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K&L Staff Recommendations
2012 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc $14.99
2012 L'Avocat Rouge, Graves $14.99
2000 Brane-Cantenac, Margaux $129.99
2007 Malescasse, Haut-Medoc $14.99
You need look no further than Graves for a screamingly good example of ready-to-drink, Merlot-based red. Tobacco, oak and black currant aromas exude from this value-driven Bordeaux, which drinks like a bottle three times the price.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This large estate of 131 acres has been run brilliantly by a Belgian family, the Bonnies since their acquisition a number of years ago. The quality of the white and red have soared to exceptional heights, and this is certainly still one of the more realistically priced wines of Pessac-Lèognan and classified crus. The 2012 is a beauty, with a dense ruby/purple color, a fabulously plush, opulent texture and medium to full-bodied flavors of cassis, spicy earth and blueberry. Quite rich, yet light on its feet, this is an absolutely textbook Pessac-Lèognan, w ...Read More »
Château Bois-Malot is located in Saint Loubes and situated on the shoreline of the Dordogne River. The soils are clay and light limestone with a subsoil of red pebbles and clay. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc. It is aged for eighteen months in large vats and then an additional six months in oak. Won Best Of Class, Gold Medal, in the Los Angeles Wine & Spirits Competition, 2013.
90-92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This wine is made from property owned by the Bernard family of Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Léognan. It's a finely-made wine with great acidity and swathes of blackberry fruits. Well balanced and likely to age. (RV)" (4/2013) Wine Spectator: "Light loam and charcoal shadings line a core of plum skin and macerated blackberry fruit. A loamy edge lends a slightly chewy twinge to the finish. This has put on a bit of weight since the barrel tasting. (JM, Web-2015)"
Wine Enthusiast: "Still young, this wine is showing intense herbaceous characteristics that need to soften. Plenty of fruit between the texture needs to fill out. Hints of apples, pears and quince are all there. Drink from 2016. (RV)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon
Wine Spectator: "Not as big as I remember, but delicious. An aromatic '89 of rose petal, berry character. Medium-bodied, with medium-chewy tannins and a medium finish. (JS)" (5/1999)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot raised in 50% new oak and 50% one-year old barrels. The Capbern-Gasqueton 2009 has a very precise bouquet with ample red fruits: wild strawberry and raspberry with subtle earth and liquorice notes underneath and beginning to rise to the surface with each swirl of the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with good fruit concentration, slightly chalky tannins at this stage, good tension and mineralite coming through towards the finish with blacker fruits, one again with a hint of liquorice. Nice length and persis ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Cigar and tobacco smoke on the nose. Violet and floral on palate with good balance. Firm rugged tannins and a moderate length. (RP)" (4/2000)
Jancis Robinson: "*Good Value* Light nose. Racy and transparent and early maturing but clean and focused. Very Cabernet. Not fleshy." (9/2011) James Suckling: "Soft and drinkable now with plums and berries. Full body, velvety tannins and a delicious finish." (7/2014) Wine Spectator: "A smoldering tobacco leaf edge runs from start to finish, lending a nice foil to the core of mulled plum and blackberry fruit. Shows a flash of pepper on the finish. (JM)" (5/2012) K&L Notes: A property very close to Pauillac that is one to watch in the future. Well-made, value-driven wines with good depth and length.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Still young, with its dry tannins, this is a wine that has developed depth and concentration over the last 3-4 years. It has power, the berry fruits driving through the structure to give a layered, attractive, serious finish. (RV)" (6/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep ruby/plum/purple, with more sweetness to its fruit than normal, the 2005 Fourcas Hosten displays minerality, earth, spice, blackcurrants, and touches of oak and forest notes. (RP)" (6/2015) Wine Spectator: "Blackberry and mineral aromas and flavors follow through to a medium-to-full body, with chewy tannins and a m ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Château d’Issan, builds on the richness of the second wine and adds more body, structure and density. It has an inky purple color and a stunning nose of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as touches of incense and graphite. Medium to full-bodied and stunningly concentrated, this 2012 is a great success in the vintage, one of the superstars. Moreover, its precociousness suggests it could be drunk in the next 4-5 years or cellared through 2025. I underrated this wine dramatically in my report of April, 2013 (Issue 206). (RP) ...Read More »
91-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "No tasting note given." (4/2008) 93 points Wine Spectator: "This is pure and precise, showing rich apricot, peach and clementine flavors, but great cut too, with a mouthwatering edge that lets chamomile, green plum and honeysuckle notes dance through the finish. Gorgeous. (JM, Web-2011)" 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow-gold. Superripe but precise aromas of mirabelle, white nectarine and honey. Supersweet, deep and powerful, with a fat, honeyed character and terrific spicy persistence. A big boy but with lovely balance. (ST)" (7/2008)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A top-notch effort from proprietress Helene Garcin, Haut-Bergey’s 2004 exhibits an evolved, cedary, smoky, tobacco, and sweet cherry-scented bouquet offered in a medium-bodied, supple-textured style." (6/2007) Decanter: "Very ripe, modern style. Pronounced colour. Creamy, cassis cordiale and spice fragrance. Rich, chunky fruit with a firm tannic structure." (4/2005) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Red-ruby. Sexy, rather wild aromas of roasted raspberry and game. Supple but firm-edged, with good grip to the raspberry and mineral flavors. There's good fruit here but limited fat and a restrained sweetne ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "Soft and pretty now with currants, mineral and stone character. Medium to full body, rough tannins." (10/2015) K&L Notes: This second wine of Château Cantemerle is primarily sourced from younger vine parcels from the esteemed estate. The wine has a similar profile to the Grand Vin, but is ready to drink within several years of harvest. That's now! A quick decant reveals generous fruit and and good terroir that is always welcome for under $20. The blend is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot,and 10% Cabernet Franc. Even as a second wine, grapes were individually hand s... Read More »
92-94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Solid and concentrated, this wine certainly shows great dryness as well as fruit. It has power and density, and a texture that balances new wood as well as the fruitiness. (RV)" (4/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 is a successful effort once again from Château Gloria, a property that has been on a major qualitative roll for decades. Dense ruby/purple in color, it has sweet, juicy, blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, no real evidence of any oak, but a fleshy, open-knit, meaty mouthfeel. Excellent purity, low acidity and ripe tannin all characterize this beautiful wine... (R ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Blackberry and blueberry character. Currants too. Full body, lots of velvety tannins and a long and intense finish. Solid here. Better in 2016." (7/2014) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Rock solid, with a gutsy frame of roasted apple wood and a full-bodied core of plum, boysenberry and black currant fruit. Dense and chewy, displaying spice-studded grip on the finish that courses along vivaciously. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2020. (Web Only - 2013) (JM)" 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "From a property owned by Patrick Bernard of négociant Millésima, this shows the result ...Read More »
91-93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a densely tannic wine with juiciness showing quite tardily through the tannins. The wine has a very dry, firm character with acidity that finishes on a bright, fresh note. (RV)" (4/2013) 90 points James Suckling: "Some berry and currant character with hints of sandalwood follows through to a medium body, integrated tannins and a clean finish. This is well crafted for the vintage. Drink or hold." (2/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Ripe dark-fruit aroma with just a slight leafy lift. Lovely freshness and gentle harmony. No shouting but everything in place. Juicy fresh finish." (10/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 53% Cabe ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This special selection, tight-cropped from 30 acres of 100% Merlot, is ripe and rich. This is a smoky and fruity wine, in barrel for 14 months. It has ripe black fruits and rich, dense structure. Spice and toast balance the fruit, giving an impressive sense of generosity. Drink from 2017. (RV)" (12/2014) 90 points James Suckling: "A wine displaying raspberries, violets, cacao and creamy notes. This is a full-bodied red with round tannins, crisp acidity and a long, fresh finish." (2/2015) Jancis Robinson: "(Made by the wife of Matthieu Chardonnier and presented personally to me by the ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "This delivers the profile of the vintage, with spice-infused raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry fruit coursing along nicely, followed by delineated anise and spice notes, all carried by a racy graphite spine. Rock-solid and nicely balanced, this should age elegantly. Best from 2014 through 2024. (JM, Web-2013)" 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A balanced and structured wine that shows fine acidity, berry fruits and dashing acidity. With the balance already there, it is developing well in barrel, promising a stylish wine down the road. (RV)" (6/2011) 90 points James Suckling: "This is very silky and refined, with b ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A big time sleeper of the vintage from Fronsac, this beauty from proprietor Jean-Noel Herve has hit the bull’s eye. A dark ruby/purple color is accompanied by notes of black currants, sweet cherries, crushed rocks, and a distinctive minerality. It is a medium to full-bodied, structured effort with sweet tannin, decent acidity, and oodles of fruit as well as richness. (RP)" (6/2007) Wine Spectator: "Aromas of black cherries, flowers and fresh herbs follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with firm tannins and a solid fruit and mineral finish. Needs a little time. Best aft ...Read More »
Third label of Chateau Haut-Bailly. This wine is so good-fabulous minerality on the nose and palate.
From the importer: "Chateau Cap de Merle is a delicious St-Emilion that represents excellent value. The owners and winemakers — brothers Alain and Jean-Marie Bel — use no wood in vinifying Cap de Merle so its pure, rich and savory Merlot fruit comes through directly upon tasting. The winery’s excellent plateau vineyard on sandstone soil assures optimal ripeness of fruit and supple tannins...2012 is a superb vintage at Cap de Merle. It saw the continuation of the advances in the Bel’s winemaking, aimed at making Cap de Merle even more deeply colored, fres... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Incredible chalk and salt character with minerala and cocoa as well as berries. Full-bodied, tightly wound and long. So much going on. From Hong Kong’s Kwok family who also own Haut-Brisson in St. Emilion. This is the first year they made. Located next door to Barde-Haut. Better in 2017. Exciting new wine." (2/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An attractive wine from another member of the Chinese Kwok family, the 2012 Tour Saint Christophe has a dense ruby/purple color, appealing cassis and blackcurrant fruit, medium body, foresty floral notes, wood and spice. The color is deep and t ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A tasty effort from the Reiffers family, this 2007 (70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits dusty, earthy notes, a lush, medium-bodied style, and abundant black cherry fruit, herb, and spice characteristics. It is deep and medium-bodied...(RP)" (4/2010) Wine Spectator: "Berry and black olive on the nose and palate. Medium-bodied, with firm tannins and a medium-to-light finish. (JS, Web-2008)"
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This has really come on since the futures tastings in 2008. Today, the wine shows pedigree, the dusty tannins ripe, fitting well with the spice, acidity and soft, generous fruit. Concentration comes through from the solid final fruit flavors. (RV)" (4/2010) Wine Spectator: "Blackberry and hints of spices on the nose lead to a full body...(JS, Web-2010)" K&L Notes: This property does not exist anymore as its vineyards go into the Labegorce label.
91-93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Barrel sample. If you're looking for great, ripe black currant fruits, this is where to come. The wine is full and hugely fruity, but it still manages a good Bordeaux sense of proportion." (6/2006) Jancis Robinson: "Smokiness dominates the nose at the moment but there’s still evidence of fresh and aromatic cassis underneath. Rich and yet juicy. A slightly leafy aftertaste may not to be everyone’s taste but it does finish fresh. (JH)" (12/2007) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Coufran is much more concentrated than normal, with a big, rich, black cherry, earthy, spicy mouthfeel. Medium-bodied, with a ...Read More »
90-91 points James Suckling: "This shows a lovely core of fruits with chocolate and berry. Full body, with a tender tannin structure. First red vintage from here for new owners who also own Smith-Haut-Lafitte. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon." (4/2013) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby/plum/purple 2012 exhibits notes of graphite, cedar wood, roasted herbs and sweet red and black currants. This medium-bodied, elegant yet rich wine should drink well for a decade or more. This 22-acre property was recently acquired by the owners of Smith Haut Lafitte, Daniel and Florence Cathiard. Sandwiched between the ...Read More »
88-91 points Wine Spectator: "Bracing lime and tarragon notes are allied to a lean frame, with tangy sel gris accents rippling through the finish. Offers a bony, chiseled feel. (JM, Web-2015)" 88-90 points Vinous: "The 2014 Reynon Blanc, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, shows lovely varietal character with more of an emphasis on texture rather than grassy/green flavors. Citrus and floral notes come forward in an attractive, aromatic white to drink young. There is a lot to like in this expressive Sauvignon Blanc from proprietors Denis et Florence Dubourdieu. Best of all, the Blanc should be a fabulous value. (AG) ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Warm, spicy and sweetly oaky. Ripe damsons on the mid palate. Very nice harmony of fruit and structure, and just fresh enough." (10/2011) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep ruby. Complex nose features delicate, almost Margaux-like aromas of cassis, fresh tomato, clove, damp earth and dried underbrush. Then smooth and sweet on the palate and weightier than the nose suggests, with a velvety texture to the cassis and blackberry flavors. Very fine tannins and a saline nuance add interest on the moderately long finish. A very good wine that owing to its ripe fruit flavors is easier to ident ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Intense aromas of orange peel, blackberries and hints of mushrooms. Full body, with a solid core of soft and velvety tannins and a fruity finish. Well structured. One of the best wines from here in years. Try after 2017." (2/2012) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The final blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was cropped very low at 35 hectoliters per hectare. Deep purple, with a nose of subtle smoke, graphite, blueberry and black raspberry fruit as well as some spring flowers, in the mouth a touch of oak makes an appearance, but the win ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There are 100,000 bottles of this beautiful sleeper of the vintage, which offers terrific value. The proprietor is the son of Bernard Magrez, who has crafted a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc. Fruity and Bordeaux-like, with notes of tobacco leaf, blueberries, black raspberries and incense, this explosively fruity, delicious, complex wine is relatively easy to consume yet should continue to drink well for 7-8 years, if not longer. (RP)" (2/2013) Wine Spectator: "A forward, flattering style, offering quite lush raspberry and plum sauce ...Read More »
92-93 points James Suckling: "This is so good already. What an amazing precision of fruit for this wine, with a blackberry and blueberry character as well as minerals. Full and super silky with lovely fruit. Gourmand. Tasty. I want to drink it. Always great value!" (4/2011) 92 points Vinous: "Fully saturated inky-ruby. Somewhat oak-dominated on the nose presently, with aromas of red cherry, rose petal, graphite and brown spices. Rich and lush but less obviously fruit-driven than usual in this vintage, combining sweeter mocha and earth tones with ripe delicate dark fruit flavors. The slightly granular, mo ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points James Suckling: "A wine with berry and wet earth character. Medium body, soft and velvety tannins, plus a spicy, dried fruit finish. Lots of dark chocolate too. Drink or hold." (9/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Loads of berry fruit intermixed with some roasted herbs, spice box and licorice can be found in this excellent Haut-Medoc, which has medium body, lots of fragrance and very pure flavors. Drink it over the next 5-7 years. (RP)" (2/2012) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark ruby-red. Enticing nose hints at sweet blackberry, cedar and flinty minerals. Balanced and fine-grained, with flavors of ripe plum and raspberry syrup and ...Read More »
2014 Dry white Bordeaux wines are fantastic and with the strong dollar this wine is a no-brainer. We tasted it on our last night in Bordeaux in April 2015. From Bill Blatch's old company Vintex, this wine has good richness and flavor with that great 2014 acidity.
The second wine of Château Guiraud and made by Xavier Planty, Château Guiraud's oenologist since 1982. It is a modern style with a high proportion of Sauvignon Blanc (approximately one third), made from a blend of lots fermented in stainless steel (for minerality and freshness), and new French oak barrels, which promote the development of richness, body, and intensity of flavor on the palate. Guiraud has employed organic farming methods since 1996, and obtained organic certification in 2011.
95 points Decanter: "Intense, focused, cedary nose. Super-ripe and sumptuous, highly concentrated, but has spice and vigour to counter the fruit. Massive, pungent; full of life and nuance. Long, vibrant finish. Drink from 2012. (19 points)" (11/2010) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Upgraded in score over my original rating, which was several points lower, Alfred Tesseron has done a remarkable job since 1994 with Pontet-Canet, which has been hitting first-growth levels since 2003. But the 2000 also shows exceptionally well. In need of another decade of cellaring, this dense purple wine has a classic nose of i ...Read More »
88-91 points Wine Spectator: "Barrel tasting: Very pure, with chiseled lime, mâche and lemon curd notes, showing a flash of white asparagus on the finish. Still tight, but the solid length bodes well. (Web-2015)" 88-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Clos Floridene Blanc 2014 has a very composed nose in the making. This is keeping everything back, but there is appreciable delineation with citrus peel, white peach and apple peel aromas. The palate is crisp and fresh with good acidity, just a little rasping on the finish but there is commendable length and a sense of energy here. This will probably represent great value. ...Read More »
Ch. L’Avocat is from the small commune of Cerons, which is located just north of Barsac and Sauternes in the southern Graves appellation. I met Nicola Allison at a small conference of Women from Bordeaux and Napa Valley in Napa earlier. She followed my advice by sending her wines to our hotel in April to be tasted and Clyde and I liked them. I followed up by visiting the estate almost 8 weeks later and was shown the gravely, plateau vineyards by her husband Sean who manages the vines. The vineyards were purchased by the Allisons in 2002; the fruit was pr... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe and juicy, this offers bright acidity and ripe, soft tannins. It's a generous wine, full of black currant fruits and conveying a sweet character. It's to drink soon. (RV)" (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "The red currant and pomegranate notes mix with a modestly juicy edge on the savory-tinged finish. (JM, Web-2013)"
Wine Spectator: "Slightly austere, but has interesting aromas of plum pit and flowers. Medium to full-bodied, with firm tannins and a medium finish...Traditional in style, but interesting. (JS, Web-2004)"
98 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#3 on Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2012* A major success of the vintage. The wine exhibits extreme richness of the fruit, with all its sweet blackberry flavors. It also has underlying firm structure, density and solid tannins. Bring in the acidity at the end, and this is both impressive and ready for long-term aging." (2/2012) 96 points James Suckling: "Very floral, with fresh mushrooms and currants on the nose. Full body, with powerful tannins, yet polished and refined. Lovely length. Vibrant acidity. Well structured. Try after 2018." (2/2012) 95 points Wine Spectator: "*#6 on Wine Spectator ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Fruit-forward aromas turn to spices and warm stones. Full body, with chewy tannins and a juicy finish. Really delicious young wine. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2016." (2/2013) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Château Brown continues its impressive push to quality with this fine 2010. It brings demonstrates the structure of the year with its firm, youthful tannins. But it also shows plentiful black-currant flavor, layered with acidity. Classic and serious, this is a wine for aging." (2/2013) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Shows good range, with red and black currant fruit playing off each other ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Extremely well done for the vintage with very pretty fruit, firm yet polished tannins and a caressing finish. It's full-bodied, with super integrated fruit and tannins and an intense finish. Best ever from here. Better in 2015." (3/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A sleeper of the vintage, this 2010 is a relatively evolved, seductive style of wine from Lamarque (a beautiful moated chateau in central Medoc). Offering notes of damp earth, tobacco leaf, spice box, red and black currants, and incense, it is best consumed over the next 4-5 years. (RP)" (2/2013) K&L Notes: 91 points, Wine Advocate's ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The flagship wine from the Decoster family, this blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon has been a hugely successful wine since they acquired this 58-acre estate and revolutionized the level of quality. This is consistently one of the best St.-Emilions and over-achieving for its classification. The 2012 has pure, striking aromatics of blueberry, black raspberry, minerals and flowers. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and multi-dimensional, with a beautiful texture, this is stunning wine that completely dominates its classification a ...Read More »
93-94 points James Suckling: "A very tangy and bright white with intense white peach, grapefruit and mineral character. Full body, crisp acidity. Gorgeous. One of the best Carbonnieux ever." (4/2014) 91-93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Barrel Sample.* A rich and rounded wine, this shines with pineapple and citrus flavors. It is full-bodied and likely to age well, with a mineral texture." (4/2015) 92 points Wine Spectator: "This has lots of energy, with enticing thyme and tarragon notes flecking the core of lemon zest, white peach, tangerine and straw flavors. The long salted butter finish crackles with life. Rock-solid, and will be fun to cellar fo ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Gorgeous nose of warm stones and dark fruits. Full body with a solid core of fruit and chewy tannins, and a long and intense finish. Best ever." (7/2012) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The best ever wine from this estate (even better than their sensational 2005), this full-bodied wine offers notes of blueberry, black currant, asphalt and burning charcoal embers in a deep, layered and multi-dimensional style. It is impressively pure and well-built, with far greater concentration and length than I ever remember this wine having in the past. Forget it for 5 years and drink it over the foll ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "The just-bottled 2014 Les Charmes-Godard is vibrant and beautifully layered in the glass. Pear, brioche, peach and smoke meld together in a highly expressive, textured Sauvignon/Sémillon blend that captures the combination of richness and lively acidity that make this vintage so attractive for whites. Winemaker David Suire favors larger 500-liter barrels, which help to keep the flavors bright as there is less exchange with oxygen than there is with standard size barriques. Once again, Les Charmes-Godard is one of the vintage's under the radar jewels. The ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Tobacco nose with richness. Clean and light and evolved..." (11/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sweet cherry, dusty, loamy soil, and forest floor-like characteristics make an appearance in this medium-bodied, elegant, pretty...2004. Enjoy its charm and suppleness...(RP)" (6/2007)