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2008 Wakefield Riesling – Clare Valley, Australia

This is a very citrusy Riesling, sending out waves of tart citrus, lemon, lime, a touch of pink grapefruit, all wrapped in green apple peel. Flavors are reminiscent of Sauvignon blanc but the more viscous mouth-feel hints at Riesling. It is a pleasant food-friendly wine, but not one that would stand out among similarly priced Rieslings, for it lacks any special Riesling qualities.
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2008 kopriva Unoaked Chardonnay – Carneros, California

You may not recognize this wine as Chardonnay if you’ve only been exposed to the heavy oak and butter first popularized by some California wineries. Made without oak aging or malolactic fermentation, it is more like a new white varietal, and an alternative to dry whites such as Sauvignon blanc or Pinot grigio. This is pale, metallic, and straw-colored but quite clear. That color carries through in another sense on the nose with slight dry straw and additional citrusy hints. Grapefruit, pineapple, and hints of other fruits ranging from tangy to tropical in concert with mineral notes. On the palate it is fruity at the front, mouth-filling in the middle, with a crisp acetic flourish at the back. Leaving the wine in contact with its lees (yeast sediment) for four months gives this Chardonnay its pleasurable mouth feel. 239 cases produced. Read the full review on Simple Hedonisms.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.
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2008 Juan Gil Monastrell – Jumilla, Spain

A knockout of a red wine from the somewhat obscure Jumilla region of Spain. Made from Monastrell, known in France as Mourvèdre, it is high in alcohol (15%) and presents a heady mix of lush and brawny characteristics. Lovely nose of crushed blackberries with tones of vanilla and Indian spice, primarily turmeric. It situates well on the palate with a solid tannic structure to hold it up. Finishes a bit hard, but that will likely soften with time. I really like this wine, and the price is right. Try it with classic Spanish tapas, like a nutty manchego with Serrano ham.
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2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge Vineyard – Mendocino

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.