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  2004 - Vinos Pinol Portal Crianza
 Nov 03, 2010

1 star 1 star 1 star

 The Portal Roble, 2004, is built of equal 20 percent portions of cabernet sauvignon, garnacha, merlot, tempranillo and syrah. In the glass, it is a deep red burgundy, moving to opaque as you move midway into the glass.Aromas right out of the bottle are major deep and rubbery-funky... think ripe, aged helium balloons. On the palate, the sensation moves from helium balloons to ripe sesame seeds, slathered over slim pieces of cracker. Along with that comes a balance of deep fruit and tannins, moving the sesame finish into a long, long encore. This one starts with three stars with a plus for intensity and intrigue... I'm gonna let it decant a bit. My hunch is that will blow off some of the freakier elements and leave the plush, vanilla, aromatic deep fruit. We'll see... For now, three plus stars out of five.After just a few minutes with air, the sesame reduces a bit, bringing deep fresh raspberry into the fruit mix. The intensity remains. It's just gonna move me to four stars, meaning I'd stay with it for an evening. And trust me, this one can use a couple years aging on its bones.More reviews at

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  2005 - Thorn-Clarke Cabernet Sauvignon Terra Barossa
 Nov 03, 2010

1 star 1 star 1 star

 The Thorn-Clarke Terra-Barossa Importer's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, is a cabernet sauvignon from the Thorn-Clarke label, whose shiraz I have enjoyed a great deal.In the glass, this shows as a medium dark, though bright, red.The nose is fruity and lifted, sweet plumy - a bit like cru beaujolais. Hint of candy apple.On the palate, there is a distinct note of perfumed fruit - just a touch furry and red, medium in body, sweet in tone. A very "centered" experience, picking up interesting notes in the mid-palate, less in the attack, mouthfeel and finish. Three stars out of five for me.Past vintages have tended to score professionally around 90 points, though I have not yet seen reviews of the 2005. ------------------After a full-day decanting: Nose has taken on an odd, rubbery component. Otherwise muted. Flavors have definitely softened, still good balance. Inky black cherry elements come to the fore.More reviews at

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