Category Archives: Wine Review

PICK of the RACK: Lail Vineyards | Blueprint | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $50 | 91 pts

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Aromas:  blackcurrant; black tea; pencil shavings Character: dry; full-bodied; silky and elegant; dusty tannins; medium acidity; forward oak Flavors:  black- and blue-berries; sweet cured tobacco; touches of tarragon and spice; mineral undercurrent Food Pairing:  crisped pork belly; beef shortribs; crispy duck; roasted pork … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Chateau Pipeau | Red Blend | Saint-Emilion | Bordeaux | France | 2008 | $35 | 89 pts

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Aromas: clove, baking spices; dark, dried berries; oak Character:  dry; intense; full-bodied; earthy; leathery tannins; mild acids; medium oak Flavors:  black pepper; clove; toast; iron; dark, dried berries; cedar Food Pairing:  grilled meats – beef, lamb, chicken   Chateau Pipeau … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Madrigal Vineyards | Petite Sirah | Napa Valley | California | 2007 | $33 | 92 pts

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Aromas:  black & blueberry; vanilla bean; toasted coconut. Character:  dry; fruit-driven; rich, lush and full-bodied;  chewy tannins; medium acidity; soft oak. Flavors: ripe dark berries & fruits; vanilla bean; black pepper; dark chocolate-covered coconut. Food Pairing: grilled meats; roasts; game; wonderful by itself.   A Wine on … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Cedarville Vineyard | Cabernet Sauvignon | El Dorado County | California | 2007 | $29 | 90 pts

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Aromas:  deep, black cherry; cocoa; vanilla. Character:  dry; rich & full-bodied; fruit & earth in balance; medium tannins; medium acidity; well integrated oak. Flavors:  black currant; sweet cured tobacco; black tea; pepper & spice; graphite. Food Pairing:  sharp cheeses; steak; grilled … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Cedarville Vineyard | Grenache | El Dorado County | California | 2008 | $25 | 88 pts

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Aromas:  vibrant red berry fruit; chocolate; sandalwood. Character:  dry; fruit-driven; mid-weight; smooth mouthfeel; low tannin; medium acidity; light oak. Flavors: brandied cherries; cinnamon; tinge of mineral. Food Pairing:  soft, creamy cheeses; grilled meats & fish; tomato-based pasta dishes; delicious without food.   I recently had … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Scott Harvey Wines | Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel | Amador County | California | 2008 | $45 | 89 pts

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Aromas:  fresh raspberries; graphite. Character:  dry; fruit-driven; mid-weight; smooth mouth-feel; low tannin; medium acidity; light oak. Flavors:  red berries; cinammon; vanilla; black pepper; mineral. Food Pairing:  Creamy, soft cheeses; grilled meats & fish; tomato-based pasta dishes.   Scott Harvey’s newest Vineyard … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: KitFox Vineyards | Proprietary Red Wine “Foxy” | California | 2010 | $15 | 82 pts

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Aromas:  deep cherry liquor; spearmint; allspice. Character:  dry; fruit-driven; mid-weight; soft mouthfeel; low tannins; light acids; light oak. Flavors:  ripe cherries-n-cream; dusting of cocao; spearmint; plum and smoke. Food Pairing:  pizza & pasta; BBQ; hotdogs on the grill; easy-drinking on its own.   … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Pali Wine Co. | Pinot Noir | “Summit” | Santa Rita Hills | Santa Barbara County | California | 2010 | $29 | 90 pts

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Aromas:  blackberries; boysenberries; spice. Character:  fruit-driven; rich & full-bodied; luscious mouthfeel; medium tannins; robust acidity; subtle oak. Flavors:  dark fruit compote; flinty minerality; dusting of dark chocolate. Food Pairing:  dry, sharp cheeses; roasted chicken; tenderloin of beef or pork.   Here’s an assertive, voluptuous, … Continue reading

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GREAT VALUE ALERT: Lost Sonnet Meritage | Napa Valley | California | 2007 | $10 | 84 pts

For those of you who are fortunate to have a Trader Joe’s store nearby (in a state that allows them to sell wine), try a bottle of this pleasant red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%), Merlot (22%), and Cabernet Franc (20%).  As … Continue reading

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WINE in FOCUS: The New World of Portuguese Wine

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Portugal has a long, storied history in winemaking. The country sits at the geographical crossroads of several civilizations, and its winemaking traditions have been shaped by Continental, North African, and English influences. Thanks to the latter, who centuries ago invented … Continue reading

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PICK of WINE COUNTRY: Story Winery | Amador County | California

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Story Winery is a shimmering nugget in California’s Gold Country. Nestled in the rustic reaches of the state’s very own Shenandoah Valley ~ a growing hub of winemaking in the Sierra Foothills wine region on the eastern edge of the … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Chateau Ste. Michelle | Indian Wells | Cabernet Sauvignon | Washington State | Columbia Valley | 2008 | $18 | 87 pts

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Aromas:  candied plum; vanilla; spice Character:  dry; full-bodied; moderate tannins and acidity; oaky Flavors:  blackberry; cured tobacco; dark chocolate; raspberry jam Food Pairing:  sharp cheeses; steak; hearty dishes   In my perennial search for high-quality “everyday” wines, I somehow keep coming back … Continue reading

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