Bright ruby-red. Musky blackcurrant, black raspberry, licorice, bitter chocolate, and menthol on the nose. A dense, silky, concentrated fruit bomb in the mouth, with dark berry and dark chocolate flavors accented and shaped by menthol and mineral notes. Wonderfully sweet and mouth filling with a savory umami silkiness and no rough edges. Finishes with sweet tannins and terrific lingering fruits, spices, and chocolate, along with a hint of woodsmoke. Balanced and delicious from the start but possesses the sheer material to evolve slowly and gracefully. My sample held up extremely well for 72 hours. – Stephen Tanzer
Bright red-ruby. Brooding, lightly medicinal aromas of cassis, licorice, menthol, and bitter chocolate. Rich, sweet, pliant, and edge-free, showing serious concentration to its dark berry, spice, and dark chocolate flavors. Lovely depth of fruit here with the menthol element giving it energy and an element of reserve. Offers noteworthy pliancy and vinosity to go with its intensity. Ultimately a bit more ripe and less herbal than the 2017 edition and balanced from day one. Finishes with a touch of herbs and very ripe smooth tannins. Despite the difference in varietal makeup, this wine had much in common with the 2018 ReRe than the 2017 Owl and Crown, but here the tannins are firmer. – Stephen Tanzer
Dark ruby red. The nose arrives with currants, minerality and then is followed closely by notes of the forest floor. The flavors are dense and packed but need quite a bit of air to reveal themselves. Blackberries, Christmas spice, and cherry flood the palate and float to the finish. The tannins are concentrated in the middle, then smooth and long on the finish. This wine will evolve and last for many years to come. – winemaker Anna Schafer Cohen notes
Saturated bright, dark ruby. Almost porty yet fresh scents of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, menthol, licorice, bitter chocolate, espresso, and violet; conveys an urgent dark berry character. Sappy, densely packed, smooth, and classically dry, showing lovely ripeness to its dark berry and dark chocolate flavors lifted by violet. Suppler and more forthcoming than the 2017 Amparo Malbec, despite its youth. Still young and quite primary but even today the substantial tannins are supple and fine-grained. Finishes with a note of violet lift. Better balanced early than the 2017, not to mention nicely concentrated. There is a complicating touch of herbs here but not the peppery quality of the ’17. – Stephen Tanzer
Similarly purple-hued, the 2018 Syrah Estate Fred was not destemmed and was also brought up all in neutral barrels. A wonderfully complex, balanced wine, with notes of blackcurrants, blueberries, lavender, pepper, and hints of scrub brush, it hits the palate with medium to full body, a ripe, rounded, supple texture, beautiful purity, and a great finish. It’s a little gem of a Syrah to enjoy over the coming 10-12 years. -Jeb Dunnuck
Malbec grape being a slip skin (the skin is not attached to the pulp) generally loves a hot dry environment. 2017 allowed our Gamache Malbec to shine with classic blue expression, chewy tannins and bright happy plum notes. Picking extra early allowed us to maintain freshness to retain the subtle secondary baking spice notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. – Anna Schafer Cohen
Dark, deep red. Baking spices, cloves, pepper, grilled bread. Medium acidity and density for a Malbec. Tannin hits the roof of the mouth, while plum juice, cinnamon, exotic star anise, and clove fill the palate. Beautiful savory and secondary notes. Long pleasant finish that will open up with more oxygen. This Malbec holds a significant amount of tannin and would be happy in your cellar for a year, or with a lengthy decant before drinking.
The 2017 Artist Series Schafer from Schafer checks in as 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and 17% Cabernet Franc that spent a full two years in 40% new French oak. Deep ruby-colored with a meaty, spicy style in its red and black fruits, tobacco, dried spice, and loamy soil aromas and flavors, it gains freshness and purity with time in the glass and is a seamless, medium to full-bodied, gorgeously textured effort. It's a terrific value to enjoy over the coming decade or more.
More Pauillac notes of cassis, tobacco, and cedar pencil emerge from the medium-bodied 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Owl & Crown, which has a balanced, pure, elegant texture, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It's another classy wine that will keep for 15+ years, if you're so inclined. There are a scant 268 cases produced.