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shenandoah valley

The Sentinel

[label]Domaine de la Terre Rouge 2003 Syrah Sentinel Oak Pyramid Block (Shenandoah Valley) – Surprisingly hollow at first sip, this very quickly fills out, showing blueberry and blackberry with a sharp bite of tannin. There’s oak, but it’s very nearly overwhelmed by the fullness of the fruit. Very structured, yet juicy and appealing, with a long life ahead. (5/07)

Estate planning

[label]Easton 2002 “Estate” Zinfandel (Shenandoah Valley) – 15.1%. Bigger, with a more silken texture than the Fiddletown. There’s cedar, dark black pepper, tar and asphalt, with chocolate added on a finish that’s a little more abrupt than I’d like. However, I think there’s plenty of potential here…the wine just needs time. That said, it’s a little more “worked” than the Fiddletown, and it shows. (5/07)

Easton west

[label]Easton 2001 Barbera (Shenandoah Valley) – Good barberas from this region taste, to me, like slightly-tamed zinfandels…the wild black’n’blue berries transformed to red, the spiky structure given over to a glistening sheen, but otherwise crisp, strong-willed fruit bombs that are just a joy to drink. And this is one of the good wines. There’s a rich, warm spice to the wine as well, like some mulled Christmas concoction. Pure pleasure. (8/07)

TN: The camel’s behind the pyramid

[label]Domaine de la Terre Rouge 1999 Syrah Sentinel Oak Pyramid Block (Shenandoah Valley) – Very oak-dominated, and while it’s so massive it doesn’t appear closed, I suspect that it might be. There certainly used to be more fruit here. What remains is dark and scowly, like sandpaper-bruised blueberry residue and sweat-soaked leather, and there’s a feral (not bretty, just wild) element lurking in the background…a snarling wolf hidden in a dark grove of evergreens. There’s structure, though a good deal of it seems to be coming from the wood at the moment, and though I have confidence that it will meet its maker’s expectations for a long life, I think it will always be fairly woody. I guess we’ll see. (3/07)

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