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Robin Garr

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March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Robin Garr » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:00 pm

Back to the New World this month after a string of Euro-style favorites! Let's place under the microscope the whole broad range of New World Rhone-style wines, a.k.a. "Rhone Rangers," that broad and popular realm of wines inspired by the Northern and Southern Rhone regions in France. Syrah or Shiraz, the delightful blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre ("GSM") and other regional varieties including Carignan and others less familiar, essentially any of the 13 (or is it 19 now) permissible grapes in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend. Remember, too, that this also opens up to pinks and whites including Viognier, Grenache Blanc and other Rhone whites, alone or in blends.

We don't want to leave our European friends out in the cold, so you folks please feel free to join in, ideally using Rhone-style wines that aren't from the Rhone, although we won't kick you out even if you happen to go back to the Motherland. The rules are flexible. :)
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:08 pm

Great idea for March, especially as I have some whites ready to go! I like the idea of comparing notes from the motherland, that way Tim and others can chip in in the usual enlightening manner.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:41 am

WTN: 2008 d`Arenberg The Hermit Crab, McLaren Vale S Aust.

One of my fave white wines from great winery! $23 Cdn, SC, 28% Marsanne and 72% Viognier.
Poured by the glass at Tzin downtown and always a nice drop with assorted pot stickers.

Lite yellow in colour, nose is white stone fruit, floral, peach, melon. Very new world eh.
Fair acidity, ripe pear, some RS. Melon here too, orange zest, lime and pineapple. Easy to drink and quite unlike the drier rhone-styles that will be upcoming here this month!!
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by ChaimShraga » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:07 am

This is from a few months back. I'll see if I manage to open another bottle this month.

Recanati, Reserve, Syrah/Viognier, 2009

A properly peppery Syrah, with sun-drenched ripeness typical of Israel, yet with great vibrancy and focus, as well as, dare I say, savory tannins. Well, it could use more acidity, but what the hell, this is Israel, it's time I started accepting that. Even so, although I do like it a lot, a whole bottle is still a lot more fatiguing than a Crozes or a Loire red (which were the bottles it had contended with tonight as a possible roast beef match). On the other hand, I don't have to drink them all alone.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Salil » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:24 am

1998 Greenock Creek Shiraz Seven Acre
A mess of TCA and volatile acidity. Undrinkable. Damnit, I was looking forward to this (one of the last few unspoofed Greenocks - at a whopping 12.6% alcohol.)
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[WTN] Liberty School 2008 Central Coast "Cuvée"

by Robin Garr » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:56 pm

From today's 30 Second Wine Advisor:

Liberty School 2008 Central Coast "Cuvée" ($14.99)

Syrah dominates this Rhône-style blend, with smaller amounts of Grenache, Petite Sirah and Viognier, with a splash of not-so-Rhônish Cabernet Sauvignon. It's dark reddish-purple almost all the way to a clear garnet edge. Plums and red berries and a whiff of brown spices come forward on the nose; bright and tart red fruit on the palate with a hint of oak. It's hearty and acidic, alcohol level reasonable at 13.5 percent, with a distinct edge of tannic astringency to provide structure. (March 1, 2012)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with spaghetti with tomato sauce frozen from last summer's garden, best with a good grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to bring it up to the robust red wine.

VALUE: Wine-Searcher.com shows U.S. Prices ranging from $10 to $19</a>; my local price falls in the middle and seems fair enough, although I'd shop around, and send a message to the higher-priced shops by spending elsewhere.

WHEN TO DRINK: The 2009 vintage is in the market now, but I'd have no worries about buying the 2008. Its blend and its good balance of fruit, acidity and tannins should ensure reasonable ageworthiness for at least a few years under good cellar conditions.

WEB LINK: Click here for a winery fact sheet about the Liberty School "Cuvée,” along with a link to buy it direct from the winery for $14.
http://www.hopefamilywines.com/wines/li ... product=56

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and locate vendors for Liberty School "Cuvée" on Wine-Searcher.com.
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Liber ... g_site=WLP
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Kelly Young » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:19 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:WTN: 2008 d`Arenberg The Hermit Crab, McLaren Vale S Aust.

One of my fave white wines from great winery! $23 Cdn, SC, 28% Marsanne and 72% Viognier.
Poured by the glass at Tzin downtown and always a nice drop with assorted pot stickers.

Lite yellow in colour, nose is white stone fruit, floral, peach, melon. Very new world eh.
Fair acidity, ripe pear, some RS. Melon here too, orange zest, lime and pineapple. Easy to drink and quite unlike the drier rhone-styles that will be upcoming here this month!!


The Hermit Crab delivers. I know this thread, in theory, is supposed to be about how these particular Rhone originated/identified grapes represent the homeland, but I really like how this wine creates its own space in the world. I love this wine. Ok, maybe I won't throw myself down on a hand grenade for it, but I might take a bullet to the thumb.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Victorwine » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:38 am

ESJ Rocks and Gravel 2010 Dry Creek Valley Unti Vineyard (“SGM”- 40% Syrah; 39% Grenache; 21% Mourvédre) 13.1% ABV
Day 1 (2/25/12 upon opening) It was very fruit forward with lots of ripe red, black fruit with just a hint of cocoa, spice and earth. Light to medium in body, well balanced structurally, and good acidity, with very smooth and ripe tannins. Smooth easy drinking wine with a pleasant and lingering aftertaste.
Day 2 (2/26/12) The wine still had the notes of red, black berries but the cocoa became darker and spice and earth was a bit more pronounced. Tannins showed a little more “unph”. In density and texture the wine came across as medium to light in body. Again the wine was well balanced structurally with good acidity. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste.

Salute
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Tim York » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:01 am

This WF has motivated me to locate a Brussels wine merchant, who fills some of the wine repertoire gaps about which I have been complaining. Doing some Googling, I discovered this Oz and Kiwi specialist in the European business district and the enterprising English owner even came to open the shop for me when I called him on his mobile phone outside his normal opening hours :) . On the basis of the d’Arenberg below, his advice is good too and I hope that the other Shiraz and the Chard with which I came away will be just as pleasing.

d’Arenberg – McLaren Vale d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2006 – Alc.14.5% - (€13), made 50/50 from Grenache and Shiraz. The nose was well developed and attractive with notes of red fruit, lavender and a sprinkle of ginger. The palate was medium/full bodied with a smooth texture, attractive Grenache sweet red fruit and nicely perfumed aromatics enlivened by bright non-astringent acidity and backed up with some Shiraz heft and structure adding some dark chocolate tinged notes towards the finish. This is a very attractive and surprisingly elegant Rhône ranger which neatly avoids all the caricatural Oz Shiraz features like strong vanilla and coconut flavours and jammy fruit with ripe blackberry and mint components; hopefully these are falling out of fashion :wink: ; 16/20 QPR.

By contrast here is a Southern Rhône opened last week. The most obvious differences were more tangy fruit and spice with a tad less sophistication and less perfumed aromatics in the young Rhône. Both were excellent wines and good buys at their price points.
Côtes du Rhône Chèvrefeuilles 2010 – Domaine de Réméjeanne – Alc.14% - (c.€9), made from young vines of Grenache 40%, Syrah 20%, Mourevèdre 10% and old vines of Carignan 10%, Cinsault 10% and Marsellan 10% was a model modestly priced CDR. On the medium/full palate there was lovely pure tangy fruit impregnated with damson, some spice and mineral touches, lively acidity and nice grip on the finish; 15.5/20++++ QPR.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:34 pm

Well, that is a first Tim, you reporting on a d`Arenberg wine. Good to see you hooked so tell me how did you explain your windfall purchase to in-house PO?
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Tim York » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:59 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Well, that is a first Tim, you reporting on a d`Arenberg wine. Good to see you hooked so tell me how did you explain your windfall purchase to in-house PO?


Ah well :wink: . I have a window of opportunity. The kids and I are organising a party to celebrate a significant birthday (i.e. ending in a zero) for her. So naturally I have to try some wines to offer our mostly non-geek guests. And it's not inconceivable that my order may be quite generous in size 8) so as to be sure that there is enough for everyone to drink.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by David M. Bueker » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:03 pm

Cross post from last night's dinner:

1993 Edmunds St. John Syrah (California)
Two for two with corks that bust in half upon opening, but despite the bits of cork floating in the wine it was stupendous. Dark, meaty and leathery upon opening, with more varied meat elements emerging over time. It became rather bacon infused after several hours of air. Delicious.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:19 pm

2007 Three Wine Company Carignane Lucchesi Vineyard (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County)
Mint, dark cherries and black pepper dominate this wine. I'm actually shocked that it isn't riper/more over the top, but it's actually well balanced. There's a bit of palate sweetness, and it has a hint of back end tobacco.

Nice wine.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Mark Lipton » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:27 am

As mentioned in another thread:

2010 Te Mata Estate "Bullnose" Syrah (Hawke's Bay, NZ)
nose: initially, lactic with red berry fruit, turning more mineral and darker, finishing with a hint of spice
palate: medium body, firm acidity, later becoming more structured

Although the wine was painfully young and probably would benefit from 5-10 years in the cellar, it shows great promise. More in the vein of a well-made CA Syrah from a cool climate than anything French, it showed great class and restraint.

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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:10 am

Nice notes here of late, especially that Carignane.

WTN: 2009 Mullineux Family Wines Kloof Street, Swartland SA.

New winery that has Keith Protheroe as a big investor. This is their entry level red...73% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Cinsault, 4% Carignan, 2% Grenache. Good natural cork, $20 Cdn, 13.5% alc.
Opened and slight chilling. Lot 0211, http://www.mullineuxwines.com.

Color is a medium depth ruby with nice purple tinge on rim.
Nose has spice, floral, violets, thought a tad closed at first? Black fruits as it warms, "mulberry" from across the table.
Initial entry on palate is dry, soft tannins, good acidity, not "smoked". Blackberry, medium-bodied, not a ripe style. Some clever wine making here, reminds me Languedoc? Would like to try again in a year when I would hope to be able to be more precise. A region I am not familiar with, I do have their straw wine plus the Syrah and some Chenin Blanc. All eagerly anticipated, that is for sure.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by JC (NC) » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:43 pm

2009 Babcock Upper Crust Syrah, Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley, CA--northern Santa Barbara County). Notes say warmest vineyard in this very cool appellation,. Website uses boysenberry as a flavor descriptor. In a shipment as part of Babcock Terroir Club. 15.6% alcohol by volume. Deep, deep purple color with little transparency. I thought there was some raspberry on the nose and slight bacon scent as well. Flavor was of very ripe berries--boysenberry or raspberry, full-bodied, hot finish from the alcohol. Appealing in a fruit-bomb, overblown style. Not subtle or elegant but undeniably fruity and impactful. This is not a style I would drink regularly, but I enjoy the occasional foray into big, bold California red wines.

My next New World Rhone will probably be an Aussie Shiraz or blend.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:18 pm

GSM blend coming up from me too!! Schild Estate in fact.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Pinchas L » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:31 am

Its not often that I have something to contribute to this thread. This week I had a Roussanne the White House chef liked enough to serve at the luncheon following the meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 5th, and the dog that samples all food served there didn't reject.

Hagafen Cellars Lodi Roussanne 2010 - On the initial attack, fruit takes a back seat to the dominant bitter notes of green almonds and walnuts. Then on the long finish low acid citrus flavors, such as tangerines, and spiciness reminiscent of lychees rise to the fore. In between, notes of oriental tea and Asian pear grabbed my attention. The wine seemed to improve and open up as its temperature rose, nearing that of the room. In past vintages this wine benefited from some additional time in the bottle. 13.5% AbV and $18 at the winery.

-> Pinchas
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:03 am

Nice, seems to be a better buy than my Roussanne from d`Arenberg I have to post on.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Tim York » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:12 am

Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2007 – Shaw and Smith – Alc.14.5% - (€22). I seem to recall the seller telling me that there was Viognier in the blend but I can find no confirmation of that on the S&S website.
Even before my first sip, I heard Germaine saying “I don’t like this”. I would be less harsh but it still doesn’t convince me that South Australia is the right place for Shiraz/Syrah, even though my least favourite features of many, such as blowsy blueberry, strong mint, burning alcohol and burgeoning American oak, were mercifully absent. On the nose there were quite highly scented aromas of soft red fruit (some strawberry), spices and flowers but somehow they did not appeal in the same way as strong cheap perfume fails to appeal. The palate was medium bodied with decent sweetish fruit diminished by the highly scented aromas, smooth acidity, soft texture and a gentle finish rather short of tannic support. This may appeal to some but I found it lacking in grip, tension and structure which, for me, are essential for a good food wine. We didn’t finish the bottle; 14/20.

About a week ago, I had the following which, in spite of a "bad" vintage, is much closer to what I look for in Syrah.

Cornas 2002 – Domaine Clape – Alc. 13% - (€40 for 2008) - 100% Syrah
The only ways in which this Cornas displays its “bad” vintage are in its having already been fully accessible for some years and in its unusual elegance for a normally robust and often rustic appellation. There were lovely Northern Rhône aromas of polished cherry but less steely and rounder than further North and some grilled meat. Body was medium/full, length good, tannic structure, decent fruit round and well developed and perhaps darker than a year or so ago with minerals but less leather than often; there was no trace of the dilution or astringence which mar most 2002s; 16.5/20.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:18 am

Good to see you dabbling in land of Oz there Tim! I am half-way through a GMS from Schild, Barossa and finding it to be much the same as your cool-climate S and S!

BTW Tim, did you see the Languedoc thread over in the UK?
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Tim York » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:44 am

Here are three more TNs on New World Syrah experiences, two good and the other bad, dating from 2009 and 2010.

Some of the Montes Alpha range was on show this afternoon at Rob, so I was naturally interested in trying this Montes Alpha Syrah, 2006 I think. The salesman from Chile emphasised that this was Syrah, not Shiraz, and pointed to the small percentage of Viognier as support for a more French type aesthetic; this sounded promising though I had some doubts about the 12 months maturation in French barriques. Hopes were already dashed by the confected boiled sweet nose and disappointment was confirmed by its quite full body with some smooth fruit being spoiled by perfumed aromas and drying wood tannins leading to caramel notes on finish; only for confirmed quercophiles; 12.5/20. (Feb 2009)


Bilancia Syrah 2004 – Leheny Gibson, Hawkes Bay – Alc. 13.5%, with a touch of Viognier and closed by screwcap, is in the race to be the best Syrah derived wine which I have had from outside France (tough competition from Fontodi in Tuscany, some from Valais and Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier). Aromatics and fruit were from the same family as Northern Rhône, steely cherry and ivy, but was somewhat sweeter, thicker in texture, perhaps more generous. Body was quite full and tannic structure ripe. Still quite primary in flavour so I guess that there may still be improvement potential; 16.5/20. (July 2009)


Shiraz Hilltops 2007 – Clonakilla – Alc.14.5%. There was a surprising family resemblance between this and the foregoing Crozes, particularly in its fruit. It was, of course, fuller, more robust and more crude and simplistic due to its youth with smoother acidity and much more marked tannins and oak influence, albeit inoffensive. I can believe that there is development potential here though it will probably never have the refinement of its Shiraz/Viognier stable mate; 16/20 now. (Dec 2010)

P.S. I missed that Languedoc thread, Bob.
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Victorwine » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:57 pm

Maybe these qualify (maybe they don’t) but this past Saturday I had a great time at a Catalonia, Spain wine tasting. Thanks Tony and Denise, job well done! (The first red tasted was actually not from Catalonia but from DO Calatayud, in the province of Zaragoza, Spain).

White;
2010 Bogatell Garnacha Blanc (DO Terra Alta, Catalonia, Spain)
Clear/brilliant straw yellowish in appearance. Citrus fruit on the nose with grapefruit and lemon with hints of flowery notes. Crisp refreshing acidity, good structure, good balance, nicely made. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste. Very food friendly wine. (My score 15/20; group avg 14.8) $12.00 USD

Reds;
2010 Filon Garnacha (DO Calatayud, Zaraagoza, Spain. Producer Bodegas Terra Sigilata).
Clear/brilliant in appearance. Ripe red/black fruit on the nose with hints of licorice and some floral and herb notes. Light to medium in body, easy drinking red with smooth and ripe tannins. Nice structure and balance, pleasant and lingering aftertaste. (My score 14.5; group avg 15.3) $8.00 USD

2003 Marti Fabra Masia Carreras (DO Empordà, Catalonia, Spain) Primarily Garnacha and Carignan (50 to 80 year old vines) with a dollop of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
Clear/ brilliant in appearance, deep purple all the way to the rim. Nose was a little tight at first wit a slight funky VA notes that blew off with vigorous swirling giving way to (slightly baked sweet) red/black cherry fruit (like biting into mom’s freshly baked cherry pie) with hints of floral and graphite notes. Full to medium in body, well-structured, good balance well made. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste (My score 16/20; group avg 14.6) $40.00 USD

2003 Cellar Laurona Montsant (DO Montsant, Catalonia, Spain) 50% Garnacha; 25% Merlot; 15% Syrah; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Deep ruby color clear/brilliant. On the nose there was some candied red/black fruit with hints of floral notes/ mocha/vanilla/ oak spices and some earthiness. Good balance and structure nicely made. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste. Overall impression just good. (My score 14/20; group avg 14.7) $20.00 USD

2005 Mas de Can Blau (DO Montsant, Catalonia, Spain) 35% Mazuelo (aka. Carinena and Carignan) 35% Syrah and 30% Garnacha.
Clear/brilliant in appearance. Sweet ripe red/black fruit with hints of floral, spice with some earthy notes. Oak influence was well integrated. Full to medium in body. Nicely structured and balanced. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste. (My score 15/20, group avg 15.4) $50.00 USD

2009 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat (DOC Priorat, Catalonia, Spain) 60% Carinena (Carignan) 30% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon/ Syrah
Clear/brilliant in appearance. Upon the first sniff the nose was fairly tight again with some funky VA notes and the 14.5% ABV was showing. With some vigorous swirling I was able to coax some hints of red/black fruit some licorice but the nose seemed to be dominated by the oak influence (mainly sweet vanilla and wood smoke). Maybe the wine just needs more time to integrate; maybe it is still “too young”. Seemed medium to light in body and texture. The finish was pleasant but slightly warm and sweet. (My score 13/20; group avg 13.8) $24.00 USD

2004 Pasanau Priorat Finca La Planeta (DOC Priorat, Catalonia, Spain) 80% Cabernet Sauvignon 20% Old vine Garnacha.
Clear and brilliant in appearance. The nose was vibrant and perfumed and aromatic with red/black fruit with notes of leather, cigar box, tobacco, spices, mineral, and deep dark cocoa. Tannins were still firm but blended and complemented this wine nicely (definitely built for the “long haul”). Full-bodied wine with good acidity well structured and balanced, nicely made. Pleasant and lingering aftertaste. (My score 17/20; group avg 15.9) $40.00 USD WOTN!!!

Salute
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Re: March Wine Focus: New World Rhone Varieties

by Salil » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:58 pm

Tim York wrote:Bilancia Syrah 2004 – Leheny Gibson, Hawkes Bay – Alc. 13.5%, with a touch of Viognier and closed by screwcap, is in the race to be the best Syrah derived wine which I have had from outside France (tough competition from Fontodi in Tuscany, some from Valais and Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier). Aromatics and fruit were from the same family as Northern Rhône, steely cherry and ivy, but was somewhat sweeter, thicker in texture, perhaps more generous. Body was quite full and tannic structure ripe. Still quite primary in flavour so I guess that there may still be improvement potential; 16.5/20. (July 2009)

I like Bilancia a lot, but had to send an '07 Syrah down the sink a week or so ago - horribly reductive and undrinkable.
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