($15) Deep ruby. Spicy blackberry and plum on the nose, with complicating licorice and roasted coffee qualities. A whiff of vanilla adds depth to sweet dark berry flavors, with gentle tannins adding support. Finishes creamy and persistent. Very good value.
($23; tempranillo with cabernet and merlot) Ruby-red. Suave raspberry and cherry aromas are underscored by gentle espresso and dark chocolate, with a musky underbrush quality adding complexity. A silky midweight, displaying energetic red berry and candied licorice flavors. Firms up on the juicy, spicy finish, which demonstrates impressive length and purity, not to mention elegance. Incidentally, the 2003 is almost equally poised right now-no small feat from that hot vintage.
($52) Ruby-red. Intensely floral nose offers expansive rose- and violet-accented cherry and red berry aromas along with slow-building oak spice and minerality. Tangy, focused and pure, showing impressively deep redcurrant and cherry flavors. Picks up a darker blackberry character on the finish, which is gently tannic and quite long. Doesn't want to let go.
($120) Inky ruby. Exotic, flamboyantly aromatic dark berry aromas offer a wild array of floral, Asian spice and pungent herb accents. Ripe but energetic blackberry, cassis and cherry preserve flavors show a strong vanillin oak influence but are concentrated enough to handle the lumber. Finishes sappy and long, with a strong whiplash of dark berry liqueur. The 2003, incidentally, showed a deep, sweet, powerful side recently, and possessed an awfully suave personality.
($110) Bright purple. Mineral- and floral-accented raspberry and blackberry aromas give the nose a bright, piercing personality. Vanilla and baking spices come up with air and carry onto the deep palate, where sweet, powerful dark berry flavors are underscored by graphite and smoky bacon. A suave, expressive syrah, with no hard edges to get in the way of immediate gratification. But I wonder how much the oak might be holding this back.
($199) Ruby-red. Deep and smoky, with powerful aromas of red and dark berries, kirsch, vanilla and cigar box. Fleshy and sweet, displaying an exotic oak-spiced array of red and dark fruits underscored by graphite, cured meat and espresso. Solid and broad-shouldered on the long, youthfully tannic finish. Serious stuff, in need of a few years' patience. (Kobrand Corporation, New York, NY)