($180; a five-variety Bordeaux blend based on 77% cabernet sauvignon) Saturated deep ruby. Cassis, bitter chocolate and sexy smoky oak on the nose. Dense and sweet but firmly structured, with lovely inner-mouth aromatic quality giving the wine sappy lift. Pure, penetrating flavors of cassis, lead pencil and bitter chocolate, with a sexy oak quality that I can only describe as Mouton-like. This is still quite tightly wound and will need several years of bottle aging to soften up (it won't be released until the fall of this year). "The biggest change here has been our independence," said winemaker Michael Silacci, who took over winemaking responsibilities with the 2004 vintage; previously former partners Mouton-Rothschild and Robert Mondavi were involved in crafting this wine.Author: Stephen Tanzer
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