vineyards as a treatment for mildew when necessary. Like his neighbors, all vineyard work is done completely by hand thanks to the incredibly steep vineyard sites of the appellations. Additionally, Xavier’s yields are kept rather small thanks to severe pruning, debudding, and green harvesting if necessary, with a typical yield of 35-40 hl/ha.

In the cellar, Xavier follows pretty traditional winemaking practices with minimal intervention the goal. All wines, white and red, go through spontaneous primary fermentation using only native yeasts and see either neutral oak, stainless steel, concrete, or a combination based on cuvée. During aging, the wines enter an oak or stainless steel program based on cuvée (for example the Côte-Rôtie sees 24 months in neutral oak while the Côte-Rôtie La Landonne sees 30 months in 50% new oak) and malolactic fermentation occurs spontaneously in barrel. The wines are only racked off their gross lees following primary fermentation, then off the fine lees not until assemblage. Reds are bottled unfined and unfiltered, while the whites are bottled unfined but plate filtered.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Côte-Rôtie

93% Syrah, 7% Viognier; 13% ABV

The 2016 Côte-Rôtie is medium purple in color. I decanted this for two hours and drank it over the following two hours. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, but the nose is incredibly complex showcasing notes of blackberry, red plum, blueberry, dried black licorice, violet, candied bacon, sun-dried loam, dried rosemary, olive, charred underbrush, cracked black pepper, and a hint of iron. There’s mild oak influence there as well. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate is equally complex, offering up notes of blueberry, spiced plum, blackberry purée, black cherry, licorice, black olive, violet, sweet tobacco, crushed rock, charred green herbs, ground green peppercorn, cocoa powder, and a hint of baking spice. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium but vibrant acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Outstanding quality.

Price: $65. This is a screaming value and I’d be shocked if it stays this way for long. While the intensity is great, the complexity and balance in this wine already at a relatively young age are profound. This kept changing and changing.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.

Syrah With an Incredible Sense of Place but Missing a Few Key Components

Today’s Story: Marie et Pierre Bénetière

Marie et Pierre Bénetière is a very small family-owned and operated wine estate located in the Northern Rhône appellation of Condrieu. As a native of Condrieu, Pierre developed a love and passion for Viognier at a young age and set his sights on making wine for a career. Pierre’s first love was the wine of Domaine Georges Vernay, a legendary vigneron in the appellation who Pierre studied under at the start of his career. Though Pierre didn’t have a ton of money at the time, he purchased a small unplanted parcel on an incredibly steep hill in the very southern reaches of Côte-Rôtie to begin his namesake domain. Pierre spent years manually carving terraces into the rocks and planting vines, which he continues to do to this day. Over time, he was able to acquire a couple parcels in his beloved Condrieu and today owns 2.5 hectares (6 acres) between the two appellations.

Due to the incredibly steep hillsides of Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu, Pierre works entirely by hand in his vineyards as do practically all of his neighbors. From a winemaking perspective, Pierre follows rather traditional techniques including full stem inclusion with his Syrah and minimal SO2 adds throughout the process. A reserved and private man, Pierre maintains a small cellar for his wines where he produces Condrieu (Viognier) and Côte-Rôtie (Syrah) designated bottles. The Syrah portfolio includes two wines, the Cordeloux which I am reviewing today and the Dolium which is only made in the greatest vintages and when yields allow. Each Syrah bottling represents a distinct terroir of Côte-Rôtie, with the Cordeloux sourced from vines on the granitic Côte Blonde and the Dolium sourced from vines on the clay and iron rich Côte Brune.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Cordeloux Syrah

100% Syrah; 12.5% ABV

The 2015 Cordeloux Syrah is deep ruby in color. I decanted this for three hours and tasted it along the way, though finished the bottle over a total of six hours. The aromas are of medium intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of black cherry, black olive, bacon fat, forest floor, charred underbrush, truffle, cracked black pepper, a hint of smoke, and chocolate. There’s slight VA here as well, though not as bad as what other consumers have reported and not enough to make it unenjoyable to drink. The flavors are also of medium intensity, and the palate offers up notes of brambly blackberry, black cherry, tobacco leaf, olive, mushroom, smoked meat, forest floor, crushed rock, cracked green peppercorn, and chocolate. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) dusty tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium length finish. While I got lucky due to the reported bottle variation and VA experiences, I was worried about this one the first hour or two of decanting. With such a young wine I’m concerned slightly by the lack of fruit, however the classic tertiary notes of Syrah found in this bottling are great for current drinking. Needs to be slightly better-balanced and more intense to warrant a very good or outstanding quality rating.

Price: $150. There’s a lot of good in this wine from an aroma and taste perspective, however I think by being slightly off-balanced, not very intense, and with a shorter finish than expected I can’t justify the price-point. Factoring in the reported bottle variation, this vintage seems like a gamble. All this being said though, there’s more than enough for me to like to encourage me to seek out other vintages of Bénetière.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.

An Interesting Note on the 2015 Vintage:

You may have noticed on my label shot above, if you have a discerning eye, that it appears there are two labels on this bottle. For instance, you can see some of the font below overlapping the label above. In other vintages of this bottling, the label shows the AOC designation of Côte-Rôtie where the Syrah for this wine is planted. In the 2015 vintage, however, according to Chambers Street Wines the domaine filed paperwork for AOC designation too late and the wine could therefore not sell under the Côte-Rôtie AOC designation. Instead of peeling off all the original labels with this designation, a second label was placed over top with the lower designation of “Vin de France” coupled with the wine’s variety which is Syrah. Thinking it might make for an interesting keepsake or picture at the least, I partially peeled back the top label to reveal the below:

Textbook Syrah That Blends Northern Rhône Character With California

Today’s Story: Lillian Winery

Lillian came to fruition in 2004 with their inaugural release of Syrah. The winemaker, Maggie Harrison, worked as assistant winemaker for Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non (think $200-$1,000 bottles of cult Rhone variety wines) when he encouraged her to begin producing her own Syrah. With grapes coming from the White Hawk Vineyard, Maggie bottled 150 cases of her 2004 Syrah and, though I have not had that vintage, the several vintages I’ve had since clearly reflect on her experiences at Sine Qua Non.

Over time Lillian grew from 150 cases and, although still small, sources grapes from White Hawk Vineyard, Stolpman Vineyards, Bien Nacido Vineyards, and Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Additionally, Maggie makes Lillian Roussanne and Grenache which are bottlings added later to the portfolio. With the focus on Syrah, though, each vineyard offers different character. White Hawk is sandy soil producing dark fruit personality, Stolpman is calcareous soil producing brighter fruit but more tannin structure, and Bien Nacido is cooler producing smokier and floral notes with higher acidity and tannin. When they come together, a very elegant wine is born.

I previously reviewed the 2013 Syrah and 2013 Gold Series No. 3 Syrah from Lillian.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Syrah

100% Syrah; 14.3% ABV

The 2015 Syrah is deep purple in color. I decanted this for about an hour, though it was gorgeous from the start. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing classic Syrah notes of blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, lavender, candied bacon, hickory smoke, toasted vanilla bean, crushed gravel, mocha, and sweet toasted oak. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of black plum, blueberry, blackberry, cassis, bacon fat, sweet tobacco, graphite, brown sugar, smoke, mint, and cocoa. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium but velvety tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Very good quality and a textbook Syrah.

Price: $75. I think this is very reasonably-priced given its high quality level, balance, length, intensity, and complexity. It is also exactly what I want out of a Syrah and a textbook example of the variety. I think this also strikes a good balance between Northern Rhône and California characteristics.

Mind-Boggling Complexity Out of a New Zealand Syrah

Today’s Story: Bilancia

Bilancia is a small winery and estate established by Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson in 1997 in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Lorraine and Warren are both winemakers by trade and studied at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, ultimately making wines in Australia, Hungary, Italy, California, France, and Portugal between the two of them. Bilancia’s focal point is a 6 hectare (15 acre) vineyard known as La Collina, and it is planted to Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a small amount of Gewürztraminer. Bilancia also sources Pinot Gris from Black Bridge Estate and other high-quality fruit from several renowned Hawke’s Bay vineyards.

I previously reviewed the 2007 La Collina Syrah, an earlier vintage of the wine I am reviewing today.

Today’s Wine: 2016 La Collina Syrah

100% Syrah; 13% ABV

The 2016 La Collina Syrah is deep ruby in color with garnet hues along the rim of the glass. I decanted this for about an hour and it changed drastically over the course of consumption. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the incredibly deep and complex nose showcasing notes of blueberry, dehydrated plum, blackberry, anise, violet, gunsmoke, incense, cracked black pepper, scorched earth, black tea, cinnamon, dried vanilla bean, and clove. The flavors are also pronounced and the palate is equally complex, offering up notes of blueberry, blackberry, spiced plum, sweet tobacco, bacon fat, licorice, charred green herbs, black olive, cracked green peppercorn, volcanic rock, milk chocolate, mild toasted oak, clove, and a hint of smoke. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $95. This wine is absolutely worth its price and, while not cheap, offers great value. The depth and complexity is truly mind-boggling, all wrapped together in a well-balanced wine that finishes quite long. The incense aroma is quite captivating on its own.

Incredible Value From a Provence Red Blend

Today’s Story: Triennes

Triennes is a wine estate established in 1989 in Provence, France by Burgundy legends Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Given their prowess in Burgundy, the duo became convinced that great wines of incredible quality could also be produced in the south of France when focus is put on the vineyards first and foremost. After they purchased their estate, Triennes underwent a massive replanting program to ensure the healthiest of vineyards, with vines and rootstocks specifically adapted to the local climate and microclimates. The vineyards are farmed as naturally as possible, with Ecocert organic certification following a transition that began in 2008.

As far as the Triennes wine portfolio goes, they produce three main wines of Saint Auguste Rouge (Syrah, Cabernet sauvignon, and Merlot), Viognier Sainte Fleur (Viognier), and a rosé (Cinsault blended with Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot). They also produce a Merlot, Les Auréliens Blanc (Chardonnay, Viognier, Vermentino, Ugni Blanc, and Grenache Blanc), and Les Auréliens Rouge (Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon). I previously reviewed their 2020 Rosé.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Saint-Auguste Rouge

55% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% ABV

The 2017 Saint-Auguste Rouge is deep ruby in color and completely opaque. I decanted this for about an hour which seemed about right at this stage. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing surprisingly complex aromas of blackberry, black cherry, cassis, plum, violet, scorched earth, crushed rock, nutmeg, and clove. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of black cherry, blueberry, spiced plum, licorice, dried tobacco, cracked pepper, a hint of smoke, and clove. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) but refined tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $18. I think this is an incredible value wine. For the price, it offers great depth, balance, and length while coming off rather elegant (at least partially due to aging in old Domaine Dujac barrels I imagine). Like their Rosé I reviewed previously, I suggest giving this a try.

Could This Be California’s Best Syrah?

Today’s Story: Colgin Cellars

Colgin Cellars is a relatively small “cult” winery established by Ann Colgin in the Napa Valley in 1992. After falling in love with the valley by attending the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1988, Ann purchased fruit from the highly-regarded Herb Lamb Vineyard in 1992 and released her first vintage in 1995. Shortly thereafter, Ann purchased what became her Tychson Hill Vineyard which was originally planted to vine in 1861 before it was torn up during Prohibition. Ann replanted 3.5 acres of Tychson Hill in 1997 with the help of David Abreu, and the site gets its name from Josephine Tychson who farmed the property in its early days and was the first female vintner in the Napa Valley. Ann expanded in 1998 when she and her future husband, Joe Wender, purchased a 125 acre property that would ultimately become the site of the winery and Colgin’s IX Estate Vineyard.

Colgin produces four main wines and recently began bottling a “second label” meant to be more approachable in its youth. Though Colgin ceased production of the Herb Lamb bottlings in the late 1990s, the first of the main three current Cabernet wines came about in 1999 and is named Cariad. Cariad is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot with the fruit coming from vineyards owned by David Abreu. Next came the first vintage of Tychson Hill in 2000, which is a pure Cabernet Sauvignon bottling and often the most elegant of the Colgin portfolio. The IX Estate had its first vintage in 2002, and it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Colgin’s IX Estate Syrah also had its first vintage in 2002, wrapping up the four “Crus” of Colgin Cellars and meant to showcase Ann and Joe’s love of Northern Rhône wines. Completing the Colgin portfolio is Jubilation, a “second wine” that really isn’t a second wine in the eyes of Colgin’s production team. With its first vintage in 2016, Jubilation is created with barrels that demonstrate earlier drinking characteristics and the bottling provides a nice viewpoint into the Crus at a lower price-point.

I’ve had the incredible pleasure of enjoying each of the Colgin wines through several vintages, and visited the property earlier this year. While I can say the wines are truly a class of their own, the incredible tannin quality of each bottling sticks in my memory the most vivid. To learn more about Colgin, I encourage you to visit their website here.

Today’s Wine: 2015 IX Estate Syrah

100% Syrah; 15.4% ABV

The 2015 IX Estate Syrah is deep purple in color, but opaque and nearly black. Given some time to open up, the aromas are of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcases notes of blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, plum, violet, clay, mild baking spice, cracked pepper, and a hint of smoke. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate displays gorgeous notes of blueberry, blackberry compote, spiced plum, black raspberry, violet, smoked meat, a touch of chocolate, and black pepper. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but ultra fine-grained and silky tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. This is an outstanding wine.

Price: $350. At this price-point value is difficult to discuss, as there are endless options out there for less money and of nearly this high quality. This being said though, this is perhaps the greatest Syrah I’ve had to date from California and the balance is truly incredible given the alcohol level and youth. I hope I get to taste this again years down the road.

Textbook Syrah From the Rocks District of Oregon

Today’s Story: Big Table Farm

Big Table Farm is a relatively small winery and farm established in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in 2006 by winemaker Brian Marcy and artist/farmer Clare Carver. Brian worked with wine in Napa Valley prior to starting Big Table Farm, spending a decade with stints at heavyweights like Turley Wine Cellars, Neyers Vineyards, Blankiet Estate, and Marcassin to hone his craft. Meanwhile Clare is a gifted artist and designs wine labels, many of which have been awarded.

Dedicated to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and small amounts of Pinot Gris and Syrah, Big Table Farm commenced with only 150 cases of wine and has grown to a few thousand cases today. The wines are made in a minimal style, designed to showcase each unique source’s terroir and all wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. With a major emphasis on sustainability and Clare’s passion for farming, the duo’s 70 acre property also acts as a working farm where they produce seasonal vegetables and raise animals. A visit to the property will not only showcase the wines, but you will see hens, pigs, goats, draft horses, and cows wandering about with an area dedicated to bee hives as well.

I previously wrote about the 2018 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir2020 Laughing Pig Rosé2014 Willamette Valley Chardonnay, and 2019 The Wild Bee Chardonnay from Big Table Farm.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Funk Estate Vineyard Syrah

100% Syrah; 15.1% ABV

The 2018 Funk Estate Vineyard Syrah is opaque deep purple in color, nearly black at its core. After about an hour to open up, the aromas are of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcases notes of blueberry, blackberry, plum, violet, green olive, black pepper, charred green herbs, and rocky minerality. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, with the palate displaying blackberry, black plum, mulberry, blueberry, violet, a hint of smoke, crushed rock, and cracked black pepper. This dry red is full-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. 134 cases produced.

Price: $48. This is a very solid Syrah and one that offers decent value in my opinion. It’s incredibly true to variety and showcases the terroir of the Rocks District beautifully, all while remaining fairly complex with good intensity and balance.

Gorgeous Sonoma Coast Syrah

Today’s Story: Pax Mahle Wines

Pax Mahle Wines was established in 2000 by Pax and Pam Mahle with a focus on Syrah and more “esoteric” varieties that can thrive in the cooler climate vineyards of Sonoma County and Mendocino. Pax and Pam moved to California wine country in 1997, though after a few years with Dean & DeLuca sourcing wines Pax decided he wanted to move into the production side of the wine business. Though Pax quickly rose to stardom producing Rhône variety wines (namely his Syrah), he expanded into working with Trousseau Gris, Chenin Blanc, Gamay Noir, and Mission with similar success. Pax farms his vineyards eschewing the use of chemicals and crushes his fruit by hand and foot as part of his minimal intervention philosophy. Pax only uses natural yeasts during fermentation and sulfur is added as minimally as required for stabilization only. Thanks to the high quality vineyard sites and his winemaking philosophy, Pax’s wines are magnificent representations of the varieties and terroir from which they come.

I previously wrote about the 2017 Sonoma Hillsides Syrah from Pax.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Griffin’s Lair Syrah

100% Syrah; 13.2% ABV

The 2016 Griffin’s Lair Syrah is deep ruby in color but with deep purple hues in the bowl of the glass. I let this open up in the glass for about an hour, though I think decanting is the proper move. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of blueberry, blackberry, plum, violets, pine, cracked pepper, iron, and crushed rock. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of blueberry, black plum, black cherry, sweet tobacco, mild smoke, cracked green peppercorn, charred green herbs, and chalk. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very good quality, though I think patience will be further rewarded by cellaring this bottling.

Price: $60 (I found it for $50). I think this is somewhere between the fairly-priced and good value status, especially if you find it for around $50 like I did. There’s a great Old World charm to this wine, while the complexity and intensity are quite solid. It is still rather youthful though, so decant this or give it a couple more years.