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Eighth Annual Petite Sirah Noble Symposium

In 2002, the year PS I Love You executive director Jo Diaz began keeping records, there were some 60 growers and producers of Petite Sirah (PS) in California. Now, owing in part to her tireless efforts, Ms. Diaz may proudly count in excess of 126 growers and a staggering 723 producers in the state.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.
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2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge Vineyard – Mendocino

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.
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2007 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley

Very juicy wine up front, offering up loads of blueberry, plum, and some prune, along with some coffee on the mid-palate. There are some obvious wood tones, cedar and spice. Unfortunately, it is less than the sum of its parts, disjointed and unbalanced. The fruit is too jammy, the coffee too bitter, the finish too sudden and short. It is reasonably priced and might work with heavily sauced barbecue toward the end of the summer, but it is not terribly special.
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2008 Clos LaChance Liebeler Vineyard Chardonnay – Santa Cruz

This single vineyard Chardonnay shows clear effect of the 40% new French oak, but wood complements rather than overwhelms. Pear, apple, honeydew melon and some tart pineapple are joined by caramel, smoke, and a surprising kick of white pepper. This would be a perfect pairing with Flounder Francese with Toasted Almonds, Lemon and Capers.
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2007 Bouchaine Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir – Napa Valley

Relatively dark in color, not quite opaque. Flavors are overwhelmingly tart red fruit, barely ripe cherries, wild strawberries, and lots of rhubarb. Sweet wood is there, but barely perceptible behind the tartness. Finish is mid-length, tannins slightly drying. A rich food match might pair well, so try it with a well-sauced duck.
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2008 King Andrews Muscat Blanc – Suisun Valley

The King Andrews Muscat Blanc is, well, muscat. Nothing problematic about it, but nothing particularly attention-grabbing about it, either. If you like the sweet version, however, be forewarned that this is made in a somewhat drier style. The winery describes it as citric with hints of grapefruit and recommends pairing it with thin-sliced pan-grilled turkey breasts.