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2010 Penley Estate “Aradia” Chardonnay

Apples, fig, and a touch of toast show on the nose. On the palate, pears and figs lead on the attack. Moderate oak use (36% new French) adds depth and a deft touch of vanilla without overpowering fruit. Apples join on the mid-palate. There is a lingering smoke over apple and pear on the finish. This is a nice bottle of wine, avoiding overpowering oak, but adding enough to provide softness and depth. Drink with roast chicken. Recommended. DH
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2008 Penley Estate “Phoenix” Cabernet Sauvignon

The color is inky dark with maroon edges. The nose is lightly jammy blackcurrant with a background of vanilla and eucalyptus. The palate is more harsh than the nose. Blackcurrant leads, along with some vegetal tobacco leaf as well a higher tones of mint and eucalyptus. It does not show a lot of development from attack through mid-palate to finish, ending with some brown sugar and vanilla from wood. At this price point it is very competitive with California cabernets, showing a more deft hand with wood flavors than is usually seen in the under-$15 crowd, as well as some acid to keep it food-friendly. Drink with a skirt steak. For the price, Recommended. DH