Also remarkable, the 2009 Cuvée Keltie leans more toward a Chave style of Hermitage, particularly their Cuvée Cathelin. An inky/black color is followed by abundant notes of creme de cassis, roast beef, blackberries, bouquet garni and graphite. This extremely full-bodied, dense 2009 saturates the palate with intensity, and the finish lasts for nearly 60 seconds. This gorgeous 2009 should drink well for 15+ years... This is one of the most impressive Rhône Ranger winemaking estates in California. They have also expanded their portfolio to make small quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. For me, the real glories of Donelan Family Wines are their Syrahs. As the tasting notes suggest, 2011 turned out well here despite the challenges. However, if you can still track down a bottle or two of the 2009s and 2010s, you are in for something very special. Joe Donelan believes their finest wine, representing the best vineyard parcels and top barrel selections is the Cuvée Keltie, which normally comes from specific sub-sections of such vineyard sources as Obsidian, Richard’s Family, Steiner Ranch and Walker Vine Hill. Kudos to Donelan Family Wines! (RP) 98+
A relatively elegant and civilized version of this cuvée, the 2009 Donelan Syrah Cuvée Keltie, 100% Syrah fermented with 100% whole cluster and aged all in neutral French oak, delivers a savory, slightly exotic bouquet of pure blackberry and crème de cassis that's intermixed with notions of freshly cracked black pepper, underbrush, hints of game, and lit gun powder. This is followed up by a medium to full-bodied wine that has a light, seamless, and overriding elegant texture, gorgeous balance and purity, polished tannin, and a finish where the class and quality of the wine shows. Surprisingly accessible and ready to go (with a decant), this should continue to shine and drink beautifully for a decade or longer. 94+
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