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2007 Mahoney Vineyards Montepulciano

Grown in Carneros and blended with about 10% Sangiovese, started with aromas of pepper, a mélange of oak and dill with briary, jammy fruit. Lighter in the mouth, the flavors were dominated by oak. The wine finished with light red fruit and some heat. On the second day, the wine fleshed out and displayed spicy, licorice notes above all. In the mouth, black cherry flavors were most distinct. Medium bodied the wine had good acids and supple, fine, slightly drying tannins. It was an unobtrusive food companion and did not compete with the mushroom pizza or the blackened salmon. (13.7% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, production volume unavailable)
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2007 Merryvale Pinot Noir

Dark cherries, cola, a touch of cranberries, and some mushrooms are on the palate, all with a background of spice, wood, and a teriyaki-like umami. Tannins are fine and sweet. It does not offer delicacy or flow with multiple layers of complexity, just gives you a whack of sweet fruit right in the face. Drink it with a grilled double-thick stuffed pork chop.
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2006 Havens Reserve Merlot

Closed now, this bottle shows the promise lost in today’s economy. At this price point, most Napa Merlots are drink-now fruit bomb oaksidents. Primary fruits are black, but dark, blackberry ad unripe plums over secondary red fruits, raspberry and sour cherry. There is some mint on the mid-palate and a touch of tobacco, hinting at perhaps a tiny blend of Cabernet Franc in the mix. Swirling around all of it, though, is a bucket-load of unsweetened chocolate, never overpowering anything but always hovering in the background, adding depth to every other flavor. This one shows structure and layers, and is marked by herbal secondary flavors. It is tight, tannic, mouth-drying, and a little disjointed, needing two to five years of cellar life before it reaches its peak. But it would soften right away if paired with a porterhouse.
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2008 Shafer Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch

This wine exhibits a ripe melon & pineapple core with butterscotch, butter & heavy cream, baking spice & vanilla extract. Full body, medium acid, medium length in this pleasant, but typical, upscale California Chardonnay. Guests at the Palate Press Grand Tasting gave this an average score of 3.2 out of 5 stars. Drink with lobster and corn chowder.