Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: **** $$$$$ DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate (Red), Yakima, Washington, 2008

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By way of background:  DeLille Cellars wines have created a strong line based on Spirit of Wine reviews, and this Bordeaux-inspired Chaleur Estate red blend is its premium offering.

Initial review : This is DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate (Red), Yakima, Washington, 2008.  Chaleur Estate is a blend of 64% cabernet sauvignon,| 25% merlot,  9% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot from six estate vineyard plots.  The individual wine lots are aged for 20 months in new French oak barrels, then blended and allowed another five months in barrel to knit together.  The finished wine comes in at 14.4% alcohol.   Review sample provided by DeLille.

In the glass: Deep magenta, opaque about an inch in from the edge, hints of both purple and brick.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows sweet, deep black cherry and ripe plum fruit on the nose.  From the aroma, seems like this will be layered, rich, perhaps somewhat bright in the palate.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact very balanced, almost subtle, at the start.  The flavors begin in a pinpoint, then expand slowly across your palate, like watching a firework in slow motion.  The tannins slowly, slowly release a charcoal-infused black cherry liqueur, with plum notes eventually crawling to lodge in your cheeks with the acids.  The second sip brings along sweet cocoa notes, with the hint of a softer milk chocolate coming along behind.  No one element takes center stage, but the balance seems there, and built for age.

In summary: Overall, nicely balanced and powerful blend rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its big promise as this infant matures.  Even some decanting will likely move this along its path towards what I predict will be a fourth star at some not-too-distant point in its life.

Following long decant: Four hours in decanter at room temperature...   The deep black cherry comes through even more precisely on the nose.  On the palate, the flavors flow together right from the start, with the tannins weaving in and out to create long-lasting interplay.  Lifts just enough to touch the fourth Spirit of Wine star. Likely to still improve with more time.  And even longer decant, additional full day kept cool in partially-filled bottle: The black cherry widens out on the nose.  The palate holds together without budging in the slightest.

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