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2009 Monteviejo Lindaflor Chardonnay

Golden with a greenish tinge, this Chardonnay has enough flavors of crème brûlée, vanilla, golden apples and apricot preserves—along with enough gorgeous, mouth filling complexity—to get Napa winemakers in a nervous sweat. It’s a steakhouse worthy Chardonnay, built for potatoes and lobster, for about half the price as you will find in Napa, and with what seems like twice the food friendly acidity.
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2009 XumeK Syrah

Ezequiel Eskenazi, the down-to-earth founder of XumeK, is carving out a wine lifestyle destination a solid two hours drive northwest from Mendoza in San Juan, complete with a life size reproduction of a whale constructed by famed artist Adrian Villar Rojas as a tribute to the site (now upwards of 800 meters above sea level, but which used to be a submerged seabed in ancient times). The wines are fitting tribute to the stark beauty of the site, and their Syrah is a bargain—Crayola does not make a color this purple, and the big blue fruits deliver just about what you would expect from taking a look at the stunning hue of this wine in the glass, with the added bonus of some nice stony, mineral notes. Where the Syrah really shines, though, is in the mouthfeel, where it puts on a clinic for the price-point and will very likely ensure a quickly drained bottle at your next BBQ.
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2009 Alamos Chardonnay

Alamos Chardonnay, made by the high-volume division of the Catena family’s Argentinean wine empire, is pretty good at being what it’s supposed to be. It’s a tasty Chardonnay, with a varietally correct profile of citrus, toasted bread, and vanilla. It’s not too big, drinks easily—and costs under $10 in most places in the US. Overall, the Alamos is actually a lot more pleasant than many other equivalent brands at equivalent prices. What’s missing is a sense of place, a more precise definition of character, beyond the varietal one. That extra layer of personality is something you’d be disappointed not to find in your glass, if you’re going to spend $50 on one of the higher end wines from the Catena Zapata range. But for a pleasant summer quaffer, technical achievement can do the trick. Recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week – 2009 Matello Whistling Ridge Vineyard White

Clean, medium intensity aromatics of ripe peach, bright citrus, perfume, candied nectarine, and tart apple. Dry, medium-high acidity, medium body, flavors of lime zest, candied orange, and green apple. Vibrant and bright. Pair with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, kumquats, pepitas, pecorino romano, and cidre vinaigrette. Highly recommended.
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2009 Matello Whistling Ridge Vineyard White

Clean, medium intensity aromatics of ripe peach, bright citrus, perfume, candied nectarine, and tart apple. Dry, medium-high acidity, medium body, flavors of lime zest, candied orange, and green apple. Vibrant and bright. Pair with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, kumquats, pepitas, pecorino romano, and cidre vinaigrette. Highly recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Helioterra Columbia Valley Syrah

Clear, medium-deep intensity, plum purple in color. Clean nose with medium to medium-full aromas of dark fruit, plum, raspberry, blackberry, and savory herbs, rosemary, coffee. Dry on the palate with medium-full tannin, medium-low acidity, and flavors of cherry conserves, blackberry, sage, and oak. Needs time; pair with sautéed portabella mushrooms tossed with herbs and cooked raspberries. Recommended.
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2009 Brittan Chardonnay

Clear, medium intensity, straw yellow color. Clean, medium intensity aromas, yellow apple, cooked tropical fruit, candied lemon peel, spun sugar, and caramelized pineapple; simply intoxicating. Dry, full body, medium acidity, medium-long finish, candied orange, peaches and cream, slight butter, roasted apples, and pears. Pair with crab, lobster, or prawns. Highly recommended.
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2009 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett

This has a lovely floral nose, magnolia and roses, toffee, and the tiniest hint of petrol. On the palate it is off-dry, with very subtle creamy citrus, more key lime pie than key lime, moving toward apple on the mid-palate, all lightly-honeyed, with an acid background and bright citrus tartness around the edges. From start to finish a sweet nuttiness lingers very lightly under all the other flavors. The floral accents come alive again on the finish. Drink with baked clams. Highly Recommended.