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les quartzThis Grenache-dominated Rhone blend has the guts of a warrior and the charm of a child. There is a sweetheart ready to break out but it will take time.

Aromas of dried cherry and red raspberry compote compete for attention. The compote wins, leavened by lovely lavender and sage blended with freshly turned soil and cherrywood an occasional visitor. This nose is expressive and promises great fruit power, only to deliver a deluge of minerality on the palate.

It opens with pleasant round, ripe fruit but quickly compresses into a linear, edgy plane of crushed rock that cuts like a sharpened conversation. The tannins launch early with a powdery texture but acquire a rustic medium grain as the complex finish reveals notes of bitter, dark chocolate and cranberry. Medium weight, the linear, mineral seam is encased in a stocky frame with a sense of depth and richness more implied than tasted.

I would lay this one down. With lots of stuffing but still pretty wild, it will get interesting as it gets civilized. It’s a much better value than many overpriced bottlings from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Aggressive and distraught despite the occasional flash of a smile lyrical and warm, its complex personality resonates with Hurry on Home from Sleater Kinney’s latest effort.

Technical notes: 85% Grenache, 15% Syrah, these vineyards are surrounded by Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, but were not included in the appellation. Grapes from 50 yr. old vines were grown bio-dynamically and fermented with native yeasts. The Grenache was aged in foudre, the Syrah in barrique.

Score: 93 considering its aging potential

Price: $30

Alc: 15%