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Winery - Basel Cellars

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Roughly three-fifths Merlot and two fifths Cabernet Franc. Though the blend and oak treatment are quite similar to the 2005, this new release comes out with far better balance and structure. The oak flavors are lighter, the tannins are polished and lightly herbal, as befits Cabernet Franc, and there is a hint of steel in the backbone of this tight, svelte effort.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This wine carries a new label, very spare; the drawing of house and vineyard is gone; it’s all white with simple type. The wine is simple, soapy, light and showing just a watery impression of citrus, banana and tropical fruits.

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Basel Cellars Chardonnay - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This 100% varietal bottling is the first release for this Mirage vineyard designate. Some interesting floral highlights to this wine; the fruit has light flavors of boysenberry and blackberry. Flavors are mostly all up front, without much depth or specific varietal character, but it’s pleasant enough. Just a little chalky in the finish.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This vineyard designate from Chelle den Millie is spicy and tart. There is medium concentration to the fruit, a mix of cassis and black cherry. The overall potency is heightened by strong scents of herbal spice and grippy tannins, ripe but still showing some of the varietal leaf and moist earth flavors.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Franc - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Right out of the bottle come slightly hot, spicy, sharp flavors of bright raspberry and strawberry. This is all press juice from the vintage, and it carries some bite, along with lively, assertive, acidic fruit and lovely floral aromatics. It’s a screwcap red—approachable and fruity, but not simple or soft. Au contraire, it’s substantial and spicy, with plenty of acid and definition.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2004

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This is pure Cabernet, sourced from Ste. Michelle’s Cold Creek vineyard. It’s firm and solid, nicely styled and clean, pure and focused. It shows the definition and supple muscularity of the vineyard, with tight black cherry and blackberry fruit, enhanced with streaks of smoke, earth and licorice.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2004

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Winemaker Trey Busch gets more confident and assured with each new vintage, and this is his best cab yet. It’s 100% cabernet sauvignon, from the Lewis, Seven Hills and Spoffard Station vineyards. Light scents suggest cherry tobacco, and cherries are the main theme here, ripened to 14.7% alcohol, but balanced, firm and packed with fruit. The blend was done right after fermentation, which gives it a head start at this young age, and the tannins and oak are beautifully managed.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2002

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
An excellent example of spicy, peppery Washington syrah, this has a lifted bouquet of herb, pepper and toast, tart cherry/cranberry fruit, and fine grained tannins. Scents and flavors of coffee and toast are beginning to integrate into the body of the wine, which may well merit a higher score with another few months of bottle age.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2002

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
A Bordeaux blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot and the rest cab franc; all free run juice given the full tilt new oak treatment. Big and fruity, it’s immediately delicious, though the acidification sticks out a bit and tangles up the finish.

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Basel Cellars Bordeaux-style Red Blend - 2002

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Tannic with green tea and tobacco notes prevalent. The fruit is dark and wrapped in the thick, smoky tannins; flavors show blackberry, black cherry and roasted coffee. The Cab Franc dominates here; this is muscular and brawny; almost 15% alcohol.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2003

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Winemaker Trey Busch has now moved on, but his work at Basel hit a high mark with this dense, sappy and silky Syrah. Rich and packed with purple fruits, this young, tart, snappy effort really delivers the fruit power. Raspberries, blueberries and pie cherries are welded together with toasty oak; it’s saturated and smooth, and the supple finish seems to linger forever.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2005

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
It’s 100% Merlot, and it doesn’t need any help from any other grapes. Extremely dark and thick in the mouth, this liquorous bruiser of a Merlot is thoroughly delicious. It’s just packed with fruit, cassis and ripe black cherries, complemented by dark chocolate notes.

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Basel Cellars Merlot - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
All five Bordeaux grapes go into this light, fruity blend. It has the color and mouthfeel of Grenache—light and open, with pretty red fruits. The only distraction is a chalkiness around the acids.

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Basel Cellars Claret - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This is pure Syrah, from the estate vineyard, a relatively cool site. It shows some complexity, a mix of purple fruits, and finishing notes of baking spices and coffee grounds. The acids seem a bit clumsy and chalky, else it would warrant a higher score.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
A blend of Cabernet and 16% Syrah. It’s quite dense and black in the style of the winery, and powerfully scented with black cherry, loganberry and cedar. It tastes like a berry pie with cedary/leafy highlights. The finish shows interesting tobacco and cigar notes.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2003

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This Bordeaux blend has a strong herbal streak and some chewy tannins. The heavy toast in past vintages has here been a bit subdued, but there is still plenty of smoke and coffee. I like the structure—the fruit is not too sweet, and the balance suggests that this wine may evolve some interesting nuances. Right now it’s lightly herbal, tight, with hints of cinnamon and toast.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2004

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
A very dark and sappy blend of Cab, Merlot and Syrah; it shows all three grapes’ influence. The Syrah gives it color and spice; the Cab provides tannin and a hint of herb; the Merlot broadens out the midpalate a bit. An interesting, flavorful blend; right now the fruit is young, fresh and right out front, with a finishing lick of citrus.

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Basel Cellars Bordeaux-style Red Blend - 2003

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Basel Cellars’ inaugural vintage displays lovely buttercream, nut and mint aromas on the nose. The palate swells with juicy, ripe red plum fruit dressed in a caramel-and-nut cloak, with more of the mint, or eucalyptus, drawn out on the finish. It’s a more supple, softer-bodied wine than its components would have you believe. Drink now, and over the next five years. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

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Basel Cellars Bordeaux-style Red Blend - 2001

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Sharp and tart, with the biting attack of a lemon. The slightly bitter acids overcome the fruit, which is light and lightly peppery. Some smoky, roasted coffee flavors fill out the finish.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2003

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc is sourced from the estate’s Pheasant Run vineyard. Aromas offer a mature mix of baking spices, dusty cocoa and chocolate-covered cherries. The flavors thin out from there, seeming to drop into a chocolate/tannin echo chamber. Not unpleasant, but lacking the depth and texture that have been there in the past.

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Basel Cellars Bordeaux-style Red Blend - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Mostly Merlot blended with 28% Cabernet Franc, it hits 14.6% alcohol and shows some heat in the finish. Tannic and earthy, with a green tea astringency. There are berries in the fruit court, somewhat overtaken, at least for now, by the herb and stem flavors.

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Basel Cellars Bordeaux-style Red Blend - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
A step forward in this vintage, with a pretty nose offering blackberry and truffle notes. Flavors are a mix of fruit and herb, dried leaf, tea and cherry tobacco. It grabs your attention, then thins out a bit too quickly in the finish. But lots of potential, and probably a good chance to improve over the next couple of years.

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Basel Cellars Claret - 2008

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Dark fruits envelop this rich, fat, tannic Merlot. It’s loaded with cassis and ripe black cherries, set against generous barrel flavors of cedar, smoke and coffee. The tannins have a black olive streak and a bacon fat finish. Yummy stuff.

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Basel Cellars Merlot - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
A good, tight, plummy Washington Syrah. The fruit is showcased amid a fascinating smorgasbord of unusual (but Syrah-like) flavors: iron filings, iodine, clove, coffee, a splash of citrus. Complex, young and packed with flavor.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Soft, creamy and buttery, this will surely please those who like a banana cream pie style of Chardonnay. There’s peaches in there too, and papaya—a lot of ripe fruit, nicely matched to the oak flavors. Drink now.

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Basel Cellars Chardonnay - 2008

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
The flavors are herbal, the tannins a little green, but no rough edges have been left. Could be a good burger bottle.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Stiff and leathery, this 100% varietal Carmenère is barely ripe, with alcohol at 12.6% and green, stemmy tannins. The natural herbal character of the grape seems exaggerated, and the leathery finish shows no ripeness at all.

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Basel Cellars Carmenère - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
From a mix of vineyards, this tastes of berries, raisins, cooked plums, and baking spices. The tannins are hard and slightly bitter, and there seems to be a hint of residual sugar, perhaps to mitigate the bitterness.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2007

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Pure Syrah from a great lineup of vineyards. In this freeze year the Walla Walla vineyard produced no fruit, so winemaker Trey Busch sourced his grapes from an all-star lineup including Lewis, Minick, Portteus and Columbia Crest. Densely packed with mixed purple fruits, it also sports a mix of wet leaf, earth and herb flavors that add texture and beaucoup aroma. This leans towards the funky side, in a style more reminiscent of France than Australia, but what amazing flavors.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2004

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
After almost losing a finger struggling to remove the rock-hard faux wax “capsule” I found this strawberry/cherry cordial-flavored wine quite pleasant. The fruit, from a Rattlesnake Hills vineyard, has a sweet core, while the tannins add an earthy streak of green tea.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Franc - 2005

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Roughly three-fifths Merlot and two-fifths Cab Franc, this saw 19 months in mostly new French and American oak. Like its stable-mates at Basel it puts the barrel ahead of the fruit which, though pretty enough, does not have the depth of flavor to match. The finish carries some rough tannins and a hint of heat.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2005

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
The straightforward Cabernet fruit is immersed in new oak, so the dominant flavors of smoke, toast, chocolate and espresso all seem to emanate from the barrel aging. Otherwise it is a simple and perfectly pleasant, no-frills red.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2005

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Not as balanced as the winery’s regular Syrah, this monster (15.9% alcohol) is thick, smoky, beefy, ripe and extremely rich. Expect a palate-bruising, massive mix of smoke, meat and heat. If that’s your favorite style, this nails it.

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Basel Cellars Syrah - 2004

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
Basel’s classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc is fragrant and potent, with supple cassis and black cherry fruit holding lighter streaks of leaf and stem. Focused and well-defined, it does not use new oak or hints of sugar to hide its varietal character. Give it time to breathe and it will delight.

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Basel Cellars Red Blend - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
There is a slightly sour, slightly sweaty aspect to the nose, and it affects the palate as well. Behind it there are flavors of bubble gum, some lees contact, plenty of acid but nothing has yet completely knit together. 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon.

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Basel Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - 2006

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Expert NoteJanuary 12, 2012
This is suffused with a strong herbal streak that goes a little too far, hinting at asparagus. Despite a late release, the fruit continues to be in hiding, and the tannins are a bit green. Definitely a Cabernet to drink with a thick, grilled, smoky steak.

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Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - 2007

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