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bookcliffBookcliff Vineyards is one of the better known wineries in Colorado, in part because several of their wines won awards at the 2016 Governer’s Cup. Tasting their wines is a bit of unfinished business for me; their winery and tasting room is in Boulder so they were not on my itinerary last year during our visit to Grand Junction on the Western slope where the grapes are grown.

So I ordered two bottles out of curiosity.

Of the two wines I tasted, the most impressive was their blend of Syrah, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Souzao called Crescendo (2013). This is a gorgeous, soul-stirring wine. Intriguing notes of cinnamon and coriander with floral highlights mix with dark and red berry fruit to yield a nose of some complexity and depth. The palate is rich and luscious with full bodied mocha permeating the layers of dark fruit. A slightly angular edginess gives the wine lift introducing a medium length, radiant finish that brings together concentrated spice notes with fruit that persists until the end in a grand finale.  Toasted oak plays a subtle supporting role and do the softly resonating tannins. This is a very satisfying wine and quite unique with Syrah and Petite Verdot forming an unusual marriage that seems made in heaven. Large and dimensional while remaining winsome and captivating, it’s too bad Valentine’s Day is past.

The 2013 Ensemble, a Bordeaux-style blend was one of the award winners but only the 2014 (47% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon),  is now available. Vintage variation is significant in Colorado and perhaps the 2013 was meritorious but I found the 2014 disappointing. Dark plum laced with substantial coffee aromas dominate the nose with pencil lead and dusty earth in the background. The medium bodied palate shows more coffee and spice but they quickly give way to bracing, lemon-tart acidity which leaps out of the midpalate and takes over the experience. The wine has vitality and a core of juicy fruit but sour notes are unrelenting causing the finish to fall apart. Between excessive oak and sour acidity, I wanted a firmer fruit anchor from this blend. But at the reasonable price of $20 it offers good value if you prefer this style.  86 pts.

The Crescendo really does have one, and oh does it sing with this rendition of He Loves Me by Jill Scott

Score: 90

Price: $38

Alc: 13.5%

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