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  • 2008 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Opened and glass-decanted to pair with intensively flavored braised beef brisket. A dark ruby robe extending out to a clearing meniscus, the nose features roasted meat, black olive, black currant and white pepper. Very little fruit initially. This was overpowered by the beef at dinner. However, 3 hours later, soft cherry, black currant and Provencal herbs step forward, making me think that this is still a bit young. Some sneaky late tannins at this stage seem to back this up. Now quite enjoyable by itself, with good intensity and concentration. Will plan to decant the next bottle for several hours, and pair with more subtle entrees for best effect.

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  • 2007 Audelssa Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley

    Opened a glass decanted 45 minutes before pairing with grilled boneless ribeye steaks. A deep dark ruby robe reaching out to near clear meniscus, the nose features ripe dark cherry, plum, blackberry, sandalwood and mocha-tinged oak vanillin. Excellent concentration and intensity on the palate, which confirms the nose. Though dry, luxurious, well-integrated tannins are sweet and juicy. This was so good that drink the entire bottle while grilling and eating.

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  • 2011 Blackbird Vineyards Arise

    Opened on 8/30/15 to pair with simple roasted chicken. A medium+ dark ruby in the glass with copious legs, the streamlined nose features bing cherry, red alpine currant, Herbs de Provence (especially Bay Leaves and Thyme), oak spice and alcohol. The remaining half bottle was re-corked after this dinner, and re-opened on 9/2/15 to pair with grilled steaks. The nose was before but more open and powerful, the color a bit darker (nothing to confuse this with a Pinot Noir), and the palate more open but basically as before. The alcohol seems a bit more prevalent, with a tinge of vanilla, but the finish is more long lasting. HRAZDIIV must have had a compromised bottle, but my experiences here point to the fact that this is still a quite young wine, and will benefit from further cellaring.

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