2013 Bartholomew Primitivo, Horse Heaven Hills, Coyote Canyon Vineyard ($24)
Deep ruby colored, this relative of Zinfandel emits rich, smoky aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, rosebuds, pipe tobacco, lavender and spiced incense. On the palate, the flavors are thick and generous, with intermixtures of licorice, dark cocoa, espresso, and Horse Heaven scorched earth. The chewy textured back picks up semi dried cherries, plum preserves, and mocha, followed by a spicy (nutmeg, clove) moderate alcohol (13.9%) and sweetish tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2013 Bartholomew 5th Quarter Blend, Columbia Valley ($??)
This is a tasty combination of 55% Carmenère, 20% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc. It shows a deep crimson-ruby color and seductive aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, crushed roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco, violets and oriental incense. The flavors, as well, are alluring, with layers of supple black and blue fruits that are interspersed with licorice, cocoa, black tea, and variegated earth minerals. The back picks up pressed berries, crème de cassis, blueberry preserves, and graphite, followed by a lingering sweetish tannin finish. This is a winner. 19/20 points.
2013 Bartholomew Carmenère, Red Mountain ($28)
This is a fine rendition of the “lost grape” of Bordeaux. It shows a deep crimson color and a perfumed nose of wild currants, black cherries, Damson plums, lavender, violets, sweet tobacco and incense. The black and blue fruit flavors are mouth encompassing, with notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate, black tea, and Red Mountain calcareous minerals. The back reveals sensations of pressed berries, crème de cassis, kirsch, and mocha, all leading seamlessly into a long sweetish tannin finish. As a vin de plaisir, this gets a plus. 18.5+/20 points.
Authored by Rand Sealey