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  • 1999 Fattoria La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino Vigna gli Angeli

    Aerated to decanter. Color deep red, no sign of bricking. Restrained nose of dark cherries, tobacco, Autumn leaves. and spice. On the palate, rich dark cherries, brighter raspberries, earth, tobacco, and oak. This has great intensity and smooth texture from the moment it hits the palate. Long finish of sweet and sour cherries, tobacco, and earth. Beautiful wine and really has changed very little compared my note of 4 years ago. Unfortunately this time it seemed a bit closed off in terms of bouquet, and as we were celebrating daughter's sweet 16 Birthday party there was excitement to drink this faster than it needed so there was never an effusive moment on the nose. At two hours I noticed from the last glass put aside that the fruit was fading somewhat and showing more dry earthiness.. Overall this was outstanding, especially on taste. Will wait a few more years before drinking the last bottle.

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  • 2012 Domaine Lafage Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

    Aerate to decanter. Color dark maroon with some purple hues and somewhat opaque. Bouquet of baked black sweet and sour cherries, red plums, some pretty violets, tar, and spice. On the palate, rich blackberries, some red cherries, garrigue, spice and bramble. Seems front loaded, good depth of fruit, modest finish. Good pairing with spicy black bean soup simmered all day with smokey ham hocks. Overall a good value at 12, but I didn't feel the thunder GV must have had when he ranked it #2 WL wine under $40 for 2014. Same impression both times, score is the average of two bottles in two weeks.

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  • 2011 Cave de Roquebrun Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Frigoulet

    Color is Tyrian purple with some darker hues in the middle, medium-full body. Bouquet of ripe mulberries and cherries, burnt black plum, fresh-turned earth with varying degrees of funk, black pepper, herbs and wet stone. On the palate, powerful black stone fruits and mulberry with some tangy red currants mixed in, along with bits of sharp herbs, pepper, and mineral notes that add rustic edges. Medium acid and medium-full youthful tannins are grippy through a moderate finish. There is some variability with this bottling, and in general I prefer the fruit it showed more last Spring and Summer than in recent months. Score is the average (range 86-90) from about two cases. Very good value at 9.

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