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2006 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

This delightful Chard opened with rich aromas and flavors of apple and burnt butter, balanced with tart lemon grass. It undergoes 60% malolactic fermentation and spends 16 months in neutral barrels. Enjoy this rich, tart, wonderfully balanced Chardonnay with cornish game hen.
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2006 Bodegas y Vinedos del Mediterraneo Lujuria

Lujuria hails from Yecla, a lesser-known region than its immediate neighbors, Jumilla, Almansa and Alicante. This wine is considerably more complex on the nose than expected, with aromas of jammy dark red and black fruits, dill, licorice, coffee and a dusty component. Although a bit simpler on the palate, the red and black fruits, coffee and herbaceous elements come through and tie in nicely with its acid and tannins. Easily a Tuesday-night-with-leftovers wine that I’d buy again.
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A Trip to the Rhône, Part II

A long weekend in the Northern Rhône would give us a chance to taste from the major producers—Chapoutier, Jaboulet Aîné, Guigal—and from a few of the smaller ones, too. The trip would serve as a kind of a reconnaissance, a chance to test, and sample, the waters, and to get a sense of what tasting wine in France is like.