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2007 Pierre Gaillard Faugères “Transhumance”

Cows and sheep trekking down from the mountains have nothing to do with the “Transhumance” name of the wine; instead it’s the winemaker himself who makes the journey from the Northern Rhone down to the Languedoc region in the south of France. There, he has produced an earthy, smoky, syrah-based wine. A bit of the wild landscape there shows in a splash of minty herbs that appear toward the tail end of the aromas and drift into the flavors, to accompany the smoldering deep red berries that persist into the finish. Nice, hearty, integrated tannins in this five-year-old wine. Recommended. BSE.
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2009 Roth Estate Merlot

Sweet and fruity is the feel of this wine. Very fruity, with caramelized fruit in aroma and flavors and finish. On the palate, there’s also some unripe plum along with its light woody tannins. Fairly uncomplicated and easy to drink as an aperitif. Serve cool. Recommended with reservations. BSE
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2010 Echelon Pinot Grigio

Honeyed aromas, very fruity, with honeyed, peachy flavors, and honey even in the finish. Fruit and citrus overwhelm the crispness you’d expect to find in a wine made from pinot grigio grapes. It’s a nice example of a modern sweet wine, probably a crowd-pleaser, but not really a pinot grigio. Maybe they should rename it? Recommended with reservations. BSE
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2009 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco

After I realized that this was a screwcap that looked like a metal capsule covering a cork, I twisted off the cap and found that this Alois Legeder wine is much more than clever marketing for the bottle. When the wine is cold it has delicate aromas: florals, minerals, chalk, with hints of the same in the wine’s flavors. Overall it’s a light, bright and very pleasing wine when very chilled. As the wine warms in the glass it opens and the flavors become rounded, a lovely example of a northern white with a subtle peachiness to it. Moderate finish with a hint of flint, too. Highly Recommended. BSE
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2007 Castello di Nipozzano Mormoretto

For Mormoretto’s 25th anniversary, the Frescobaldi family has created a vivid super-Tuscan style blend. Beginning with violets, tobacco and wild herbs in the aroma. On the palate, nice targeted tannins are curled around the blended flavors of fruit and leather. This wine is just beginning to come into its own, and tastes like it will develop further as it ages. Recommended. BSE
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2010 Echelon Red Blend

Aromas of wild herbs growing on dry, late summer California hillsides – wild thyme, sage, juniper. At first it feels thinnish on the palate, but that’s only because the tannins are integrated into the dark fruit in a more refined manner than expected. Wild herbs show up in the finish too, but then it ends almost sweet. Highly recommended. BSE