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Older Wines Recently Swilled

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Below are tasting notes on wines Hanes has recently imbibed which are not current releases. Please remember that The Hanes Wine Review only covers current release wines being sold in the United States so as to not yank any reader's chains. But don't think that all Hanes ever drinks are current releases. Why, no, he drinketh many older wines as well! So, for those of you who might be interested in reading about how these older wines are drinking at the present moment, forge on ahead. But keep in mind the useful dictum that there are no great wines, only great bottles. These notes represent one bottle, separated at birth from its siblings and your bottle may taste quite differently based on a host of factors. Also note that the prices for older wines tasted will vary greatly, depending on if the wine was purchased on release or more recently. So, take the noted price with a grain of salt.

Sent to Their Grave in January 2019

Scholium Project, The
Suisun Valley, California
Tenbrink Vineyards
Bricco Babelico
Petite Sirah
2008
$23.99
17.14%
Glowing black like a day-glo wall hanging, thin sunset red to orange rims which hum with a deep warmth. There’s some barnyard funk to the nose but it’s mostly prune, date fruit as well as eucalyptus, baked ham and incense, tries really hard to create some lift to middling result. Full-bodied, thick and gluey in texture, enough so that the tannin can’t start to dry out the palate. In many ways it’s like cramming a bunch of Raisinets in your mouth and then walking into a freshly built cedar closet. Prettier orange peel and eucalyptus help normalize it and overall this is about as “normal” a red wine as you will find from this producer. Tarry finish which comes across like rubber tires peeling out at the start of a drag race. Masks the high alcohol well. 88 points

Qupé
Edna Valley, California
Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard
Sonnie’s Syrah
Syrah
2011
$23.99
13.5%
Clean with good shine, most of the purple washed out of the core, on the whole it’s a maturing brick red hue, rims show good fullness. Cedary nose, incense and potpourri, overall not especially pungent, dry brown dirt and pebbles, slightly roasted quality to the cherry, raspberry scents. Medium-bodied, firming acidity, has consistent texture and weight throughout. Stony with sour grapefruit aspects, there’s still that woody, cedary aspect which contributes to the sourness. While there is a Jolly Rancher style hard candy sweetness to the cherry, raspberry to strawberry fruit, there’s just not a lot of fruit per se. Leathery finish that verges on animality. There’s nothing overtly wrong here, simply comes off as tired. 87 points

Copain
Mendocino County, California
Eaglepoint Ranch
Syrah
2005
$24.99
14.5%
Dull core, the black shifts easily into brick red and then yellowing with a hint of brown, showing its age but not in a worrisome fashion. Rough and tumble nose of saddle leather, grill fat and charcoal smoke, there’s still considerable caramel and butterscotch accents left, rounds out with eucalyptus, muddy earth and a smattering of cherry, blackberry fruit scents, no alcoholic burn yet overall seems disjointed. Full-bodied, velvety and sappy texture that has it stuck to the palate. If there was ever any tannin it’s long gone now. Juicy blackberry, boysenberry, cherry fruit with a spritz of grapefruit. Hints of olive tapenade, more grill fat and rawhide. Opens up nicely and while not profound it’s more than satisfying. 89 points

Mara, Tenuta
Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Guiry
Sangiovese
2014
$17.99
12.5%
Cloudy, the scarlet red to violet core slowly moves to washed out brick red approaching the rims. The nose is texturally thick with a sous bois, vinous funkiness, this in curious juxtaposition to the molasses, gingerbread and then strawberry, raspberry fruit elements, in spite of the sweet baking spices there’s a pervasive woodsiness to it. Full-bodied, while not entirely lacking in structure it languidly drapes itself across the palate, inviting you to enjoy the sappy strawberry, maraschino cherry to raspberry fruit. Camphor, licorice, lemonade, honey and chamomile accents keep the seductiveness going. The lack of acidity eventually becomes a bother, especially so based on some food pairings. The muddy earth funk stays at the borders. At times feels like it was pressed together in a vise. Very pleasurable but not what you’d expect if you were looking for, say, a Tuscan Sangiovese. 89 points

Black Kite
Anderson Valley, California
Kite’s Rest
Pinot Noir
2014
$36.99
14.9%
Medicinal red in color, slightly deepened by purple in the core, squeaky clean, zero hue loss at the rims. Meaty, minerally nose, beef jerky, leather, more rugged than high-toned, lacks the citrus pitch and sourness in the cherry, raspberry scents to pierce and lift, still it does have effortless staying power. Medium-bodied, spicy and nibbles like it wants to give you a hickey. Here the fluffy florality spreads well and there’s sustained orange, lemon citrus presence. More by way of campfire wood and sandalwood incense and clove than the meatiness in the nose. While ripe, the raspberry, blueberry, cherry fruit is not juicy and wet, showing restraint even when not desired. Finish can seem abrupt. Classy in a cool climate fashion. 90 points

Copain
Santa Barbara County, California
Thompson Vineyard
Syrah
2007
$24.99
14.5%
Fully black core with razor thin crimson red rims, foreboding glow to it. Smoky, stony nose, not all that much oak left, shoe leather, vague floral lift, edgy in a hard to describe way, thicker currant, plum scents than berries, overall more clenched than open. Medium-bodied, works hard to have the acidity frame the mouth entry. The tannin seems a little underripe, astringent at the end. Still, offers the requisite citrus zest and gathers enough floral perfume to make a go of it. Sour cherry, red currant to blackberry fruit. The oak sour as well and dominates past the mid-palate, as mentioned woody finish. Perhaps crafted to be something it was not, in any event a good few years past its apex. 87 points

Tensley
Santa Barbara County, California
Thompson Vineyard
Syrah
2012
$28.99
14.0%
Mildly filmy, the purple core remains vivid as the rims mature into red to orange brick or clay hues. The nose seems grapey with notes of apple in addition to more expected blackberry, cherry fruit, the lavender scents are active but do get pushed aside now and then by oak toast, touch of leather or cured beef yet on the whole it remains primarily fruity. Full-bodied, outside of an initial jolt of acidity it’s soft and permeates the palate well. Tangy white grapefruit citrus invites the oak into more of a mesquite grill smoke profile. The lavender, garrigues lift haphazard but pungent when it appears. Thick slabs of blackberry, blueberry to boysenberry fruit sugary and puckering both. Prolonged finish. In the end leaves you feeling best to take advantage of the fruit now rather than wait for any possible tertiary development. 89 pointsv
Amalia, Cascina
Piedmont, Italy
Langhe
Rossese Bianco
2014
$17.99
12.0%
Light yellow straw in hue, pools into the glass well, translucent with a subtle green tint at the outer rims. Focused and penetrating nose of mint, anise, lemon peel, has a “skin and pit” character to the apricot, peach, pear fruit scents, while taut doesn’t seem lean. Medium-bodied, good palate weight as the acidity intently shaves away weight, leaves your tongue feeling well scrubbed. More of that high-toned anise, mint to fennel, the pink grapefruit, lemon, paired with the stream water and chalk notes makes for a fresh profile, even a few years down the road. Same basic pear, apple, apricot fruit, not a wine which puts the spotlight on the fruit. Leaves a pleasingly pungent mist behind after you swallow. Not too forceful with its personality. 90 points

Renard
Napa Valley, California
Calistoga
Tres Niños
Blend
2007
$19.99
14.5%
The opaque purple core clinging to purple before the proverbial fade to black, the rims a crisp brick red, looks matured. The nose displays eucalyptus, beef jerky, tar and campfire smoke, solid amount of cherry, red currant to plum fruit, not juicy but consistent, vanillin and butterscotch oak notes bubble up throughout, does not appear to have developed much by way of tertiary characteristics. Medium-bodied, velvety smooth and here the oak is just about out of control, all vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, toasted coconut, and molasses. While the tannic residue puts a hitch in its giddy-up, nothing interferes with the plum, cherry, blackberry fruit. Here too there’s no sense of evolution, just fruit and oak. That said, it is tasty within its chosen idiom. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, remainder Petite Sirah with 2% Syrah. 88 points

Casenove, Château La
Languedoc/Roussillon, France
Côtes du Roussillon
Cuvée Commandant François Jaubert
Blend
1998
$24.99
13.5%
The black core somewhat dull, not close to opacity despite its lack of true color, the rims show its full maturity, all rusty red and orange, full bricking. At first the nose is all wet sous bois, merde with a metallic edge and notes of peanut shells and ketchup, this moderates very slowly to allow the still formidable blackberry, cherry, cassis fruit through, light menthol and pressed flowers but not many attractive tertiary aromas. Medium-bodied with a soft, plump texture, soaks in well and shows little of the funk found in the nose. Anise, rose petals and something close to eucalyptus but impelled forward by the cherry, plum, currant fruit. Tannins clump up some but mostly resolved. The earthy and leafy qualities show mostly through the finish and, expectedly, retronasally. Seems about 7-8 years past its apogee. 35% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre. 87 points

Institut Agricole Régional
Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Vuillermin
2012
$17.99
14.0%
Filmy throughout, washed out violet core surrounded by brick red and orange rims, while it may look “older” that’s probably just what it looks like per se. The nose starts out smelling like old boot leather and sweat socks, thankfully switches gears into candied raspberry, strawberry fruit, potpourri, incense and witch hazel, not to say that it loses all that leatheriness as well as leafiness. Medium-bodied, the sappy texture really helps it permeate the mouth pores, the tannin sneaky, the acidity a bit more obvious. Tar, asphalt and leather give it a cornerstone, gets lift from dried garden herbs, anise and more of that witch hazel like stuff. Ample strawberry, raspberry to red apple fruit with moments of citrus zest and floral dew mixed in. Rewards extended air time. 85% Vuillermin, 15% unspecified. 90 points

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