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2010 Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter Grooner

The color is light and bright with a slightly green tint. Aromas and flavors are very clean, and just slightly off-dry, opening with a blend of soft and tart citrus flavors, tangerines and lemons. White pepper shows on the mid-palate. Acids are bright and food-friendly. Drink with a mixed summer grill, from shrimp to sausages. Recommended. DH
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2010 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

The nose is a treat in itself, aromas of fresh-ground medium-roast coffee and black cherries, tinted around the edges with fresh sage. The same coffee-cherry theme shows on the attack, the initial taste, adding hints of cola, milk chocolate and licorice on the mid-palate. Tannins are mild and silky, with acids to match. A difficult food match, with rich flavors but medium body, this will pair best with a meat to match. Try it with grilled swordfish or smoked trout. Recommended. DH
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2010 Echelon Pinot Grigio

Honeyed aromas, very fruity, with honeyed, peachy flavors, and honey even in the finish. Fruit and citrus overwhelm the crispness you’d expect to find in a wine made from pinot grigio grapes. It’s a nice example of a modern sweet wine, probably a crowd-pleaser, but not really a pinot grigio. Maybe they should rename it? Recommended with reservations. BSE
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2010 Bodega Chacra Barda Pinot Noir

If you think pinot noir from South America is inevitably too rich, too extracted and too ripe, you really need to get yourself a bottle of this subtle, balanced gem from Bodega Chacra, founded by Piero Incisa, scion of the family who brought you a little Tuscan wine called… Sassicaia. Made from old vines found by Incisa in the cooler reaches of Patagonia (the youngest vineyard was planted in 1978, the others in 1955 and 1932), it is clear, with a bright garnet color, and a set of aromas that probably wouldn’t be out of place in the Côte de Beaune. Drawing a comparison is unfair, however, as there is a very specific personality to Barda, the entry-level cuvée from this special venture. With dried cherry and tea-leaf aromas, wild and earthy undertones on the nose, a bright and fresh feeling on the tongue, an overall impression of ripeness rounded out by maybe a bit of oak, this is a really fine pinot noir at a very reasonable price. A warning: it will likely make you want to buy the estate’s single-vineyard bottlings, whose prices hover closer to 100 dollars a bottle. Highly recommended. RC
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2010 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon, Pedregal Vineyard

A baby that shows every sign of being a great grownup when it fully matures. Deep purple with a seductive nose of blackcurrants, chocolate, and rosemary. Great gobs of blackberry fruit and pistachios on the palate, with balanced tannins. Finishes beautifully and languorously. This has not yet been released at the time of tasting (a barrel sample), and will require at least another 5-8 years of aging to reach its apogee. But when it does, it will be glorious. Very Highly Recommended. GT
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2010 Echelon Red Blend

Aromas of wild herbs growing on dry, late summer California hillsides – wild thyme, sage, juniper. At first it feels thinnish on the palate, but that’s only because the tannins are integrated into the dark fruit in a more refined manner than expected. Wild herbs show up in the finish too, but then it ends almost sweet. Highly recommended. BSE