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2009 Masut Pinot Noir

The headwaters of the Russian River are in Redwood Valley, and here the grandsons of Bobby Fetzer are making a Pinot Noir that would make you think, tasting blind, that it came from downriver into the Russian River Valley. The nose has plenty of soft cherry and strawberry, a bit of vanilla, and a touch of sea salt. On the palate comes loads of red fruit, strawberry, black cherry, and some cranberry, tempered by a touch of sage and a sprinkle of sea salt, with underlying wood-effect vanilla. It's a mouthful, a big California Pinot, so look for food that matches. Drink with duck, but make sure you're going with the dark meat. Recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Ridge Estate Chardonnay

Judicious use of a careful blend of wood adds depth to its fruit, as if pears, a single slice of pineapple, and a fig or two were all very quickly sautéed in butter, then sprinkled with fresh honeysuckle blossoms. Similar flavors are joined on the palate by a bit of vanilla, but nothing that would overpower the fruit. The wood treatment includes 10% new, 15% one-year-old, 25% two-year-old, and 30% 3-4 year-old oak with 93% of it American and 7% of it French, with fifteen months in the barrel. The wood shows more as it warms, so be sure to drink it cool to really enjoy the fruit. Drink with baked pompano or other delicate white fish. Highly Recommended.
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2009 Ridge Estate Chardonnay

Judicious use of a careful blend of wood adds depth to its fruit, as if pears, a single slice of pineapple, and a fig or two were all very quickly sautéed in butter, then sprinkled with fresh honeysuckle blossoms. Similar flavors are joined on the palate by a bit of vanilla, but nothing that would overpower the fruit. The wood treatment includes 10% new, 15% one-year-old, 25% two-year-old, and 30% 3-4 year-old oak with 93% of it American and 7% of it French, with fifteen months in the barrel. The wood shows more as it warms, so be sure to drink it cool to really enjoy the fruit. Drink with baked pompano or other delicate white fish. Highly Recommended.
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2009 Royal Tokaji Furmint

This wine has aromas of hay, straw, and a pleasant, yeasty, light fruit and floral suggestion, like flowers in a haymow. After a lighting attack of sweetness on the palate, the wine turns dry, and the body grows toward medium weight. Still, I think I detect a hint of oxidation in the character of the wine. It has a big finish, not bone dry, but then I don’t think this wine should be bone dry. It pairs nicely with light main courses such as chicken and lakefish; in my memories I drink it with sautéed native Zander fish. Recommended.
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2009 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé

So pale as to have almost no pink color visible. A beguiling nose of strawberry, peach, and fresh flowers. Very expressive on the palate, with delicate but assertive fresh fruit coming on and the acid kept in check. Finishes with a small flourish, yielding a really lovely wine that is refreshing yet not insipid. Pair with seafood, especially shellfish. Highly recommended.
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2009 Vintisquero Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva Queulat

This is a pretty impressive Sauvignon Blanc. Pink grapefruit, white flowers, and cut grass waft up out of the glass. The pink grapefruit is joined on the mid-palate by softer, more tropical fruit, perhaps mango, white flowers, again, moving toward white grapefruit on the finish. Drink with fresh flounder. Highly recommended.