[cave]Bouchard Finlayson 2003 “Hannibal” (Walker Bay) – A very strange blend: 52% sangiovese, 24% pinot noir, 11% nebbiolo, 9% mourvèdre, and 4% barbera. Only in the New World, eh? I suppose all those grapes contribute something, and with enough study their contributions do become individually apparent, but the problem isn’t so much that the whole is less than the sum of its parts (though I think it is), but rather that the mathematics haven’t been left to their own devices, and instead have been forced into a high-volume attempt at showstopping that deafens rather than seduces. There’s a heavy, heated, porty character that characterizes the wine…overly-intense dark black, blue, and purple fruit with a thick-browed texture…and despite the varietal hodgepodge it tastes very much like some of California’s most extravagantly syrah-like pinots. That’s not a compliment, in my book, but those with contrasting tastes may want to take note. (11/08)

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