I suppose "lovely" and Cairanne may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but not so in this case. I had originally planned to hang onto this one a little while longer, but a note Tim York posted in January suggested that it might be in danger of decline, and having tasted it, I agree that it probably hasn't got much of its prime left, but I think I liked it a bit more than Tim did.
Domaine de L'Oratoire St. Martin, Haut-Coustias, Cairanne - Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages 2003
Medium garnet. Initially, showing blackberry, blueberry, currant, sage, citrus rind, and tarry earth; pleasant, but monolithic and a little hot. As it opens however, a remarkable transformation occurs: hints of cherry, damson, and flowers emerge, with chocolate, smoke, and a hint of baryardish earth toward the finish, all with a wonderful, gamey tone. Medium-full in body with lovely aromatics; this has achieved a wonderful, Burgundian maturity. Fully mature now, and probably won't hold at this level much longer. 3.5 Stars [7/23/13]
Also, here's quite a nice NZ Chard. I don't have a lot of experience with NZ Chard, but based on this one, I need to seek out more from Hawkes Bay.
Esk Valley, Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay 2010
Stone fruits, pear / green apple, pineapple, lemongrass, a bit of cream, and a touch of mineral. Has the fresh, ripe fruit of a NZ Sauv Blanc, but with a fatter texture; if given to me blind, I might actually have guessed a white Bordeaux. Very nice. 2.5 Stars [7/19/13]
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)