My first place wine, the group’s first place wine
Sweet and dusty on the nose, this shows aromas of tight red fruits flecked with mineral and allspice notes. On entry the texture is quite silky with black cherry fruit that is threaded with a contrasting medicinal edge. There is lovely purity and aromatic fruit, violet and sweet spice notes that are wrapped up in a restrained, slightly chewy package. The finish is long and pure, exhibiting excellent tension and focus in the mouth and right through the end. A bit reticent today but really very fine. 94pts
My second place wine, the group’s third place wine
This is very aromatic with a little hint of lift coming from some VA. A bit of an old school nose here with violets, olives, and a bit of teriyaki all layered over dark strawberry fruit.  Smooth and polished in the mouth, showing a level of refinement that is surprising. This delivers masses of seamless slightly dark and liquory fruit supported by fine-grained tannins that extend across the long, slightly sweet finish. Very youthful. 93pts
My third place wine, the group’s seventh place wine
Smoky and a little sweet on the nose with aromas of sweet slightly stewy cherries framed by touches of chalk, old wood, beef and a little chinato spice. A little chewy on entry, this exhibits light raspberry syrup and cherry fruit with great clarity. The tannins are fresh and youthful and while they cut the finish a tad short, the fruit rings like a bell in the mouth. Classic Châteauneuf weight and balance. 91pts
My fourth place wine, the group’s fourth place wine
This had the most complex nose of the night, filled with spicy sweet/tart red fruit, fines herbs, a little beef jerky, and dustings of coffee and black pepper with a developing olive note. Smooth in the mouth, this seemed a little soft next to its peers, with a palate that showed fine dark berry fruit framed by flavors of olives and herbs that recalled the nose but lacked a bit of focus and definition. Perhaps with a hint of brett as well, as there seems to be a touch of band aid here. The finish shows fine length and finesse, leading me to believe that time will be kind here, giving at least the impression of age-worthiness. 89pts
My fifth place wine, the group's eighth place wine
This shows big olive, beef jerky beef jus and hoisin aromas on the nose over a base of jammy blackberry and sweet cherry fruit, accented with a hint of vanilla.  Matte and extracted on entry, there’s a lot of dark fruit and black pepper here in a muscular, focused style. This seems a touch closed today, though there is plenty of black fruit and medicinal notes to keep things interesting right through a powerful, clean finish that shows a hint of cinnamon. 88pts
My sixth place wine, the group’s sixth place wine
Tight and dark on the nose, with hints of old wood and cloves along with a dry earthiness, all lurking under blackberry fruit topped with hints of pepper and menthol. Smooth and a bit matte in the mouth, with some dry tannins embedded in a core of plummy fruit that’s framed with hints of meat, coffee and sweet spices. The mouthfeel is a bit foursquare here, with nice black cherry fruit on the finish. 88pts
My seventh place wine, the group’s fifth place wine
Gamy and leathery on the nose with nice aromas of dried herb, tea, medicinal flowers and dark fruit. Fresh and transparent in the mouth, this is very Grenache-driven with fresh red fruit and nutty herbal accents. While a bit simple this is quite enjoyable with all that wild strawberry fruit supported by stemmy tannins; lingering on the long finish. 87pts
My eighth place wine, the group’s second place wine
The nose here is fine and focused if entirely dominated by the aromas of crushed blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry fruit. On the palate this is low, broad and extracted with dark fruit and powerfully woody tannins that saturate the palate and cut the finish short. This wine lacks balance and is dominated by unpleasant tannins and extracted fruit. 83pts