Jul 16 2010

Cellar Transformers

Here in Chicago, we’re entering the second weekend of filming for Transformers 3 in and around the Loop. It’s an aptly named movie, because it’s transforming the way people go about their day—shutting down some of the busiest streets and intersections of the city, testing the patience of locals, and mesmerizing summer tourists.

Transformers are, as the theme song says, “more than meets the eye,” and that’s also a philosophy we apply to our most prized bottles at Just Grapes. While many wines are meant to be enjoyed immediately, others are built to last, and if they’re cellared with patience, they’ll “transform” into masterpieces after a few years. Here are a few highly recommended “transformers” available at Just Grapes:

2004 Hundred Acre “Ancient Way”, Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia [$137.50]
94 Pts – Wine Enthusiast
Incredibly dark in color but light on its feet, this wine somehow manages to hide its 15.5% alcohol under fruit that’s neither overblown or jammy. Spice and herb-driven complexity is the order of the day, with scents of violets lending an exotic note to the aromas. It is mouth-filling and palate-coating but wonderfully balanced, picking up hints of black olive and espresso on the lingering finish. Good now, but appears to have the stuff to evolve over at least 10 – 15 years.

2005 Paul Hobbs Stagecoach Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California [$167.19]
93 pts – Robert Parker

From its dense, saturated ruby hue to its earthy, cigar box nose, this Cabernet Sauvignon commands attention and suggests a cellar-worthy wine. More than evident on the palate right now is the great intensity, depth and structure it possesses. Pure, focused flavors of black cherry, currant and tobacco coat the mouth, while notes of forest floor and pencil shavings add further dimension and nuance. A lingering finish offers balanced acidity and firm, chewy tannins. Alcohol 15.1%

2003 La Mendota, Merlot Blend, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France [$159.99]
95 Pts – Robert Parker

This vineyard, which sits on the classic clay/limestone hillsides, has enjoyed great success in 2003. A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an inky/purple color along with a gorgeously deep, ethereal bouquet of espresso roast, blackberries, crème de cassis, minerals, and flowers. Rich and full-bodied, with low acidity, obvious power, and tremendous elegance as well as definition. It is a beautifully layered, textured St.-Emilion that builds incrementally, revealing tremendous purity and sense of place. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2018.

2003 Chateau Magrez Fombrauge, Merlot, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France [$71.99]
94 Pts – Robert Parker

A brilliant example of Fombrauge’s luxury cuvee, this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc emerges from a 7.5-acre vineyard situated on clay/limestone soils. This is a full-throttle, big, deep 2003, and it is one of the finest wines of the vintage. It reveals a deep ruby/purple color along with a nose of roasted coffee, black currants, berries, licorice, new saddle leather, and spice box. The complex aromas are followed by a dense, medium-to-full-bodied offering with great fruit as well as wonderful vigor and freshness. Given the low acidity and ripe tannin, it should hit its peak in 3-4 years, and evolve nicely for 12-15.

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