The bottom one-fifth of the cork crumbled, so I decanted the wine through a straining funnel. The color in the decanter (and glass) is a lively, clear garnet with some lightening at the edge. The nose hits first with ripe fruits (plums and cherries) and builds with dusty earth, leather and smoky bacon. There are also some aromas typical of certain mature Barolo such as tar and Chartreuse-style herbs, but it does not contain any of that dried rose or other floral note. In the mouth, the wine is a very nice weight, predominantly smooth with a trace of dusty tannin remaining. The fruit note is dark and ripe, not at all stewed, and a bit tart, a flavor I have come to cherish, something like that unique sour cherry compote one finds in parts of Italy. The finish is of moderate length, moving towards the tart end of the cherry fruit as it dissipates. Lest I over-romaticize the wine, I find this final tartness a weakness, and, as the wine warms up to room temperature, it exhibits a touch of heat (albeit on the finish only...and I am quite sensitive to this so it may not bother others).
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(Ridge Vineyards Bridgehead Mataro) A good colour, although a touch paler than the following wines. Less open on the nose than some, but with dense, rich, tarry fruit with cloves. Relatively high acidity on the palate, which is full and rich with fruit. Has more elegance than some wines here tonight. The main detractor is a sharp finish as the acidity shows through.
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