2009 Mountfair Vineyards Engagement 60% merlot/ 20% Cab Franc/ 20% Cab Sauv/ 10% Petite Verdot 12.5% $25

Since 2006, 2 years in oak, 'neutral' integrating new barrels. Dark earthy and soft on the nose with a little sour fruits and show leather, Lots of fruit up front, big acids, soft tannins, expansive on the palate, nice acid driven length, bright vibrant red fruits.  Nicely done, nice firmness on the backend. Succulent. 87pts

2008 Tarara Casanova 60 Merlot/  30 CS/ 10 CF 14% $50

18 months in new virginia oak, indiginous yeasts, 28 and 40 days

Grilled beef, a bit tight, total nut oak, Round and opulent in the mouth, with a very firm base of tannins. Acid is well integrated, the oak comes through on the palate as well, there's that nuttiness and a fine grilled meatiness that the palate that seems to come through on the palate. There's some nice sweet fruit on the front end with a bit of minty, coffee grounds on the mid-palate, nice elegnat finsih. Real polish and promise.  91pts

2006 Barboursville  Vineyards Octogon  Merlot/CF/CS 13.5% $40

Sweet chocolate shavings and coffee notes, leafy with an underlay of red fruit. Light entry, bright and elegant resolving well with a soft bed of tannins and good acidity supporting red fruit with a touch of creaminess on the mid-palte and nice red currant fruit on the finish. Good length a bit simple though and a bit too toasty, oak driven particualrly on the finsih. SS ferment/ SS malo, then into barrel for ageing. 89pts

2007 Ch Makhrani Saperavi 12.5% $19

A bit of VA, a little leather, some pencil lead, dried floral tones, soft entry, nice lift on the palate, this has plenty of fuzzy tannins, bright acid, certainly a touch rustic with good complexity on the palate that drives through on the finish. Some astringency on the finish lends a nice pomagranate seed tone to the fini, good length. There's a hint of chocolate and coffee bean oak over the fruit but it's well judged. Nice high acid wild cherry tone on the finish. 88pts

2009 Boxwood Winery Boxwood patch 60% Cab Sauv/ 36% Merlot/ 4% Petite Verdot 13.5% $25

Whole berry ferment

Bretty nose, leather and game, with caramel, a little vanilla, very smooth in the mouth, a bit too soft on the palate, the tannins are a touch coarse as well. Tough little bugger, could improve with time but the dark berry fruit tones don't seem to have the intensity to outgrow the structure. A bit metallic on the finsih. lacks some interest but has a certain appeal, though the brett and dry tannins makes this a challenging sale. 84pts

2009 Abourious Red Wine RRV 15%, $55

Old Luddite vineyard. 60 yo head trained organic vines.

Deep red and dark fruit a bit of oak on the nose but it's all about eathy dark fruit, Big rich fruit, really intense on entry packed with jammy blackberry fruit and intense muscular black chery tones, big hugely spicy finish. There's a nice bitter streak on the finale. 92pts

2009 Sivas Sonoma Old Vine Zin 14.9% $16

Nice spice on the nose with oak spice and a nice vanilla top note lending some sweetness here.  Lightly sweet on entry, soft integrated acids, quite supple, round and intense with good varietal character but a bit too much RS. Shortish finish. ok. 87pts

2009 Decibel Wines Hawkes Bay NZ Malbec 12.7% $18

A bit low on the nose, fine pencil lead note, bitof mulberry and currant fruit. Bright on entry with a very supple soft feel, nicely managed tannins, there's a fine candied mulberry, wild blackberry notes on the mid-plate, hint of mint top note, supple fine finish. Not hugely varietal but this has a realy nice mineral note on the backend that compliments the bright, rather fresh and certainly not sweet fruit. 90pts


2008 Rodney Strong Alexander's Crown 15.5%

Big black cherry fruited nose with hints of vanilla and black pepper even in a generally meaty, clear driect way. Big in the mouth with lots of sweet fruit, super supple tannins, a bit of a bite on the palate, pretty big follow through and this is unabashedly big but it's pretty well balanced with super balance. Almost elegant with simple but pure power. 91pts

2007 Ch Edmus St. Emilion

Tobacco, stemmy, layered complexity with all these earthy notes and just a touch of black fruit. Round and supple in the mouth with slightly drying tannins and some really nice earthy spice tones on the backend. Aniseed, dried tobacco leaf, nice core of black currant fruit. The tannins pop a bit on the finish with some cedary elements on the modest finish. This seems like it will benefit from some time in the bottle, relaxing and softeneing. Nice blend of clear fruit and erathy, herby spice. Nice aromatic finsih. 88pts

2009 Veritas Petit Verdot 13.7% $30

A bit inky, black fruit, minty touch of green anise seed,  Big on entry but velvetty with super dry flavors, the tannins are firm but totally covered by the dark fruit. Good acid lift as well. This is rich and powerful but so well balanced, it combines some of the sheer intensity of the fruit with more complex barrel notes that add just a hint of spice on the palate and lovely length. Spank my ass this is good! Inky dark, and muscular with layers of flavor. This shows the potential of Virginia wine! 91pts

2006 Bodegas Breton Lorinon Reserva 13% $19

High toned, very red fruit, nice nutty oak tones, all layered and pretty with gentle intensity. Soft and rich, classic Gran Reserva entry with a touch of acid up front then the soft cashmerey edge to the fruit. Nice intensity here with a touch of tar and hints of leather over sandy soil and a nice, brilliant red raspberry fruit. The finish is a touch short now, should lengthen. Nice mid-palate which shows good oak tones and nutty oak balancing the furit.  88pts