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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.
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2008 kopriva Unoaked Chardonnay – Carneros, California

You may not recognize this wine as Chardonnay if you’ve only been exposed to the heavy oak and butter first popularized by some California wineries. Made without oak aging or malolactic fermentation, it is more like a new white varietal, and an alternative to dry whites such as Sauvignon blanc or Pinot grigio. This is pale, metallic, and straw-colored but quite clear. That color carries through in another sense on the nose with slight dry straw and additional citrusy hints. Grapefruit, pineapple, and hints of other fruits ranging from tangy to tropical in concert with mineral notes. On the palate it is fruity at the front, mouth-filling in the middle, with a crisp acetic flourish at the back. Leaving the wine in contact with its lees (yeast sediment) for four months gives this Chardonnay its pleasurable mouth feel. 239 cases produced. Read the full review on Simple Hedonisms.
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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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2009 Northern California Harvest Report

The many storied wine regions of Northern California experienced a harvest this year that was in one way, ideal and in another quite anxiety-inducing. Fruit growth was delayed this year by a cooler spring and summer, but the overall temperatures were predominantly even across the board, allowing for long hang-time and good even ripening in the vineyard.