($170; cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and cabernet franc) Very saturated dark ruby, almost black. Intense bell pepper slaps you across the face, with aromas of dark cherry, cigar box and underbrush following. Dense, highly concentrated and intensely flavored, with harmonious acidity framing the sweet black fruit and black pepper flavors, and little of the bell pepper character showing on the palate. Finishes long, with very silky tannins. But the green pepper aroma is neither typical nor endearing in what is usually one of Italy's greatest wines. Perhaps I have caught this at an awkward stage. (Chateau Ste. Michelle Estates, Woodinville, WA)Author: Ian D'Agata
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