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2008 Reginato “CJR” Blanc de Blancs

The Chenin Blanc's contribution is apparent in this sparkling wine of medium-light golden yellow, with a floral, cedar-spice nose. There's a moderate mousse - no heavy bubbling action, but persistent small bubbles. It is somewhat fruity in the mouth, with low apparent acidity in the flavor, yet a fairly long, fruity finish, ending with the acidity that was in there all along. This is a wine to drink with a meal. Try it with the classic dishes that go with Chardonnay but don't hesitate to pair it with more with aromatic dishes such as Moroccan-spiced chicken.
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2008 Valentin Bianchi Chardonnay Famiglia Bianchi

This wine did not fare well in the Palate Press Grand Tasting, scoring only two stars out of five. The wine tastes of a laboratory, not a vineyard. Oak treatment is obvious. The classic apple of chardonnay appears here more like apple flavoring that apples from a tree. The finish falls off quickly, followed by a bitter after-taste. Not recommended.
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2009 Michel Torino Malbec Rosé

Palate Press Grand Tasting guests described this wine as "summery," and "subtle and delicious." Cherries and strawberries, rose petals and smoke, come through in layers, while the finish lingers. The Grand Tasting awarded it 4.3 stars out of five. Drink with spicy sausage on a hot summer afternoon.
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2007 Vina Alicia Paso de Piedra Malbec

A special Malbec indeed. An opulent nose with black currant and licorice with some oak (but not overwhelming) at the back. A lively follow through on the palate with soft tannins singing low harmony to a higher range of slightly bittersweet chocolate and dark plums. Finishes with perfect pitch. Very approachable now, should get even better with 2 or 3 more years on it. Match with grilled steak, just as they would do in Argentina. A lovely wine and a superb value. Kudos to the composer—er, winemaker.
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2007 Rutini Wines Trumpeter Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina

I held this a little longer than usual for a wine at this price point, and was rewarded with spicy black and red fruit. Elderberry, black and red raspberry, and black pepper, all with violet undertones, flowed through the glass. There is still wood, but the vanilla and touch of cedar complement, rather than overwhelm, the fruit. The finish is short, but good for the price point. Even better, at three years of age, this gem might be found in you local store's bargain bin. If it is, grab them all. Even if it isn't, at this price why not grab enough to get you through the summer? This would be a great match with burgers or steaks on the grill.
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2006 Familia Zuccardi Bonarda Serie A, Mendoza, Argentina

The use of wood is obvious and provides much of the flavor. There is a lot of fruit, cherries with a little blueberry, but vanilla, butter, baking spice, and tannins all come from the wood. Bonarda is usually lighter and brighter, with cherry, light tannins and light acids. In this wine the grapes are upstaged by the wood.