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2005 Villa Creek Cellars Willow Creek Cuvee**
VillaCreek_wc_cuvee.gif Region Price Tasted Drank
Paso Robles, CA $35 Mission Wines 4/12/08
Blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre
A deep-ruby colored wine with a generous nose filled with bright red fruits, sweet spices and a hint of minerality. The palate is full-bodied and generous with soft tannins, ripe berries, cherries, more spice and a slightly alcoholic medium-length finish. The grenache is definitely the main player here. If you like them big and juicy then you'll enjoy this wine, but it's a bit too unbalanced to be worth the price.

2004 Cass Vineyards Rockin One***
label_04Rockin.gif Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $34 @ the Winery 1/26/08
Bright ruby colored wine with medium body and bright red fruit aromas layered with a touch of spice. Mostly Grenache with a smidge of Syrah for depth and structure. A little alcoholic off the top, but within 10 minutes was smooth and supple with ripe, earthy fruit flavors and a lingering finish of vanilla and spice. Could use another 6 months in the bottle, but very drinkable now.

2004 Edward Sellers Vineyards Cuvée des Cinqs***
ed04Cinqs.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $36 @ the Winery 11/9/10
Blend of 27% Grenache, 27% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 13% Counnoise and 8% Cinsault – A medium garnet-colored wine with an aromatic, almost floral nose filled with red fruit, spice and earth along with notes of meat and mushroom. The palate was medium-bodied and well-balanced with medium acidity and a lush, lingering finish. The flavors mirrored the nose with raspberry, cherry and plum fruit balanced by the savory mushroom and meat as well as notes of cedar and vanilla on the finish. Popped and poured, got a bit worried when the wine took on a vegetal aspect after about 20 miinutes, but that blew off quickly thankfully. From there it came together delivering a lush, well-integrated wine that's complex and intense for being 6-years-old with a 15.6% abv. Was worried the alcohol would be starting to poke through, but this drinks like a much younger wine. Hated to share. Drink or hold.

2004 Mas Carlot Les Enfants Terrible*
mascarlotcdr.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Costières de Nimes, France $12 Woodland Hills Wine 11/19/08
Blend of 50% Mourvedre and 50% Syrah
This medium-bodied, ruby-colored wine had a promising nose filled with complex aromas of red fruit (redcurrant & cherry), earth, leather and oak, that never quite came together on the palate, which was a bit bitter and disjointed without much of a finish. While better with food, it just never smoothed out enough to be enjoyable. The initial fruit dissipated over the course of the evening with the more savory elements dominating the palate. If you like restrained, earthy wines, you'd probably enjoy this more than I did. It wasn't undrinkable, just not what I expected for the price or from those varietals.

2003 Beckmen Vineyards Purisma Red Wine***
Beckmen_LeBec.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $45 @ the Winery 11/11/09
A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah
Made from low yield grapes all from the Purisma Mountain vineyard, this is a deep, ruby-colored wine with a well-developed nose of black fruit, black cherry, earth, sweet spice and a hint of leather. When initially opened I though the wine might have been turned, but after aerating and a bit of time the stewed notes blew off and the wine came to life with the Syrah characteristics dominating. Round and silky the wine is well-balanced with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, minerals, leather, mocha and notes of vanilla on the lengthy finish. Since this is the first time I'm drinking this wine, I have no idea how much of the Grenache prevailed when it was younger. As it stands now, I would never have guessed this had any grenache at all, except for the subtle note of heat on the finish. A powerful, deeply flavored wine that could still use some more time. (14.8% abv/150 cases made/Unfined & unfiltered)

2003 Cass Vineyards Rockin One***
label_04Rockin.gif Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $36 @ the Winery 12/27/08
Blend of 43% Syrah/40% Mourvedre/17% Grenache.
This wine appeared to by unfiltered with a ruby garnet color and medium body, the nose was filled with red fruit, spice, earth and herbs with an intial punch of eucalyptus that blew off after a few minutes. The palate was well-balanced and smooth with cherry, blackberry, earth, sweet spice and a hint of mint on the decent finish. It's starting to show it's age and was better with food, which brought focus to the fruit, but was still quite enjoyable on its own. Not as refined as the winery's current efforts, but a well-crafted wine for the price.

2002 Linne Calodo Cellars "Rising Tides"***
linnerising.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $48 Gift 3/7/08
Dense, opaque deep purple, this blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre has a nose layered with smoke, leather and black fruit that's far more subtle than one would expect once you taste it. The palate packs a punch of ripe blackberry and black cherry, licorice, fig and spice that finishes long with notes of sweet oak. Thick and chewy, this is a wine that will coat your teeth, but has the structure to back it up. The tannins are practically non-existent, leaving a smooth, luscious blend of flavors. This is drinking great right now. I wouldn't wait much longer if I still had a bottle.

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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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