Saturday, June 22, 2019

Revisiting the White Wines of Portugal's Alentejo Region

Esporao's expansive vineyards in Alentejo, Portugal. 
When I visited Portugal’s Alentejo last summer, I arrived expecting to taste a ton of red wines — which, surely, I did, as red grapes make up the vast majority of those planted in Alentejo. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the white wines (which I wrote about in this column).

Antão Vaz leads the pack in terms of quantity and, I think, quality. This indigenous white variety does well in the hot and arid climate of Alentejo. It’s frequently blended with other indigenous Portuguese varieties like Arinto (for some crisp acidity), along with others like Gouveio,and Roupeiro.

When tasting these white wines, I find they just pop with the authenticity of the region. Winemakers craft Antão Vaz and other Alentejo white blends in a variety of styles, from steely, leaner ones, to skin-contact wines made in amphorae, to creamier, barrel-fermented wines. And I think that diversity is on display in the wines I tasted for this report, which I received as samples and tasted sighted.

There are a few red wines included in here, as well as a ringer from the Douro, made by Alentejo-based producer Esporão.

2016 Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Antão Vaz da Peceguina - Portugal, Alentejano, Vinho Regional Alentejano
SRP: $25
Rich gold color. Fascinating aromas of orange peel and apricot along with olive oil, hay, nougat, saline and chalk. Medium-bodied, this has the textural depth of an orange wine while being really vibrant and precise. The orange and apricot fruit is touched with honeyed, waxy elements, minerals, sea salt, white tea, raw almond, there’s even some green herb and dried seaweed notes (in a really good way). Deep, the mouthfeel is lovely, but the wine is really, really fresh. A memorable and unique made from 100% Antão Vaz, fermented in stainless steel. (91 points)

2018 FitaPreta Branco - Portugal, Alentejano, Vinho Regional Alentejano
SRP: $22
Light yellow color. The nose shows lemon curd, peaches, yellow apples, while rich notes of honey and lamp oil mix with lighter elements of sea salt and perfume. Fresh and medium-bodied (13% alcohol) with a plump feel and lively acidity. Lemon curd, honeydew melon and apricot mix nicely with raw almond, honeysuckle, and lots of flinty, chalky notes. A steely, bright style but lots of depth and complexity. This is a blend of Antão Vaz with Roupeiro and Arinto. (91 points)

2017 Herdade Do Rocim “Mariana” Branco - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $13
Light yellow color. Aromas of lemon, cantaloupe, peach, with honey and magnolia petals. Medium-bodied on the palate, very fresh and bright, with peach nectar and lime. Salty, floral, dusty mineral accents, this also shows honey, almond, tropical flowers. The saline/mineral component hangs long on the crisp finish. Very versatile, summer-friendly, a brighter style that will go well with all sorts of foods. From the Vidigueira sub-zone, this is 60% Antão Vaz, 30% Arinto and 10% Alvarinho. 12.5% alcohol. Insane value. (89 points)

2017 Herdade do Esporão Monte Velho Branco - Portugal, Alentejano, Vinho Regional Alentejano
SRP: $12
Light yellow color. The nose is bright and peachy with mangos and limes (nice contrast), along with spicy herbs, wildflowers and creamy, honeyed notes. Lovely texture on the palate yet the acidity is precise, and there’s a nice tropical/citrus mix (mango and pineapple drizzled with lime). Notes of honey, salted almond, smashed rocks, chalk and dried flowers add all sorts of complexity. This is absurdly good for the price, a dynamic and exciting white blend of 40% Antão Vaz, 40% Roupeiro and 20% Perrum, fermented in stainless steel. 14.5% alcohol. (90 points)

2017 Herdade do Esporão Esporão Reserva Branco - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $20
Light yellow color. An interesting nose of peaches, apricot jam, glazed pear, with honeycomb, whipped butter and floral tones. Full-bodied and plump with medium acidity, and juicy apricot and glazed pear. Lots of rich notes of almond and honey comb but I also get some floral tones and an attractive salty-briny aspect. Big and delicious, but nuanced and food-friendly as well. Antao Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro and others, aged six months in a mix of steel, and some new French and American oak. (88 points)


2017 Herdade do Esporão Colheita - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $18
Deep purple color. Suave dark fruit on the nose (roasted fig, plum, black currant) with anise, coffee, violets and dark, rich earth. Full-bodied, quite a grip to the tannins but the edges are round and the acidity is lively. Juicy but tangy black fruit mixes nicely with coffee, pepper, anise, rosemary, clove. It’s accessible in it’s youth, but has the structure to improve for at least three to five years. Touriga Nacional, Cabernet, Aragonez and other varieties, co-fermented, foot treading, aging in concrete – this is another impressive example of the quality and value from Alentejo. (90 points)

2016 Herdade do Esporão Quinta dos Murças “Minas” - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $20
Deep purple color. On the nose, there is a ton of earthy and spicy complexity, with anise, black pepper, charcoal, with a core of dark but tangy currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied with some serious grip to the tannins, but fresh acidity. Black currant and tart plum kinds of fruit, with a mix of spicy tones (anise, pepper, clove) with espresso, and underlying mineral, stony and graphite elements, lots of complexity. For a wine at this price point, this has serious concentration and could benefit from some cellar time. A schist soil blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and others, aged in concrete and old French oak for nine months. (90 points)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Exciting Oregon Wines from Troon and Hazelfern

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on some Oregon wines, but this week I have some special bottles that remind me why I fell in love with Oregon wines.

I’ve written a lot in the past about Troon Vineyard’s Applegate Valley wines over the years. With a biodynamic approach and a seemingly endless desire to experiment with different varieties, blends, and styles, I’m always excited to see what they come up with next.

This was my first time tasting wines from Hazelfern Cellars, and I’m really impressed. This is a family effort of husband-wife duo Bryan and Laura Laing, who founded this project in 2014. They started making wine together in their Portland basement in 2006 fast forward to 2015, when they planted an estate vineyard with Pinot Noir, Gamay and Trousseau in the Chehalem Mountains AVA.

If these two Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are any sign, I think this is a winery to watch in the future.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2018 Troon Vineyard Côtes du Kubli Blanc - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
Light yellow color. So bright and inviting on the nose, a delightful saltiness and wildflowers and herbal tones, with apricot, lemon, green melon, some white tea and honeycomb. On the palate, there’s great depth of texture but also bright acidity and brisk minerality that pervade the wine. Juicy melon and apricot with tart lime, topped in all sorts of flowers, crushed chalk, white tea, salted almond – some mint and ginger elements that are really attractive. Beautiful stuff that may make doubters of white Rhone blends think again. 51% Viognier, 28% Marsanne, 21% Roussanne, aged six months in old French oak. (92 points)

2017 Hazelfern Chardonnay - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $35
Light yellow color. Nose boasts lemon crème, apricot and orange marmalade, with ginger and honey, sea salt and chalk dust notes. On the palate, there’s a great balance between creamy depth and precise acidity, with minerals, saline and chalk dust notes. Lemons, apricot, orange and peach, with accents of ginger, graham cracker and floral perfume. Very pretty, elegant and balanced. Aged 11 months in 17% new French oak. (91 points)

2017 Hazelfern Chardonnay Rock Block - Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $48
Rich yellow color. Intoxicating aromas of lemon curd, peach, nectarine, with crushed chalk, sea spray, ginger, mint and a lovely sense of breezy air over wildflowers. Plush texture on the palate, medium-bodied and creamy but full of zippy acidity. Fresh and tangy fruit (apricot, lemon crème, green melon), laced with complexities of ginger, honeycomb, chalk, crushed shells, sea salt. Nuanced graham cracker and vanilla elements woven in expertly. Lovely Willamette Valley Chardonnay that should age beautifully. (93 points)

2017 Hazelfern Pinot Noir Robinson Family Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
SRP: $48
Bright ruby color. Aromas of juicy raspberries, cherries, strawberries, along with rhubarb, violets, cocoa, spiced tea and wild herbs. On the palate this is bright and lively with moderate strength tannins and crisp acidity, and the balance is lovely. Layers of bright red fruits mix with complex notes of violets, mint, rhubarb, tobacco, black pepper. There are some savory and mineral undertones underneath that should come out more with time. This is a wonderful Pinot Noir that should ever better in a few years. Aged 12 months in 25% new French oak. (93 points)

2017 Hazelfern Pinot Noir Ana Vineyard - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
SRP: $48
Bold ruby color. The nose shows juicy raspberries and black cherries, red apple peel, along with savory elements, spicy herbs, anise, rose petals. On the palate, this is medium/full-bodied with a juicy texture but vibrant acidity, dusty tannins. Ripe but tangy cherries and plums, candied apple and raspberry, with a good mix of cola, birch, violets, some earthy, pine, floral, coffee complexities, too. This is balanced in its youth, but could benefit from aging as well. Aged 12 months in 29% new French Oak. (92 points)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Wine Reviews: New Releases from California

This week I have a big bundle of new releases from all over California.

Amici Cellars has been around for years, and I’ve found them to be a source of consistent, moderately-priced staples like Russian River Pinot and Napa Sauvignon Blanc. Their sister label Olema focuses on value-driven wines, and they’re quite good for the price.

Sonoma’s Jordan Winery comes through again with their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, while Napa stalwart Shafer comes out swinging with their 2017 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay.

I also tasted a handful of wines from Morgan, which began back in 1982. Sourcing fruit from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Monterey, these wines offer lots of juicy fruit but show elegance and freshness as well. And they really deliver for the price. A few wines from FEL, Mi Sueno and Luck Rock Wine Co. round out this report.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

SRP: $17
Medium straw color. Aromatically popping with lemon, ruby red grapefruit, kiwi, and notes of lemongrass, magnolia and mint. Medium-bodied, fresh and zippy on the palate but some nice creaminess. A fresh fruit salad of green melon, ruby red grapefruit, peaches and lime, accented with notes of mint, wildflowers and clover. The fruit and floral/herbal tones are balanced together very nicely. A lot of personality and depth, especially for the price. Blended from Lake and Napa County fruit aged French oak. (88 points)

2017 Morgan Sauvignon Blanc - California, Central Coast, Monterey
SRP: $18
Pale lemon color. Nose pops with lemons, limes, grapefruit and guava, along with lemongrass and mint. A nice bit of creaminess on the palate, but this is super bright and brisk with lemon, guava, melon, peaches, along with cut flower stems, white pepper, honeysuckle and clover. Fresh, zippy, fun stuff, quite complex for the price. All Musqué clone, this wine is aged five months in 10% new French oak. (87 points)

2018 Amici Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $25
Pale straw color. The nose displays lemon curd, white peaches, mango, along with clover flower, honeysuckle and lemon verbena. Peachy, fun, fruity with lemon and mango, backed by zesty acidity. The fruit is accented with notes of lemon verbena, clover, honeysuckle, and I get some mineral and chalk dust elements. Finishes with spicy floral and honeyed tones. Includes 4% Semillon, 12% of the wine is barrel-fermented. (89 points)

2018 FEL Pinot Gris - California, Mendocino County, Anderson Valley
SRP: $25
Rich yellow color. The nose is super peachy with limes and yellow apples, lots of flowers and green herbs. The palate is framed with zippy acidity, medium body, some creamy texture, with lemon, lime, peach fruit. Lots of flowers, white tea, chalk, stony tones, adding all sorts of complexity. It has this mineral, lifted quality that reminds me of Alto Adige, but it has this juiciness that is pure California. A really delicious and interesting Pinot Gris. (90 points)

2017 Morgan Chardonnay Metallico - California, Central Coast, Monterey 
SRP: $22
Light yellow color. Aromas of peaches, lemon-lime, notes of verbena, white pepper, it’s very bright, floral and spicy. Bright acidity frames the palate nicely, this is very crisp and bright but has some nice depth of texture. Lemons, limes, peaches, topped in hay, white pepper, honeycomb and white tea. Notes of seashells and wild herbs add complexity. Fresh, fun, lean and brisk style, which is really refreshing. All stainless steel, no maloactic fermentation, 13.5% alcohol. (87 points)

2017 Morgan Chardonnay Highland - California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
SRP: $28

Medium yellow color. The nose shows sea spray, crushed shells, peanut shells, hay and white flowers on top of lemon crème and yellow apples. The palate boasts crisp, nervy acidity with lively, lip-smacking acidity and creamy texture. Apples, lemon curd and apricot mix nicely with salted nuts, honeycomb, white flowers. There’s a salty, crushed seashell, mountain stream essence that is so good. Balanced, lively, flavorful, so good for the money. Aged eight months in about 30% new French oak, 75% maloactic fermentation. (91 points)

2017 Amici Cellars Chardonnay Olema - California, Sonoma County
SRP: $16
Light gold color. Aromas of apricot, white peach, glazed pear, with some nougat and honeycomb elements. Medium-bodied, juicy but bright, with pleasant creaminess and moderating acidity. Glazed pears, apricot, lemon curd, and the fruit mixes with notes of sea salt, honeyed tea, almond brittle. There is a lot of vibrancy and deliciousness in here for a wine of the price. (87 points)

2016 Amici Cellars Chardonnay - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $25
Bright yellow color. All sorts of color and variety of apples on the nose, along with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, nougat, some salty, oceanic notes. Plump and texturally rich but shows some restraint; it’s creamy but zesty, with bruised apple, orange marmalade and lemon pie. Notes of sea salt, crushed shells, almond skin, floral potpourri and ginger. Lots of texture and richness but it’s balanced very well. Very good Sonoma Chardonnay for the price. (89 points)

2017 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $34
Golden yellow color. Aromas of rich yellow apples, apricot and orange marmalade, notes of salted almonds and peanuts, hay, ocean spray. A plush texture on the palate, but a lot of fresh acidity. Lemon, yellow apple, apricot, along with notes of sea salt, almond, peanut brittle, honey. All sorts of fresh, floral, salty complexities in here. Rich but balanced, a lovely Russian River Chard, especially given the moderate price. 13.6% alcohol, aged six months in 100% new French oak. (90 points)

2017 Shafer Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch - California, Napa, Carneros
SRP: $52
Rich gold color. Bold aromas of pineapple, honey, vanilla, almond cake, walnuts, all sorts of rich and exotic flavors but it’s fresh and vibrant too with lemon crème, apricot and glazed pears. Full-bodied on the palate (14.9% alcohol) with plenty of textural depth (honeyed, waxy elements), yet the underlying crispness and vibrancy is unmistakable. Yellow plums, bruised apples, lemon crème, mixed with walnuts, salted almonds, honey and hay. There are underlying elements of mineral notes, crushed shells, it adds all sorts of complexity. Wow. Bold yet balanced, such an expressive and complex Chardonnay. Aged 14 months in 75% new French oak and 25% stainless steel. (93 points)

Red wines

2017 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema - California, Sonoma County
SRP: $20
Medium ruby color. Nose boasts juicy raspberries, jammy cherries and plums, with cola, cedar, red licorice candies. Plump and juicy on the palate, a medium-bodied frame with light tannins and medium acidity. Cherries, raspberries and plums, this is fun and fruit-focused, with notes of spiced tea, cola, cedar. It’s not too rich or baked, and while super fruity, it stays food-friendly and fresh. A solid California Pinot for $20, which ain’t easy to come by. (87 points)

2017 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $40
Deep ruby color. The nose shows spiced cranberry sauce, raspberries and strawberries, along with a nice mix of rhubarb, pepper, cola and cedar. Medium/full-bodied with soft tannins and some medium acidity. Juicy cherries, raspberries, strawberry jam, with flavors of cola, rhubarb, rose potpourri, menthol and cinnamon. Accessible and fun but this has some solid depth. Highly delicious. Stainless steel fermented aged in French oak 13 months. (88 points)

2017 FEL Pinot Noir - California, Mendocino County, Anderson Valley
SRP: $38
Bright ruby color. Bold but inviting aromatic display of rose petals, violets, white pepper and clove on top of juicy raspberries and red plums. Bold but suave on the palate with velvety tannins, vibrant acidity, and lots of raspberries, red and black cherries. Fresh and bright but a lot of spicy, herbal tones (clove, pepper), and already showing some mushroom and broth and earthy tones. Juicy but elegant, this should show even more earthy, savory goodness in a few years. Loving this style. Aged 16 months in 36% new French oak. (91 points)

2017 Morgan Pinot Noir Twelve Clones - California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
SRP: $35
Deep ruby color. Nose shows juicy cherries, raspberries, red plums, and a nice mix of herbal tea, tobacco, spicy pepper, rose petals. Full-bodied but fresh on the palate with smooth tannins, medium acidity and a velvety, attractive texture. Plums, cherries and strawberry jam, laced with an interesting mix of roasted red peppers, tobacco, cola, candied apple, savory broth notes. Very cool stuff with a dynamic combination of flavors. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak. (89 points)

2017 Morgan Cotes du Crow's - California, Central Coast, Monterey
SRP: $20
Light purple color. Bright nose of cherries, raspberries, plums, with a lot of smoky-herbal notes, leather and violets. Full but suave on the palate with a velvety feel and refreshing acidity. Tangy plums and black cherries mixed with spiced tea, cocoa, earth, violets, clove. Juicy, fun and barbecue-friendly but complex, earthy and vibrant, too. 56% Grenache, 37% Syrah, 7% Tempranillo, aged 10 months in 10% new French oak. (88 points)

2017 Morgan Syrah G17 - California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. The nose pops with tangy black cherries and dark plus, loaded with black pepper, leather, cocoa, scorched earth and graphite. Full but fresh on the palate with dusty tannins and bright acidity. Dark cherries and plums mix nicely with flavors of peppercorns, leather, cocoa, earth, and underlying notes of minerals and loamy soil. Lovely, accessible stuff, but it could also improve for a few years. Really solid value here. Includes 5% Grenache, 5% Tempranillo, aged 10 months in 25% new French oak. (90 points)

2015 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon - California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
SRP: $57
Medium purple color. Aromas of black cherries, plums, cassis, with roasted herbs and tobacco, and I get some coffee, menthol and mint chocolate chip notes as well. Smoothed out tannins on the palate but still nicely built, fresh acidity frames the wine well. Tangy black currants, plums and black cherries, the fruit is pure and lively, and backed up by complex notes of anise, mint, eucalyptus, earthy, tobacco and sweet vanilla. Smooth yet still young, this is coming together nicely but has many years of development ahead. Includes 15% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot; 2% Malbec, aged 13 months in 47% new French oak. (91 points)

2015 Mi Sueño Cabernet Sauvignon - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $75
Dark purple color. Nose boasts jammy black cherries and cassis, topped in sweet vanilla coffee, anise and cocoa powder. Full and chewy but velvety with medium/low acidity on the palate, and lots of black cherries and blackberries, juicy and full fruit. Notes of cocoa, clove, coffee, vanilla and cedar. Rich and velvety and delicious but nice depth and complexity, too, with a spicy, minty finish. Should improve over the next few years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly from Coombsville vineyards) aged 22 months in 65% new French oak. (88 points)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Wine Reviews: Virginia New Releases

I love Virginia wine, and not just because I live in DC and spend a lot of time there. Virginia wine is such a dynamic scene that it’s grown hard to keep up with. But, I try.

In this report, I tasted a lot of 2018 rosés. It seems like almost everyone in Virginia made some pink wine in 2018, and that makes sense. It was a difficult, historically wet year, but I was surprised at the quality of some of these wines.

I also tasted through a few new releases from Stinson Vineyard, who continues to produce some of my favorite wines from Virginia.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

SRP: $21
Watermelon color. Nose shows strawberries, white cherries, lots of nettle, wild herbs, raspberry leaf. Zippy and crisp on the palate, light in weight with bright acidity and subtle white cherry and strawberry fruit. Complex floral and spice tones (rose potpourri, wildflowers, basil, mint), with a nervy, mineral undercurrent. Lovely. An 11% alcohol rosé made from Merlot. (89 points)

2018 Tarara Winery Boneyard Wines Rosé - USA, Virginia, Northern Virginia, Loudoun County
SRP: $20
Deep copper color. Aromas of canned peaches and a lot of spicy/floral elements: tomato leaf, rose hips, magnolia, mint. Medium-bodied, juicy and fresh with slices peaches drizzled with lemon. Some white pepper and nettle, a bit of honey. This is fresh, simple and pleasant. 12.6% alcohol, 39% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 13% Syrah, 9% Chardonnay, 4% Tannat. (85 points)

2018 Bluestone Vineyard Rosé - USA, Virginia, Shenandoah Valley
SRP: $20
Juicy watermelon color. Nose of peaches, apricot, honey pot, lots of sweet yellow flowers. Plump and juicy, slight sweetness, yet bright on the palate, some waxy texture but such fresh acidity. Peaches topped in clover, honeysuckle, cotton candy and sea salt notes. I like the textural dynamics here. Fun, tasty, gluggable yet interesting stuff. 50% Chambourcin, 50% Bordeaux varieties. (86 points)

SRP: $16
Deep copper color. A potpourri of white cherries, white pepper, potpourri, spicy dandelion. Medium-bodied, high acidity, a brisk and steely style with white cherries and tart red apples. Notes of potpourri and baby’s breath. Fun and fresh. Based on Cabernet Franc. (85 points)

2018 Rosemont Rosé - USA, Virginia
SRP: $19
Bright pink color. Nose bursts with peaches and strawberries with yellow flowers, nettle, cucumber slices. Pleasantly plump on the palate yet crisp and fresh. Loaded with peaches, watermelon, strawberries, juicy yet tangy fruit. Notes of white tea, honey, mint, a chalky/mineral undertone. Really impressive stuff. I’m skeptical of Chambourcin, but this 100% Chambourcin rose has me pleased and intrigued me over the years. (89 points)

2018 Stinson Vineyards Tannat Rosé - USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $21
Bright pink color. Gorgeous nose: lots of roses, daisies, dandelion, hay, with watermelon, cherries, peaches, guava. On the palate, this shows deep texture, bright acidity, crisp but punchy fruit — watermelon cherries, raspberries, McIntosh apples. The fruit is balanced out with wildflowers, sea salt, crushed chalk and mint notes. A tingling, exquisite finish. A gem of a Virginia rose, and an outrageous bargain. (91 points)

2017 Stinson Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $23
Light yellow colored. Nose shows lemon and lime, along with a really cool blend of floral and green tones (like honeysuckle and sliced cucumber). Crisp acidity on the palate, smooth and juicy and salty, with flavors of guava, peach and lemon. There’s an interesting mix of chalk dust, white tea, green onion tones, but no one element dominates, which I find really refreshing. Fermented in concrete and stainless steel. (89 points)

2015 Stinson Vineyards Meritage - USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $32

Dark ruby colored. The nose shows a complex host of spicy elements (pepper, paprika, anise, bay leaf with earth and coffee tones on top of black cherries. Full but fresh on the palate, smooth yet structured with medium tannins and crisp acidity. Tangy dark plums, red and black currants and cherries, the fruit is crunchy and fresh and mixed well with elements of leather, anise, bell pepper, bay leaf, coffee. Spicy, fresh, earthy, complex, this is very pretty stuff that deserves a good decant or some time in the cellar. 43% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 21% Petit Verdot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 20 months in French oak, 35% new. (90 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.