Tasting Note                         

88   2004 Chateau Grande Cassagne Hippolyte          9/28/08 ($13)

13.5% alc.  - mostly Syrah with some Mourvedre
Color: Deep garnet. (3.0) Bouquet: Leather, gamy red meat and cedar on top of stewed cherry and dried blackberry fruit. Very ripe, warm climate fruit with some cooking spices thrown in. I'd like to see more pure fruit and less oak, but very aromatic. (3.0) Body: Light heavyweight with excellent fruit and very good structure. Fills the mouth. (3.0) Flavor: Parallels bouquet, but cedary oak is more prevalent, resulting in some bitterness. (2.5) Finish: Parallels flavor. Definitely has some persistence to it. (2.5)
Overall: This red from just outside of Southern Rhone "proper", delivers a lot of bang for the buck. It has excellent fruit concentration and overall body, combined with Rhone-like terroir, but it's a little too pumped-up by oak. Not to the point of being obnoxious, but I just wonder if more distinctive character would come through if less oak was used. Still very enjoyable now and could improve in the next few years. Great with red meat, pasta, stews or pizza. (14.0)