Dinner at Chao Shan (Chao Shan, Phillip Street): I liked this very much. The nose was a dead ringer for a CDP from a ripe year - blackberries, plums, scorched earth, a shade of garrigue, violets. Very attractive. The palate was a bit of change in gear though. While nicely balanced and well shaped, with juicy acidity and silky tannins, there a sunny ripeness to its black fruited character, with an almost plum and blackberry jam note to it, along with an earthier, spicier note pulling away along with a lick of licorice at the finish. Nothing too complex, but this was enjoyably yummy and nicely interesting.
Just a little more aged than I like. Extreme bricking, almost brown in color. Could have also been a storage failure, but this one was past prime, though the non-fruit elements were something to behold. Was better once the food hit the table, interesting anyway.
Drank along side a 2004 Beaucastel. This one was more fruit forward with chocolate and caramel notes followed by blueberry-raspberry pie. Soft mouthfeel, and juicy. The Beaucastel was much more leathery.
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(Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel) Very dark red violet color; baked berry, black cherry, cherry syrup nose; a little tight, appealing, tart berry, black cherry, anise, mineral palate, reminiscent of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape from a ripe year; medium-plus finish (45% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 5% Counoise)