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Origin: Pauillac (Medoc),Bordeaux, France

Composition: 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc

Appearance: deep red-black with a black core and burnt orange/sepia edges

Nose: toasted nutmeg, kirsch liqueur, rye toast, freshly oiled leather

Palate: dusty leather, cigar box, ripe but buried kirsch liqueur, and substantial iodine at pop-and-pour — fruit really comes to the fore after an hour in glass, leather softens to licorice-y tones

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied, silky, with sleek front-to-back acid and fine-grit tannins

I chose this wine from the cellar of the shop I used to manage (Wine Underground in Baltimore, MD) as a holiday bonus in 2010. This was stored in the natural temperature/humidity control of that cellar with its 14″ thick stone walls from 2002 until 2010 and followed into my wine fridge for the remaining three years.

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This is the cork. No prettier could be expected of this bottle at 11+ years. After bottling.

It’s easy to aggrandize and mythologize a Bordeaux, so I’mma do it:
Still showing a touch young, but, man, this beauty is opening up rapidly in my glass with the dense kirsch-y fruit unfolding over the once-dominant secondary oak characteristics noted above. Just gorgeous dried black cherry fruit now lying on a chaise of leathery spice. The acid is present from front palate to back, but plays like a flute line weaving through the French horn, viola, and cello of the fruit, spice and leather. The overall texture of this wine has softened and plumped nicely, too, into lush and warming — much like the syrupy kirsch liqueur that makes up the fruit palate. About an hour-and-half in and the fruit is dominant and sweet and baking spice has become the key secondary component.

This is pairing wonderfully with our locally-farmed New York Strip steak with garlic butter and parsley-ed potatoes. Iron and iodine. Cherry and red meat. Leather and garlic. Baking spice and butter. Marriages made in my mouth while I preside and abide.

I will likely nurse this for a few hours before moving on to my New Year’s bubbly and may have updates to follow.

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2014 bring you and yours health and joy.