Department 66 Pharaon 2014
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Smokey, sweet oak escapes the glass followed by powerful aromas of black plum, blackberry pie, vanilla bean, violets and freshly cut flowers - all enveloped by a hint of dust and pencil lead. The entry is massive and lush with ripe red fruits, black raspberry, currant and pronounced minerality. Overall, the finish is concentrated yet balanced with beams of acidity and seamlessly integrated tannins that linger on the palate. The top wine is the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Pharaon, and it’s a barrel selection that ended up being an even split of Grenache and Syrah that was aged in 75% new French oak. About as sexy and textured as they come in the vintage, this beautiful 2014 offers lots of crème de cassis, black raspberry, chocolate and peppery nuances to go with a full-bodied, luxuriously textured, hedonistic slant on the palate. Despite the ripeness level, it stays fresh and lively, with notable underlying structure.