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Contents of this issue of
The Poor Man's Guide to Fine Wine

  • Article: To Age or Not to Age
  • The Poor Man's Guide's Wine Reviews

To Age or Not to Age

wine cellarWhen some of us are first seduced by wine, one of the things that fascinates us is its mystery and romance. How can an agricultural product be so transformed into such a living thing, so full of character? And how is it that many of the best wines can age decades, changing and improving along the way? Amazed by this, many of us start collecting wine and laying bottles down in a cool place, waiting and expecting some magic to happen. Hoping that we will open these bottles in 5, 10, even 20, years and they will be glorious, wine epiphanies.

But then we quickly hear wine writers give stats saying that something like "over 95% of the wines produced in the world are meant to be consumed young and should not be aged." Is this true? If that is true then why do so many wine lovers have cases and cases of wines buried deep in their cellars (many of which they spent thousands of dollars to buy or construct to safely store those precious bottles)? Why is it that many of the wines I review in this newsletter have projected drinking ranges that last years or even decades?

I have some answers to these questions. First of all, quite simply, many collectors, particularly early in their enophile early years do make many mistakes. I myself was guilty of this. I bought 4 bottles of a cheap Chianti Riserva at Trader Joe's that tasted nice enough at the time and laid them down, hoping, immaturely, that my meager investment would pay huge dividends by producing an amazing wine in several years. Guess what? When I opened those bottles 2, 4, 6 and more years later...a significant downhill evolution took place. The last bottle was barely drinkable. Unfortunately, before we know much, we will make many mistakes in our wine aging exploits.

But another thing I should point out right away is that the "95% of all wines produced in the world is meant to be consumed young" statement we all hear some version of is a bit misleading. What needs to also be pointed out, to put this statement in context, is that the large majority of wine produced in the world is crap! Mass produced, insipid wines from poor producers and poor terroirs forms a literal ocean of mediocre or downright nasty wine every year. According to Wikipedia, Sutter Home White Zinfandel alone accounts for 4 million cases of wine each year! Let me repeat that...4 frickin' million cases! That's 36 million liters of white zinfandel! That's 1,271,328 cubic feet of wine! That is enough white zinfandel to fill a swimming pool 356 feet long on both sides and 10 feet deep! In contrast, Romanée-Conti, one of the worlds best, most expensive, and age-worthy wines in the world makes less than 700 cases.

So something that I've learned is that while it may be true that the vast majority of wine on the planet is not meant to be aged, much of that wine is not wine I'd want to drink any time...young or old! However, if you focus in on the best producers from the best appellations around the globe, as I hope this newsletter helps you to do, then you'll find many wines that do in fact benefit from age and can in some cases even get better and better as they age. So for the rest of this article, I'm going to be focusing on just that, great wines from notable terroir which you should drink and enjoy.

At this point I should point out that not all wines age in a predictable manner, there are always contradictions, surprises and disappointments. But isn't that part of the fun and mystery? Also, different wines age in different ways. There are many different aging profiles to how a great wine will behave over the years or decades of its life. When I started thinking about this I realized there are four general types of wines in terms of overall aging profiles. Many wines will consistently fit into one category or the other but there can be great variability from vintage to vintage, producer to producer and vineyard to vineyard, as each can impart specific characteristics which impact the wine's ability to age. Also, please recognize that these are generalizations, while one producer's wines from a particular region may fit into one category, another's may behave differently.

So here they are, what I consider to be the four general types of wines in terms of their ability to age. It is not an indication of how long they can age in absolute terms, but rather what their expected behavior over time in the cellar, and at table, will be:

Type I - Drink 'em young!: These are wines that aren't meant to age. They taste good young and don't generally get any better with age. While they may hold a number of years, they tend to slowly loose freshness and vibrancy as they go. This doesn't mean they can't be excellent wines. For any of these categories there are many examples one could give so I'm not going to try to explain them all. But as an example, most California Zinfandels fit into this category (yes, there are some exceptions). Also, for example, you could say the same thing about many French Loire Sauvignon Blancs or Muscadet, or most Beaujolais. In fact, you can say it about many wines from most regions in the world. The wines taste good young and there is no reason to wait. The longer you hold them, the more disappointed you'll be that their youthful freshness and vigor is gone.

Type II - Good young, but will last: Another group of wines are those that are forward and flattering when young, but have the structure and balance to age. Young, they are energetic, full of youthful energy and ripe fruit complexity. However, they may have good balance and structure which allows them to last a long time in a cool cellar. However, these types of wines don't necessarily get any better as they age. They may last years, even decades, but simple hold on for a while and then suffer a slow fade into oblivion. In other words, they have a bigger drinking window than the Type I's, but don't really benefit from the extra age in any appreciable way. Sometimes it can be hard to predict which wines will end up in this category. A wine may seem big and rich and full of promise when young, but never gains anything in bottle as it sits in your cellar. I've had a number of older wines that still taste big, primary and monolithic, much like they likely tasted when they were bottled. They haven't died, they just haven't improved or changed appreciably either.

Type III - Different, but not better: Arguably, most wines which can last in a cellar would fit into this category. These are wines that do change and evolve in bottle, but they don't necessarily show better than they started out, just different. The primary, ripe fruit of youth evolves into another type of perfume (often described as secondary or tertiary aromas and flavors), maybe taking on floral notes, earthy and vegetal notes like mushrooms, truffle, sous bois and the like, maybe showing animal, meaty components. All the while the primary exuberant fruit fades and gives way to a softer, mellow personality. Some people will like the wines better young for their youthful power and fruit, other will like them old for their new aromas and softer texture. However, if you try to be quantitative about it, it didn't get better or worse, just different. Many wines age this way. They change, showing new nuances and personalities, but they don't necessarily improve. Some would say that this is a good argument for not aging wines. That if they don't get better then why waste the time? I disagree. I find it fascinating to experience a wine and get to know it through all its stages, even if any one is not quantitatively better than the last. Each tasting is a new experience and fun to explore. Many wines age this way and they will be the source of endless controversy. Is the young fruit or the old aromas of decay more beautiful and intriguing? For me, I can't choose, I'll take them all! Thats why its nice to have a cellar with several bottles of any given wine...to enjoy the wine through its life at several time points, reveling in the unique character of each.

Type IV - Lock 'em away and throw away the key!: Some wines go through a stage where they don't show much, they seem to be hiding something even though it is lurking in the depths somewhere and the wines clearly have all the stuffing to make them great someday. People describe this stage in different ways, calling them "dumb", or closed, or backward, or simply too young. These wines seem wound up and tight, recoiling into themselves and hesitant to show their charms. In quantitative terms, these wines may seem excellent...good balance, good depth and length, yet they somehow just aren't that appealing to drink at that stage. They can be hard to understand and some tasters will think they are simply not that good. Some wines start out in this stage early in their life, but many go into this slumber some years after bottling. These wines sometimes show quite well immediately after release, showing their "baby fat" ripe fruit for months or even a few years. But then they shut down, closing up business for many years until eventually they slowly emerge from their chrysalis, fanning out their peacock tail and showing all the splendor they had been hiding, newly garnished with complexity and finesse that only age can bring. These types of wines can be the biggest mystery of all. At some times completely disappointing you and at other times giving you a near religious experience. How many of us have been frustrated by opening an expensive bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy from a fine pedigree only to be disappointed that all it shows is tannin and/or acid and feels tight, hard and unforgiving? Yet that same wine 5 years later may blossom, filling out and coming into balance, feeling plush, fine, complex and beautiful. Again, these wines are often frustrating because their evolution and their "dumb" phases may be unpredictable. But when you catch them at just the right time, they can be an epiphany.

Okay, so I've told you about the general types of wines. But how do you know? How do you predict which wines will age well and how they will age? Well for starters, if you plan to collect wine, be prepared for disappointments. Some wines will age beautifully and reward you, others will be a disappointment.

Next, remember that many things can hint at a wine's ability to age, chief among them being terroir, producer, vintage and the tasting character of the individual wine in question. To start with, the region where the grapes come from is very important in considering ageability. Many terroirs are known for producing wines which will last a long time or improve with age, while some will not. Generally (a big generalization), wines from the best terroirs will age longer and better than those from "lesser" regions. For example, a Burgundy Grand Cru will almost always age better and longer than a lowly Bourgogne. It may take some time to learn, but if you want to stock a cellar, search out appellations which are known to traditionally produce long-lived wines. Loire Chenin Blanc from Vouvray and Savennières, Riesling from Germany, top Bordeaux and Burgundy and many others are known to age well. On the other hand, most Beaujolais are considered to be best young. While the very best Cru Beaujolais can certainly age, most are meant to be drunk young and don't hold up as well as some of the wines listed above. Again, take all this with a grain of salt, they are generalizations. As soon as I type these words someone will pull out an old, beautiful Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly to prove me wrong!

Beyond wine producing region, each producer's style may impact how a wine can age. Even from the same terroir, the choices a producer makes regarding their vineyard practices, the way they raise the wine and how they age it in barrel prior to bottling, all impact the character of the wine and how it will age after bottling. Some styles may emphasize the ripe, sweet fruit of youth, without much balance or structure for the future, while others may shoot for a more traditional wine which is more austere in its youth and needs years to unfurl.

Vintage can be very important as well. Some vintages produce wines with enough depth and balance of fine fruit, tannins, alcohol and acid to age gracefully. Others may have some flaw which could impede its long term growth. For example, a vintage which produces high alcohol, ripe wines but with lower acid and tannin may be flattering in their youth, but will not age well.

Finally, we have to discuss the wine itself. Can you taste a wine in its youth and tell if it will age well and for how long? I would argue that its a dicey proposition! If you take all the things I've already discussed into consideration, the terroir and its character and history of ageability, the producer, the vintage, and then superimpose on that your tasting impressions, then yes, with a little experience you can make a reasonably informed guess as to the likely aging potential of a given wine. In fact, thats exactly what I do when deciding to age a wine in my cellar and giving a drinking range in my tasting notes below. I don't base them simply on what I taste in the glass. Why? Because sometimes taste can be misleading! In general, wines that age well have several things in common. They generally have good structure, which can include the tannin and/or acid in a wine as well as aspects of its flavor such as its minerality which tends to add to the wine's "spine". But there are very tannic wines that will not age well. Even more important than the absolute amount of structure is the balance. If a young wine is completely out of balance, it will not likely ever evolve into something intriguing. Whereas a wine with perfect balance of all its components is nearly indestructible. Notice I didn't say that the wine's body or color have anything to do with it! Many people think that only big, powerful, dark red wines can age a long time. Not so! If that were true then why are so many old German Rieslings so glorious? Why is Savennières and white Burgundy, often seeming lean and tight when young, so long lived? In fact many of my favorite wines to age are white! Much more important are the specific type of wine, where it was grown and its balance. A great, balanced wine from grapes and a vineyard that are known to produce long-lived wines will almost always produce a wine that ages beautifully, whether its red or white, light or full in body.

So how do you build a cellar of wines that will change and/or improve with age without breaking the bank? Sure, anyone with a lot of money can buy the most famous Bordeaux and Burgundy that are known to age forever. But, as is the point of this whole newsletter, there are many great wines from truly great terroirs that have a track records for aging, that "fly under the radar" and thus are very affordable. Yes, many of the inexpensive wines on the market are meant to be drunk young, but those from select regions, grapes and producers can be just as age-worthy as any. In this issue alone there are a number of wines that could age nicely for many years to come. Check out past issues and you'll see that there are dozens of wines which will last and/or improve for decades even.

To age or not to age? I guess that is something each wine lover has to decide for themselves. Do some wines last, change and even improve with age? Absolutely. But there are so many factors that go into the equation, as you can tell from my rambling prose above. Don't expect every wine you lay down to be a miracle in 10 years. But if you do your homework and age wines that have a good track record for cellar potential, and you are open minded to enjoying a wine through all of its life stages, then a wine cellar can be an endless source of fun and education throughout your life.


The Poor Man's Guide's
Wine Reviews

Wine Ratings Explained:
Zero Stars A wine I don't particularly recommend.

One Star
Well made, simple and tasty wines that I recommend.

Two Stars
Excellent quality. Worth an extra effort to search out and enjoy.

Three Stars
Outstanding wine of the highest caliber.
Either a wine that is close to deserving a higher score or a wine that may not be showing that much but with the potential to move up in quality with further aging. A young wine that may be closed up or shows potential for significant improvement. Assuming it opens and improves with additional age, it may merit a higher rating.
??? Flawed bottles or wines that are difficult to assess for any number of reasons. Judgement reserved.

Sparkling Wines:

C et P Breton
Vouvray Pétillant
"La Dilettante"
Drink Now-2013 $17
The Bretons are known most for their Cabernet Franc-based wines from Bourgeuil and Chinon. Which is funny because "Breton" is one of the local names for the Cabernet Franc grape in the Loire Valley! Their reds, also imported by Kermit Lynch, are also lovely and worth a search. This is a sparkling white, made from the Chenin Blanc grape from the village of Vouvray down the river a bit. Sparkling Vouvray can vary quite a bit, some being kinda simple and sweet without much interest. However, the best can be lovely sparklers with racy acidity and vibrant fruit. This is one of the later!

Fresh and mouthwatering tangerine and grapefruit open your eyes. Your mouth is not disappointed with delightful, fun and lively fruit that simply mouthwatering and delicious. This is great fun and quite low in residual sugar so this could do quite well either as an apéritif or with a variety of foods. Great value sparkler! One Star Plus. Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.

Pierre Gimonnet
Fleuron 2002
Brut Blanc de Blancs
Drink 2012-2032 $59
Gimonnet is a small grower, producer in Champagne who resides firmly in Chardonnay territory, making mostly Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay). They are very pretty wines with a relatively low dosage. Made from vines in Cramant, Chouilly and Cuis, the Fleuron is one of his top wines. Of note, 2002 is an outstanding, but young, vintage in Champagne. The best wines, including this one, will only get better for many years and some are quite tight right now.

Pretty chalk, butter, dough and limoncello grace the nose and lead to a creamy textured wine with a lemon-butter acidity all underlined by a sophisticated chalky minerality. Complex and intense in flavor yet fine and aristocratic. Everything is in the right place here. This is just lovely but feels pretty tight and wound up at this point. I'd hide this in the cellar for at least a few more years before drinking it over the next couple decades. Bravo! Two Stars Plus. A Terry Theise Estate Selection. Importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY.

Pierre Gimonnet
Special Club 1999
Drink Now-2019 $65
There is a group of small producers in Champagne called the Club Trésors de Champagne. There are 26 members and each can submit special Champagnes to the club for judging. Those that pass the test are bottled in the unique bottle and called the "Special Club". There is much debate as to whether the Special Club Champagnes are worth the bit of a mark-up in price they usually come with. I think it varies but in this case, this Gimonnet is not as compelling a wine as the previous wine, the Fleuron. Maybe it is partially the vintage difference too.

Pretty and flirtatious, lemon-butter, cream and flowers. Silky and goes down really easily. Enough complexity of creamy and silky flowers to keep it interesting. Somehow just doesn't have the extra "umph" to make it really memorable though. This is a good Champagne, but not a great one. For my money I prefer the Fleuron above. One Star Plus. A Terry Theise Estate Selection. Importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY.

Tintero Moscato d'Asti
Sori' Gramella 2007
Drink Now-2010 $10
Good Moscato d'Asti is so much fun. Few wines are most scrumptious yet unassuming and easy. There is no better way to just have fun than with a cool glass of Moscato. While all cheap, there are tons that are watered down, overly sweet and just awful. This is one of the very good ones and worth every penny and more.

Enticing honey and rose petal aromas. Fun and refreshing flavors of sweet honey, rose and mint. Delicious and simply fun. Great alone just to celebrate life but it also shines with spicy food. At this price this is a definite winner. One Star Plus. Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.

White Wines:

Bret Brothers
Pouilly-Fuissé 2006
Cuvée Terres de Fuissé
Drink 2011-2020 $36
The Mâconnais region in southern Burgundy is a great source for inexpensive whites made from Chardonnay. While the famous white Burgundies from the Côte d'Or up north can go for hundreds of dollars a bottle, even the best from the Mâcon are generally under $50. The Bret Brothers made several excellent wines in 2006. Another was reviewed in Issue 13.

This wine is a bit more serious and young. Ripe, but chalk and granite-infused, fruits are shimmering and pristine, yet quite young and primary. Lush yet solid. Fine, powdered chalk runs the length of it, giving this wine a lovely caressing texture. Poised and elegant, yet very young and holding a lot in reserve. With air, this puffed up its feathers to show more fruit but also more of that core of stony minerality. This definitely seems to need more time than the Viré-Clessé Climat "La Verchère" which I reviewed in the last issue. I'd leave this in the cellar a few years or more and then enjoy over the subsequent decade. If you are going to drink it now, I'd recommend decanting it or at least opening it early to give it time to unfold and show its stuff. Two Stars. Becky Wasserman Selection. Importer: Cellar Door Imports, Woodland Hills, CA.

d'Epiré Savennières
Cuvée Spéciale 2006
? Drink 2011-2020 $20
Savennières is definitely one of the hidden gems of the white wine world. d'Epiré is an excellent traditional producer. The Cuvée Spéciale is a blend of their best plots and old vines.

Spiced apple sauce was all I could coax out of the nose initially. This seemed quite shy and wound up just showing hints of fruit and a dusting of chalky minerals. Tart apple, pear and even some crisp honeydew melon. This is quite linear and wound up. It seems to have stuffing there but is just not showing any of it right now, rather showing very young and primary. I had a hard time evaluating this because it is so shut down. I left about half the bottle till the next night and it was better, a bit more open and integrated but still tight. This definitely needs a few years and if it fleshes out and gains in complexity with that time in bottle, my score may be quite conservative. However, I have questions that this will ever be a truly profound Savennières. That being said, I hold Savennières to a high standard, and for this price it is a nice wine by any standard. One Star Plus (with a question for the future). Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.

Vinos & Bodegas Gallegas
Drink Now-2011 $7
I couldn't find too much info about this white from Spain. I don't know the grape variety make up unfortunately. However, you don't need to know much to appreciate this fresh and lively inexpensive wine. Simple fresh Sauvignon Blanc-like fruits and hints of hay on the nose lead to a shimmering wine, like a mouthful of sun! Fresh and grassy. Simple but thrilling and refreshing. This is an outstanding dry, bright white to drink as an apéritif or as an accompaniment to a first course of fish or light cheeses. Great inexpensive value. One Star. Importer: Vitis Imports, Inglewood, CA.

Château Ferrande
Graves 2006
Drink Now-2012 $20
Graves is one of the most famous regions in Bordeaux for white wines.

This one shows some of the classic aromas and flavors of Sauvignon Blanc, including lemon, hay, grass and gooseberry. Even a hint of flintiness. However, this isn't terribly deep or complex. Just a pleasant, simple, fresh and lightly fruity white. One Star. Importer: Nicolas, Westport, CT.

von Schubert
Maximin Grünhauser
Herrenberg Kabinett 2006
Drink Now-2016 $17
It is no secret that I love von Schubert's wines from Maximin Grunhaus. This classic, traditional estate in Germany makes some of the most transparent and classic expressions of Riesling. Their 06's are great across the board.

This Kabinett from the Herrenberg vineyard is lovely. Mango, lemon, lemon seeds and just a hint of smokey slate on the nose. Then put it in your mouth...its like the best lemonade you've ever had! Sweet lemon, orange and orange blossom perfume given life and clarity with fresh lemon/lime acidity and a tingle of white minerals. Very nice, classic Kabinett which is not heavy or overly ripe as many of today's Kabinetts can be. Two Stars.

Red Wines:

Baudry Chinon
Le Clos Guillot 2006
? Drink 2012-2019 $22
Baudry is currently one of the Loire Valley's best producers of red wines. His Chinons, made mostly from Cabernet Franc, are outstanding. It is quite an education in Chinon to taste through his lineup of various vineyards, each showcasing different characteristics. The transparency and expression of terroir is remarkable. I should note that last vintage, the 2005's, were absolutely stunning in Chinon. I reviewed the stunning 2005 Le Clos Guillot in Issue 6.

2006 does not seem to as quite a complete vintage as 2005 in Chinon. However, the wines are excellent, if not as outstanding as the 05s. The first thing I'll note about this 06 is that there is a bit more of the vegetal character that can sometimes characterize Cabernet Franc. That being said, the nose is lovely with pretty, shifting aromas of powdered sugar dusted berries, leg of lamb and Indian spices. Quite fine and contemplative. Initially, this was a bit hard to evaluate as it showed primarily green olive, bay and earth notes in the mouth. Definitely more streamlined and less ripe than the 2005. However, as it sat in the glass subtle, tart red fruits expanded to grace the herb and spice notes with more buffering depth. Even seemed to get riper and richer with air. I'm gonna bet this is going to get better with more time in bottle. It is pretty fresh off the boat and I think this just needs time to flesh out. For now, my score is conservative but in a few years I wouldn't be surprised if this warrants two or more stars. Will never be as great as the nearly perfect 05, but this will be excellent and is an outstanding value for age-worthy red wine. One Star Plus (but will likely improve). Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007
Drink Now-2012 $10
Ripe jammy black fruits with just enough meat and earth to make it serious and interesting. A pleasant dusting of ripe tannins and a hint of tangy acidity tie it together. This is an excellent simple table wine to enjoy with pizza, pasta or meat dishes. And better yet it is really inexpensive. One Star. Importer: Vitis Imports, Inglewood, CA.

Clos la Coutale
Cahors 2006
Drink Now-2016 $16
Cahors was once one of the most famous appellations in France, producing deeply colored, rich black wines primarily from Malbec, which is generally just a minor blending grape in nearby Bordeaux. For whatever reason they have fallen out of favor somewhat but the best producers still make excellent wines. The up side is that they are cheap is dirt! Clos la Coutale is one of the most widely imported in the US and one of the most highly regarded. It is made in this vintage from a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot.

Dark black color. Hesitant blackberry liqueur and spice on the nose. As expected, this has dark, meaty black fruit with a bit of Merlot for roundness. However, this is currently quite simple and monolithic. Deep earthiness and tannin dust on the finish gives it focus and depth to the ripe blackberry jam fruit. But again, while rich, this lacks interest. Would make a good foil for some rich, meaty food. For the price, this is still a good buy if you need something dark and rich for your table, but I've had better vintages of Clos la Coutale. One Star. Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.

J. Puffeney Arbois
Poulsard 2005
Drink Now-2024 $24
Puffeney is one of the old guard in France's Jura. Known most famously for his outstanding whites, in particular his passionate Vin Jaune (reviewed in Issue 12), he also makes beautiful, natural reds made from Pinot Noir, Poulsard and Trousseau. This one is his Poulsard, a grape grown widely in the Jura.

The color here is striking, light, ruby red, translucent and shimmering. The nose of this wine is intriguing. Initially I get spiced cherry Jolly Rancher fruit with herbs and warming Chambord liqueur. But then it almost seems like a paradox. On the one hand happy, easy sweet red fruits and spice. But then there is also a suggestion of something darker, sinister even, lurking in the depths. There is a similar impression on the palate but with more structure and tannin than you might expect from the light color. A dusty, chewy rustic tannin yet finely overlayed with bright, clear cherry and cranberry fruit with quite high acidity. Vibrant and full of personality, but subtle and primary in flavor. This is quite tightly wound. This is not a wine for everybody. If you crave big, chewy, sweet fruit "fruit bombs" stay far, far away! If you love cool climate wines with personality, transparency and a natural vibrancy to them this is fascinating wine. You could enjoy this now with food but I'd be inclined to hold this for 5 years or so to settle down and unwind a bit and then enjoy it over the subsequent decade. Two Stars. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York, NY.

Solar de Estraunza
Rioja Gran Reserva 1999
Drink Now-2024 $37
In Spain's Rioja, to be called a Gran Reserva a wine must have been aged in the producers cellar at least 5 years, two or more in barrel and the rest in bottle. Generally the idea is only to use this extended aging treatment to the best wines from the best vintages, although this is not regulated in any way. I love great Rioja but had never had this producer's wines and was very pleasantly surprised.

If you don't give this wine some time, you are going to miss what it really has to say. I say that because when I first popped and poured this wine it was pretty but it showed primarily oak influences, too much for my taste actually. Toasty and perfumed herbs and spice tending toward the American oak spectrum with a hint of dill. But also some pretty rose, spice and fragrant fruit blossoms too. The mouthfeel was a tad chunky and tannic although quite richly flavored too. This initial impression didn't last long though. When I came back to this wine after being open a couple hours a miraculous evolution had occured! The aromas mellowed, the oak integrated, disappeared really and just showed more and more floral, earthy and spicy Tempranillo fruit. The flavors woke up and matured too, becoming velvety but with palate staining intensity of vibrant, rich, ripe fruit. This is quite powerful, deep and long. If you drink this now, enjoy it slowly or decant it to give it some time to wake up and integrate. Otherwise, hold on to a few bottles for a few years. Very nice Two Stars. Importer: Vitis Imports, Inglewood, CA.

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