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2008 Whitman Cellars Viognier

Clear, bright, medium straw yellow; Clean nose with medium intensity white flowers, candied citrus rind, apricot, sweet hay, yellow apple, and hotdog water (not bad! this is a classic Viognier marker for me!); Dry on the palate with medium-full body, medium acid, medium alcohol, medium flavors of yellow apple, peach skin, honeysuckle, candied lemon; rich texture and a medium-long finish. Pair with pan seared tofu glazed with spicy peach preserves.
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2008 Bonny Doon Le Pousseur

A typical offering from Randall Grahm, a winemaker who doesn’t like to do things by halves.  Have to mention the also usual intriguing Bonny Doon packaging—in this case,  a label reminiscent of a medieval tarot card.  Strong notes of black cherry, chocolate, and nutmeg on the nose. Big, expressive blackberry fruit and herb (thyme) on the palate with fine structure to carry it home to a long finish. Hard not to like this one. Try with something from the grill—I think a bit of smoke and char would pair well here. Highly recommended.
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2008 White Rose Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Fermented with 40% whole cluster in 10-15% new French oak. This showed darker fruits typical of 2008 Willamette Valley, getting more tart and adding citrus peel and spice on the mid-palate, Spanish orange and cloves. Minerality and some smoky meat flavors came through on the finish. This will be very nice after some time, perhaps three or four years in the cellar. Food choices can go in two different directions, double up the spice with marinated flank steak, or create a spice-to-fat counterpoint by pairing it with a nice ribeye. Highly recommended.
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2008 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte

This white Bordeaux spent 12 months in 50% new barrels. The nose was shy, the color almost clear. On the palate it was subtle and soft, offering tropical fruit on the attack, getting tart as it lingered on the palate, but never overpowering. Acids are not prevalent, so drink it now, with garlic crab. Recommended.
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2008 Château Pape Clément

This still-young wine spent 18-22 months in new barrels. Soft tannins outweigh acids. Primary flavors are tart red fruit, cranberry and rhubarb, with some dark cherry in the background, evolving toward darker fruits followed by unsweetened chocolate on the finish. Overall mouth-feel was rich. Recommended.
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2008 Winderlea Ana Pinot Noir

Clear, bright, medium, ruby color. Clean aromas of sweet fruit, black cherry, brown sugar, smoke, baked black fruit, cola. Dry on the palate, medium acidity, medium-low tannin, round, intense flavors, lush, red fruit, black fruit, Bing cherry, blackberry, plum, blueberry, cocoa, medium finish. Drink now, or hold for 5-7 years. Pair with slow smoked ribs. Recommended.
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2008 Sacha Lichine Cabernet Merlot

This is billed as an “Old World meets New World” wine. It might be more correctly labeled as a “French wine aimed directly at cutting into the American market.” There are some nice blackberry nuances around the nose but they seem to get cut off by some herbal notes. Fruit-forward, it’s a little cluttered on the palate, with cassis flavors battling it out a bit with some briar and red licorice notes, but has some nice silken tones after it has a little time to sort itself out. Tannins are soft and the finish is pleasant. Nothing here to distinguish this from the ocean of low-to-mid range American Cabernets produced each year, but still a pleasant quaff, and not a bad value. Try with a roast pork or grilled chops. Recommended.