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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Ayoub Chardonnay

Clear, medium-deep intensity lemon yellow. Clean on the nose with heady aromas of sweet cooked apples, macerated pineapple, vanilla, clove, and candied ginger. Medium-dry on the palate with full body and slight residual sugar. Medium alcohol, medium acidity, rich texture, with lush—almost over the top—flavors. Stewed yellow apples, spiced Turkish figs, pineapple packed in brown sugar, candied orange peel, and crystallized honeysuckle. Medium finish. Very easy to drink on its own, but would pair splendidly with apple walnut bread pudding. Highly recommended. RR
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2009 Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenère

Clear, medium intensity ruby with purple. Aromas of violet, bell pepper, dark fruits, and cedar. Dry on the palate with medium-high acidity, medium-full body, and light tannin. Flavors of cooked blackberry, hickory, molasses, and smoke. Pair with a hearty dish like chili. Recommended. RR
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2009 Lions Drift Pinotage

This wine has an interesting blend of black and red fruits, with a touch of vanilla, on the nose. There isn't a hint of the dreaded Pinotage "burnt rubber" in this wine. It gets really interesting on the palate, throwing out layers of different flavors, one after another. It starts with tart black fruit, blackberry and a little elderberry, but within seconds the tart flavors shade to cranberry, then even more quickly sweetens to strawberry, joined by limestone and vanilla. This is a young Pinotage, with good acid, and lightly dusty tannins, that doesn't have any off flavors that might magnify over time, suggesting it is a good candidate for half a dozen years or more in the cellar. This is a good wine at a great price. Drink with barbequed beef. Highly Recommended. DH
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2009 Domaine Poulleau Pére & Files Côte de Beaune Les Mondes Rondes

Sweet cherries and funk on the nose. On the palate, rhubarb, cherries, and brown sugar lead. Strawberries and sage, with a light background of anise, appear on the mid-palate. Sage, mixed red fruits, vanilla, and brown sugar linger on a mid-length finish. Acids are high, tannins very smooth, together offering a wine for the cellar. All the different flavors are interesting, but they are disjointed, even conflicting. This may be a wine best judged a decade after bottling. It could be very nice, based upon promise, high acidity, smooth tannins, and depth of flavor. Drink with sage-rubbed pork loin.
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2009 Alex Elman Malbec

This is a buyer’s wine from a portfolio of wines bought from different wineries and bottled under a proprietary label. The owner lost her sight but not her olfactory sense. This is unoaked, with blackberry on the nose but with slight vegetal asparagus aromas. As is sometimes encountered with some Malbecs, the fruit seems unyielding, like it is trying to open up but will only go so far and no farther. Bitter astringent finish. To be fair, a little better the second day, but not so far as I can commend it. This wine has its fans, but I’m not one of them, I’m afraid. Not recommended. GT