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Tedeschi “Capitel san Rocco” Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso
It has the ripeness and body to appeal to a mass audience and sports a burnt-toast and spice-box aroma that leads into some very complex flavors—the best Ripasso I have ever seen at this price point, period.
Domaine Grosset Cairanne
The textbook southern Rhone bottling with grace and elegance. Lavender and currant on the nose, with a lush palate of rich dark fruit, wet stones, and smoke.
Domaine Phillipe & Vincent Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage
It all starts with a savage nose redolent of wild animal and burnt earth. Then, fresh wild strawberries and mineral and loam are stitched into a lean and vibrant package of flavors that ends in a long structured finish.
William Knuttel “Clone 777” Pinot Noir
Typically, single clone Pinots come off as beautiful but unbalanced, but this bottle does not fall prey to that fault. It also doesn’t suffer from the all-to0 typical flabbiness of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. What is this wine, then?
Floral notes go towards jasmine and patchouli, and on the palate, an element of ginger beer interplays with the black fruit and cinnamon.
Luce della Vita Luce
I will be giving this out as a holiday favor to the Wine School staff. While rich and impressive now, the Luce is always much better with a few years of aging. Currently, it is mostly licorice and mocha, following dense black fruit, dense tannins, dense body, dense finish. In other words, a monolithic bottling.
Ramey Syrah Shanel Vineyard
It’s rare for a wine to be praised by nearly every major and minor wine critic. This one managed that exceedingly rare trick. My original notes praised this wine to high heaven, but that seems quite superfluous under the circumstances. It’s a great bottle of Syrah, period.
Donnafugata Mille E Una Notte
Licorice, fenugreek, and cardamom dominate the attack of this wine, which then opens into a toasted cedar-inflected curve of flavor that cuts through a dense mid-palate of kirsch.