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2008 Castello Vicchiomaggio “Vigna La Prima” Chianti Classico Riserva

A wine so rich, and so expressive of the essence of the region I told John Matta it should be called “Eaux de Tuscany” (the French not withstanding). Deep, dark purpose, almost opaque, with a nose of smoke and truffles. Highly concentrated flavors of ripe blackberries with soft tannins. Absolutely luscious and the star of the trip as far as everyone was concerned. Certainly the finest expression of a great Chianti I have ever tasted. Drink with pasta with meat ragù or grilled T-bone. Very highly recommended. GT
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2008 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Hohenrain Riesling

Pale but very bright golden in color. The nose is very quite floral, white flowers over stone fruit. Just-ripe peach, some apples, and honeysuckle lead on the palate. It is a bit flaccid on the mid-palate, then picks back up with some lemon-citrus tart on the finish. Off-dry, it pairs well with a lobster roll to pair sweet to sweet, or spicy fried oysters for contrast. Recommended. DH
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2008 Veranda Cabernet-Carménère

A well-made wine that shows both component grapes off very favorably. Intriguing nose of cedar, blackcurrant, thyme, and allspice. Blossoms open on the palate (after about 15 minutes to breathe, perhaps longer) with gobs of ripe fruit ferrying cranberry and blackberry overtones. A bit short in the mid-palate, with the lean Carménère a bit more dominant, but has a long, luscious finish. An interesting wine at a good price. Try with glazed pork chop or roast. Recommended. GT
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Brooks Willamette Valley Riesling

Clear, medium-deep intensity straw gold. Clean on the nose with medium intensity aromas of honey, dried florals, minerality, baked stone fruit, and cooked pear. A slight hint of oxidation. Dry on the palate with medium to medium-full body and medium-high acidity. Rich, bright, crisp flavors: fresh apple, candied lemon rind, lime, tangerine, and a light minerality on the medium-long finish. Rich enough to pair with something heady; bright acidity, but not lean. Highly recommended. RR
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2008 Brooks Willamette Valley Riesling

Clear, medium-deep intensity straw gold. Clean on the nose with medium intensity aromas of honey, dried florals, minerality, baked stone fruit, and cooked pear. A slight hint of oxidation. Dry on the palate with medium to medium-full body and medium-high acidity. Rich, bright, crisp flavors: fresh apple, candied lemon rind, lime, tangerine, and a light minerality on the medium-long finish. Rich enough to pair with something heady; bright acidity, but not lean. Highly recommended. RR
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2008 Girard Signature

The nose is a little tight, suggesting blueberries and tobacco along with a light background of red fruits and licorice. It offers some interesting complexity in the palate, too, with loads of dark fruit, blackberry, elderberry, and blueberry, with a bright red fruit background. The mid-palate has coffee and licorice, the finish adds unsweetened chocolate. Tannins are very sweet, mouth-feel is very smooth. Complexity seems to come from fruit (plus, perhaps, some extraction), not from wood. The wood effect is clear but light, adding touches of spice but not overwhelming the original juice. It would be at home with a steak or a great burger, or a fireplace and a friend. Highly recommended. DH
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Palate Press Wine of the Week (August 22-26): 2008 Stoller Vineyards Chardonnay

The grapes from this vineyards also end up in several other prestigious Oregon Chardonnays, so I was eager to try this. The aromas are light, floral, almond shell, and the flavors solidly reminiscent of a good, medium weight white Burgundy. There’s a lemony vein throughout that gets stronger in the finish. Touches of vanilla, oak, and cedar spice emerge as the wine warms in the glass. Recommended. BSE
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2008 Stoller Vineyards Chardonnay

The grapes from this vineyards also end up in several other prestigious Oregon Chardonnays, so I was eager to try this. The aromas are light, floral, almond shell, and the flavors solidly reminiscent of a good, medium weight white Burgundy. There’s a lemony vein throughout that gets stronger in the finish. Touches of vanilla, oak, and cedar spice emerge as the wine warms in the glass. Recommended.