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97 J.J. Prüm 2005 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer); $NA. This offering has the house’s trademark yeasty, leesy scents, but also layer after layer of dense, slaty fruit balanced by crisp acidity. It’s a bit sweet for most dishes, but pairing it with foie gras or mild cheeses will allow it to shine. —J.C.
94 Kenneth-Crawford 2004 Lafond Vineyard Syrah (Sta. Rita Hills); $32. The vineyard is routinely a source for powerful, high-alcohol Syrahs, and this is a great example. It’s a massive wine with cherry, black pepper, cassis, plum liqueur, milk chocolate and spice flavors, coated with decadent, vanilla-infused oak. Offering endless tiers of flavor and mouthfeel, the wine changes with each sip. —S.H.
90 2 Up 2005 Shiraz (South Australia); $14. From the makers of Kangarilla Road but from purchased McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Peninsula fruit, this is an outstanding value. It’s a high-intensity Aussie Shiraz, powerful but not without nuance, combining smoky, meaty scents with blackberry and spice, even some white pepper on the finish. —J.C.