Crush

Crush – A Fine Wine Affair
Sunday, October 23, 2016, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A benefit for the Belfry Theatre
at the Inn at Laurel Point

Fine Wine Live Auction

The live auction features a great selection of fine wine generously donated from the private collections of individuals and local restaurants. The live auction is a remarkable one-hour theatrical experience itself! Roshan Vickery is our auctioneer extraordinaire, and renowned Vancouver sommelier Keith Nicholson returns as live auction host. Whether you are an experienced oenophile or simply a lover of good wine, you will find a wonderful range of spectacular wines.

Silent Auction

The Crush silent auction features wine gift baskets and packages, dining, travel, and other unique experiences in every price bracket.

Wine Tasting, Hors d’oeuvres and More

  • Enjoy fine wine tastings from more than twenty of BC’s best wineries.
  • Executive Chef Takashi Ito of the Inn at Laurel Point will dazzle your palate with exquisite cuisine to complement the fine wines generously poured by our vintner friends.
  • Accompanied by live musical entertainment.
  • Special room rates offered to Crush guests at the Inn at Laurel Point.  Call 1-800-663-7667 to book.

Vineyards at Tasting Tables

Bartier Bros.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery
Clos Du Soleil Winery
Corcelettes Estate Winery
de Vine Vineyards
Gold Hill Winery
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Howling Bluff Estate Winery
Kanazawa Wines
Kettle Valley Winery
La Frenz Winery
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Liquidity Winery
Marichel Vineyard & Winery
Moraine Winery
Nichol Vineyards
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Orofino Vineyards
Road 13 Winery
Sage Hills Estate Winery
Stag’s Hollow Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Tantalus Vineyards
Tightrope Winery
Unsworth Vineyards
Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery
Volcanic Hills Estate Winery
Plus Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse
Plus a special blind tasting table with draw prizes!

The Belfry Theatre
All proceeds benefit the 41st season of Victoria’s leading professional theatre company as well as its beautiful heritage venue in the heart of Fernwood.

Donations of wine, as well as wine-related travel or unique local experiences for the auctions are gratefully accepted. CRA tax receipts and/or business receipts available.

Ask us about cash sponsorships of Crush (or Belfry Theatre productions) featuring your logo in high profile marketing materials including display ads. We are happy to custom design a proposal for you, featuring year round recognition, tickets and many other attractive benefits.

A great party to support a great theatre. Tickets $95 (no GST or service charges). A generous tax receipt for a portion of the ticket price will be issued following the event. Join us!

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Crush is generously supported by

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Fine Wine Auction Lots

The bottles for our fine wine auction are all in. Here’s a taste of what we will be auctioning at Crush this year. A big thank you to Robert Moyes for his tantalising wine descriptions.

Château Haut-Brion: 1967 (France)
Donated by T. Arthur Barber; Value: $500

Haut-Brion is a particularly revered First Growth, and is produced in Pessac-Léognan just outside the city of Bordeaux. Wine production at this estate dates from the 1500s, and it has centuries of interesting history to boast of: aside from being raved about by legendary oenophile Thomas Jefferson (prior to his becoming America’s third president), a laudatory comment on the wines of this château even made it into the pages of famed English diarist Samuel Pepys! But let’s address ourselves to more recent references. Wine scribe Robert Parker as well as the Wine Spectator both gave this Premier Cru Classé a rating of 86. Wine writer Andrew Caillard, who identified flavours of blackberry, cassis, and chocolate, gave it 88 points, adding: “Plenty of earthy complexity and some bright cherry characters . . . an impression of suppleness on the palate.” Vintage Wine & Port had this to say: “A flattering, gentle, medium-bodied wine with a smoky, vanillin oakiness, round, ripe flavours, and a soft, luscious finish.” Almost a half-century old, this venerable Haut-Brion can bypass the cellar and head directly to the dining room for a truly memorable dinner party.

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir: 2002 (2 bottles), 2004, 2006 (Okanagan)
Donated by Giles Thorp; Value for 4 bottles (includes a 1.5 litre bottle): $250

Blue Mountain is a family-run winery located in Okanagan Falls that has long been celebrated for its remarkable, award-winning Pinot Noir. And that is what this auction lot is all about: a 1.5 litre Reserve Pinot Noir from 2002, plus an even-year vertical array of their 2002, 2004, and 2006 regular Pinots in 750 ml bottles. The palates at WineTracker consistently gave the 2002 Reserve 90 points, with such accolades as “impressive,” “very Burgundian” and “a very good wine.” The regular 2002 was rated “Delicious!” and “smoky and plummy with a wonderful lush Pinot nose.” The 2004 averaged ratings of 89, and got comments such as “fruity, full bouquet” and “solid acidity, a little earth and light cherries . . . very enjoyable.” The 2006 was a big hit with Winecouver, which noted: “Layers of earth and spice integrated well with the backbone of black cherry fruit . . .  a lovely wine.” The lucky winner of this auction lot is destined to get a master class in B.C. Pinot Noir.

Comte du Lauvia Armagnac: 1934 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value: $1,300

Two years ago, Crush debuted a vintage Armagnac from one of the great houses of France – and here’s a second chance to acquire this otherwise unobtainable rarity. Armagnac hails from the region of the same name in Gascony in southwest France; it’s a single-distilled spirit that often spends greater time in oak barrels than its more famous double-distilled cousin, cognac. As a result, Armagnac can often have greater finesse and roundness than its more famous rival. Comte de Lauvia produces some of the world’s greatest Armagnacs, and has won innumerable awards at international tasting competitions. Their 1934 bottling is an extremely rare and valuable single-barrel vintage. Comte de Lauvia distills its brandy at a uniquely low strength to preserve more of its rustic character, resulting in a spirit of exceptional smoothness with intense flavours of prune, fig, wood, and forest fruits. To the eye this Armagnac has a deep coffee colour. The pleasing nose offers cloves and maple sugar, with hints of vanilla. On the palate, it is joyous; with an amazing rancio character, overlaid with honey, walnut, prune and coffee. This Armagnac is an unforgettable experience and has been called “Christmas in a bottle.”

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Fonseca Port (without label): 1963 (Portugal)
Donated by Scott Cumming; Value: $480

This is only the second vintage Port to star at the Crush auction, and that’s a shame because this postprandial libation is one of the most luxuriously hedonistic wines available to the self-indulgent tippler. Fonseca is rated one of the greatest of the Port “houses” and 1963 is a superlative vintage. Silky and opulent and likely to last for a few more decades – but why wait? – the ’63 Fonseca has received an average of 97-point ratings. The Wine Spectator leads the field with a 98 points and a full-throttle rave: “A grand slam. Deep ruby with a slightly red edge, intense black cherry and raspberry nose, full-bodied, with masses of fruit, full tannins and an extremely long finish.” And here’s an impressive gush from the Wine Advocate: “It has tremendous weight matched by nigh perfect acidity. It is very harmonious, almost honeyed towards the finish. This is a sublime Fonseca.” And Robert Parker had this to say: “The 1963, one of the great modern-day classics of vintage Port, is an incredibly aromatic, sublime, majestic Port that simply defines Fonseca’s style perfectly.” Don’t let this one get away!

Château de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes: 1997 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value: $58

Now here’s a rarity for the Crush auction: a white Bordeaux . . . and a yummy Sauternes at that! Made from a blend of Botrytis-affected Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes, Sauternes is a legendary dessert wine from Graves (land of Château d’Yquem). Château de Rayne Vigneau is no slouch either: it was ranked a First Growth in the famed 1855 classification, and their Sauternes is prized for its particularly intense style and long finish. The 1997 vintage has earned an average rating of 92 points and is drinking now but has lots of cellaring potential. CellarTracker ratings ranged from 92 to 94, and the tasting notes were full of praise. Wrote one scribe: “Medium sweet and fuller bodied, with rich flavors of dried pineapple, apricot purée, golden raisin, and medium acid. Good value from a very good vintage.” And here’s a real rave: “Floral nose, of honey, apricot, kiwi, orange zest. The palate was lush, with plenty of dried and fresh fruit, hints of Botrytis, enough acidity to keep the sweetness intact. Nectar from the gods!” If you don’t snag the Port, maybe grab this beauty!

Laughing Stock Portfolio: 2013 (Okanagan) 1.5 litre bottle
Donated by Paddy Stewart; Value: $96

Thirteen years ago, husband-and-wife stockbrokers David and Cynthia Enns shed their power suits and Toronto address for gumboots and a promising patch of real estate on the Naramata Bench. Hard work and talent soon resulted in the perversely named Laughing Stock Vineyards. Hardly a laughing stock, this has long-since been a celebrated Okanagan winery, and is most famous for its iconic “Portfolio” bottling, a lush Bordeaux blend. The full-bodied 2013 has aromas of blackberry and spice that jump out of the glass, along with intoxicating flavours of black fruit and dark chocolate. Both legendary B.C. wine scribe John Schreiner and the Globe & Mail’s Beppi Crosariol gave this vintage 93 points. Notes Schreiner: “The wine has an appealing core of fruit, including flavours of blueberry, black currant and black cherry . . . with an incredibly polished elegance and a finish that persists.” And nationally-based WineAlign awarded 92 points while noting that the wine has “a lovely elegance that makes this one of the top red wines of B.C.” And that magnum format promises a memorable dinner party indeed.

Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino: 1990 (Italy)
Donated by Shellie & Mike Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo; Value: $62

Most of the wines featured at Crush hail from Bordeaux – and with good reason, as that fabled region of France produces more great wine than any other region on Earth. That said, there are spectacular wines produced in many other countries – and none moreso than nearby Italy, which has a noble wine history stretching back many centuries. Although there is room for debate, a lot of people would likely agree that the elegant, age-worthy Brunello wines grown near the hilltop village of Montalcino 80 km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region deserve top billing as Italy’s most prestigious and famous wine. Such is certainly the case with Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino, whose 1990 vintage earned an average score of 89. Tasting notes are scarce, but two writers with CellarTracker were real fans. One wrote: “A huge nose of very bright black cherry, hints of cocoa and licorice . . . quite silky.” The other writer praised the wine’s “wonderful fruit . . . and perfumy nose.” Please note that after a quarter-century, this fine Brunello is likely better suited for the table than the cellar.

Château La Garde: 2005 (France) two bottles
Château Carbonnieux: 2006 (France) two bottles
Château Gloria: 2006 (France)
Château Grand Corbin-Despagne: 2006 (France)
Donated by Ian and Gloria Back; Value for six bottles: $305

Now here’s an impressive “six pack” of Bordeaux that offers a tasty and affordable introduction to some of the less famous appellations of France’s most revered wine region. Château La Garde, considered a rising star of the Pessac-Léognan appellation, was awarded scores of 92 from both Decanter and Wine Enthusiast (which enthused about “rich mint and black plum fruits”). Also hailing from Pessac-Léognan, the wines of Château Carbonnieux are, in the words of critic Dan Murphy, “deep and rich, cassis and earthy cedar, structure and length . . . high quality Bordeaux.” Château Gloria, which comes from St. Julien, is an unclassed wine that is well regarded and deemed to be on par with the classed growths. The 2006 vintage received numerous 90-point ratings on CellarTracker, and comments ranging from “lush fruit, tobacco and earth with a moderate length on the finish. Yum” to “lovely roundness  on the palate . . . extremely pleasant.” And Château Grand Corbin-Despagne, located in the northern part of Saint-Emilion, is a Grand Cru Classé. The 2006 vintage garnered an average critical score of 88. The hard-working writers at CellarTracker favoured 90-point ratings; their reviews praised this wine for its “layers of sweet ripe fruit and round, opulent early-drinking charm and character.” Sounds good to us!

Lapierre Morgon: 2008-2013 (France) six bottles
Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value for six bottles: $250

Technically considered part of Burgundy, Beaujolais is a distinct AOC region where the reds are produced from the Gamay grape. Although mostly seen as a source of quaffable, lighter-bodied wines, Beaujolais produces some that are serious and longer-lived. Such is definitely the case with Lapierre Morgon, a family-run domaine that is hailed as one of the most famous in all Beaujolais. The emphasis is on natural wines, and the Lapierre family is a pioneer of the style, producing elegant wines with dominant notes of cherries, licorice, and violets. This particular auction lot features a vertical array of six Morgons, from 2008 to 2013. We don’t have room for comments on all six vintages, but note that Cellar-Tracker gave the 2008 an average score of 90, with one writer calling it “a tour de force of skillful winemaking.”  And jumping ahead to 2013, both the Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate awarded 90 points, with WS offering this praise: “Wild strawberry and pomegranate flavors are highlighted by fresh acidity in this balanced red, with graphite, licorice and floral notes that ease into the tangy finish.” Here’s an affordable, yummy six-pack!

Mission Hill Compendium: 2008 (Okanagan)
Donated by Monty Bryant; Value: $82

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a Mission Hill “Compendium” to auction, and it’s a pleasure to put this Bordeaux-inspired blend forward for consideration. The 2008 vintage leads with 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Hand harvested from premium blocks in Oliver and Osoyoos, the wine luxuriated in large oak vats for 15 months, resulting in an elegant libation that offers a bouquet of aromas and flavours, from black cherry, cassis, pepper, and saddle leather on the nose to chocolate, cedar, tobacco and blackberry on the palate. And this suave charmer has certainly impressed the critics. Anthony Gismondi murmured “well done” and gave it a 90, while the scribes at CellarTracker gave ratings ranging from 90-94 and praised it as “well-balanced” and “full-bodied, smooth and flavourful.”

Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” Icewine: 2004 (Okanagan)
Donated by Tracy Mitchell; Value for 375 mil. bottle $1,100

The Rolling Stones continue to tour . . . and so does their legendary icewine, which is still swaggering about with devilish panache. Mick Jagger and the boys struck a tasty deal with Okanagan Valley’s Ex Nihilo Vineyards to put their name – and that lascivious red tongue – on a very limited-release icewine made from Pinot Noir. And with only 222 cases made, this ranks as one of the rarest wines in the world. (Which is why no reviews are available.) The official tasting notes identify “fresh berry with intense raisin” (although Stones fans will doubtless also note traces of brown sugar). Given that the Okanagan produces some of the planet’s finest icewines, you can expect this tipple to be exquisitely premium and as kicky as a Keith Richards guitar solo. Elegantly wrapped in black tissue and sealed with that Andy Warhol-designed tongue, this ultra-collectable comes tucked into a deluxe wooden presentation box. The lucky bidder gets to invite the Rolling Stones – and maybe some honky tonk women – for a truly unforgettable dinner. Talk about satisfaction!

Chapelle d’Ausone: 2005 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value for two bottles: $678

Chateau d’Ausone, a tiny and historic vineyard in Bordeaux, is one of only four St. Emilion estates – including fabled Cheval Blanc – to have its wines ranked as premier grand cru classé. And their so-called second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, is almost as highly regarded as its big brother. Only about 500 cases were made of the 2005 Chapelle, and the reviewers are in agreement that the wine is full-bodied and stunningly concentrated. It’s been “drinking now” since 2015, and evidently has another 15 years to fully impress anyone lucky enough to get a glassful. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker gives this one a juicy 94 points, remarking: “It’s a pure, sweet, undeniably great effort in this vintage.” James Suckling of the Wine Spectator went 95 points, adding “This is really beautiful with blackberry and spice aromas that follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long finish.” Farr Vintners raved: “Amazingly aromatic. . . this wine is jam-packed with ripe, red fruit and has a lovely, silky texture. Lots and lots of body and a long, mineral, black cherry finish.” And wine doyenne Jancis Robinson simply noted: “A really lovely wine.” Sure sounds like it!  And the lucky bidder gets to take home two!

Château Pavie Decesse: 2001 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $290

The 23-acre vineyards of Chateau Pavie Decesse are situated on the St. Emilion limestone plateau and are planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. This esteemed estate favours a style that combines opulent, rich, sensuous textures with minerality, freshness and concentration. Lushly hedonistic by Bordeaux standards, Pavie Decesse drinks well young, yet develops additional complexity when aged. The 2001 vintage has certainly won over the critics. The Wine Advocate hailed its “great intensity and . . . rich aromas of Asian spices, soy, black truffles, licorice, espresso, and intense cherry and blackberry fruit.” A few different scribes for Wine Cellar Insider gave it ratings of 93 and 94 and had enticing comments such as “Smoke, coconut, licorice, black and blue fruit, spice and minerality pair perfectly with the softly textured layers of rich, ripe, fruit.” Another writer gushed: “Thick, rich and luxurious, this opulently textured, sweet, plush ripe St. Emilion flows over your palate, ending with layers of chocolate covered cherries and blueberries. The perfect wine for hedonistic pleasure seekers.” Wow!

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Carruades de Lafite: 2001 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $670

Although formally rated as the “second” wine of Château Lafite Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite shows its breeding and easily qualifies as one of the more impressive wines to hail from the esteemed Pauillac region of Bordeaux. The blend for 2001 was 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc, yielding characteristic notes of lead pencil, ripe black currant, and cedar. Online reviews range from 88 to 94 points. One critic wrote, “The nose was pure Pauillac. On the palate it hinted lean and then the fruit burst. Wonderfully full and perfectly integrated.” The great Robert Parker praised it for being “elegant,” while Decanter enthused about its silkiness and concentration, overall calling it a “fine, plump Pauillac.” And when Stephen Tanzer writes, “perfumed and penetrating, with a restrained sweetness and a slight herbal edge” . . . well, you just know it’s time to slide that succulent lamb roast into the oven.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou: 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $333

Situated on two plateaus between Pauillac and Margaux, Saint-Julien is a very well regarded sub-region of the Medoc. And one of its most esteemed “second growths” is Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, one of the oldest wine-producing estates in the Medoc. This château is known for its concentrated, flavourful and well-structured wines, and their 2005 – with its blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot – is considered the best vintage to come along since 1982 and 1961. The Wine Advocate rated it 97, with this praise: “It is an extremely powerful wine with a dense purple colour, superb intensity, and a beautiful, sweet nose of spring flowers.” The Wine Enthusiast came in at 96 points, enthusing thus: “Huge blackcurrant fruits dominate a wine that is powerful and showing very ripe . . . it finishes with a delicious lift of acidity.” And let’s finish with a tasty rave from International Wine Cellar: “Fat, lush and silky, with atypical volume to the flavours of plum, tobacco and chocolate.” Yum!

Château L’Evangile: 2001 & 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value for two bottles: $608

The very name Pomerol evokes a tingling sense of anticipation in oenophiles, and Château L’Evangile is one of that region’s most cherished producers, dating back to 1741. Indeed, it borders St. Émilion’s legendary Cheval Blanc to the south, and is considered by many to offer the third-best wine in all of Pomerol. Enthusiastic tasting notes for the 2001 vintage ranged from “intense” and “lingering” to “superb.” The Wine Spectator gushed: “Beautiful aromas of chocolate, blackberry and light cappuccino follow through to a medium- to full-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a long finish. Yummy wine….” And the online commentators at Chateau Classic added this praise: “The deep ruby/purple-colored 2001 L’Evangile is a beauty.” The 2005 comes in for even grander praise. The Wine Spectator gave it 100 (!) points, while using phrases like “blown away” and “amazing.” The similarly impressed Wine Advocate awarded 95 points, and called it “sublime” while praising its “flawless texture and stunning complexity.”

Château Léoville Las Cases: 1988 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value for two bottles: $636

Based in the Saint-Julien region, Château Léoville Las Cases produces one of the 15 Second Growths in Bordeaux’s official wine classification of 1855. The estate bottles ravishing wine – maybe not too surprising, given that Las Cases abuts the legendary Château Latour. The redoubtable Hugh Johnson had this to say in his Pocket Wine Book about the wines produced by this renowned château: “Elegant complex powerful austere wines, for immortality.” But what about the 1988 vintage? The various wine experts at CellarTrackerloved this wine, consistently giving it ratings in the 95-97 range. Their comments were appropriately effusive for such a high ranking: “. . . a magnificent experience. Cedar, pencil, tobacco, black cherry and spicy wet stones . . . bliss! What a fantastic wine! This beats the ’88 Latour hands down.” Another scribe noted: “Plush and expansive on the palate, there is a beautiful complexity to this wine.” The Wine Advocate gave it 92 points while noting, “This wine continues to show brilliantly . . . rather classic Medoc.” And note that there are two of these beauties at auction. Double your pleasure!

Château Palmer: 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $475

Heading south into the Medoc district of Bordeaux takes us to Château Palmer, a celebrated “third growth” from fabled Margaux. Made from a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot, the dark-purple tinged 2005 has been universally hailed for its opulence, weight, and power. Although eager hedonists can pull the cork as early as 2017, it is expected to last beyond 2045. The Wine Advocate loved this vintage, lauding its delicious aromas of black currants, plums, and licorice while giving it a heady 97 points. The Wine Enthusiast, equally impressed, commented: “A wine so effortlessly delicious that it’s easy to forget the power the Merlot gives it.” The Wine Spectator bestowed 95 points and raved about its “big, juicy, velvety texture and long aftertaste,” while International Wine Cellarjoined the party with this hymn of praise: “Compellingly sweet and explosive on the palate . . . downright massive, not to say decadent. A pure liquid confection.” Sounds like splendour in the glass!

Château Mouton Rothschild: 1988 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value: $450

Even with prices in the stratosphere, the great wines of Bordeaux are still being ardently pursued by serious collectors with deep pockets. One of the most iconic of the region’s literally hundreds of excellent wineries is Château Mouton Rothschild, which makes what most agree is the Medoc’s most luxurious wine. And 1988 was an impressive year, even by Mouton’s standards. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker was delighted with the vintage, noting: “The 1988 has an attractive aroma of exotic spices, minerals, coffee, black currants, and sweet oak. The bouquet is staggering. . . . will last 20-25 years.” Wine Spectatorbestowed a rating of 94. And one of the writers at WineAccess got downright gushy about this profound Pauillac: “Great from beginning to end, this is what a Bordeaux should taste like. Awesome!” This will be the third year in a row that a bottle of this sublime wine goes up for auction – and based on previous bidding, go big or stay seated!

Château de la Gardine: 2000 (France)
Two bottles donated by Ame De Paoli and one bottle donated by Randy Milito, Smokin’ Tuna Café; Value for three bottles: $195

The Southern Rhone vineyard of Château de la Gardine dates from 1947 (although the property itself has been producing tasty Châteauneuf du Pape since the early 1700s). Rhone fans are invariably drawn to the Châteauneuf du Pape region, the area’s largest and most important appellation. Their gloriously rich wines – redolent of the heat and herbs of southeastern France – offer hedonistic pleasures to serious wine lovers. Such is certainly the case with the 2000 vintage from Gardine, which received a rating of 92 from Wine Spectator, which praised its “delicious ripe fruit and silky, sweet tannins . . . delivering harmony and pleasure from start to finish.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate approved its “superb chocolate, espresso, black cherry, and currant aromas,” while one of the writers atCellarTracker gave it 90 points as he noted: “Velvety smooth and still youthfully fruity, this was a lovely example of a simple but classic Châteauneuf . . . a very enjoyable wine with roast leg of lamb.”