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2010 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

The nose is a treat in itself, aromas of fresh-ground medium-roast coffee and black cherries, tinted around the edges with fresh sage. The same coffee-cherry theme shows on the attack, the initial taste, adding hints of cola, milk chocolate and licorice on the mid-palate. Tannins are mild and silky, with acids to match. A difficult food match, with rich flavors but medium body, this will pair best with a meat to match. Try it with grilled swordfish or smoked trout. Recommended. DH
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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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2005 Chateau Arnauld

A very moderately priced Bordeaux, particularly for one from the “Vintage of the Century.” It is also still rather young, evidenced by how much better it showed on the second night. The nose shows blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco leaf. The taste on the palate is far richer than the aromas on the nose. It leads with blackcurrant, cedar, and mocha, with tart cherries, even a touch of cranberry, and dark chocolate, all showing on the mid-palate. Clearly an old-world wine, high acids and dusty tannins to match offer a food-paring wine, rather than a snack in a glass. Drink with a rib-eye or a great burger. Recommended. DH
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2007 Sartori Valpolicella Classico Superiore Vigneti di Montgradella

The nose offers up leather, raspberries, and black pepper. It opens on the palate with leather and raspberry, with a dusty mineral background. It moves from black raspberry to black cherry, then tart cherry, on the mid-palate. Medium tannins and juicy red fruits linger through a mid-length finish. This is a food friendly wine at a wallet friendly price. Drink with anything involving red meat and marinara. Recommended.DH
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2008 Rene Lequin-Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Devant

This is a single vineyard, Clos Devant,white Burgundy from Chassagne Montrachet. It is translucent, with a light golden hue. The noise has an apple pie and caramel sweetness with a lovely white flower bouquet. The palate offers up rich flavors, starting with baked apples, adding creme brûlée and Meyer Lemon on the mid-palate, all with underlying toast and smoke. Gardenias, sweet lemon, and creme brûlée linger on the lasting finish. Acids are very good. This is a good food wine or a delicious sipper. Drink with grilled swordfish. Very Highly Recommended. DH.
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NV Banfi Rosa Regale

The color is very pretty and bright, ruby with a fizz of bubbles. The nose is rose petals and sweet strawberries. This is definitely a sweet sparkler, a fizzy blend of raspberry and strawberry sherbert, with a little rosewater making a floral appearance on the mid-palate. There is a surprising amount of acid for such an moderately priced sweet wine, suggesting it might be food friendly if paired with a moderately sweet creamy dessert, perhaps a raspberry-topped creme brulee. The goal in such a pairing is to match and complement, rather than contrast. 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
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2003 Royal Tokaji Furmint

The color is the first thing to notice, a bright rich 18k gold. The nose is sweet and floral, hibiscus with apricot and honey. Layer after layer of flavor dance across the palate, all varying variations of apricot and honey, with a bright acidic backbone ranging from sweet Key Lime juice to tart Key Lime zest. Hints of mango linger throughout, though teasing, barely identifiable. It is hard to clock the length of the finish as the desire for the next sip overruns the attempt to measure the finish. Suffice to say, it is incredibly long. Drink with foie gras for the classic match, but it would be even better with Kung Pao from Lucky Strike in Portland, the sweet a counter-balance to the spice. Very Highly Recommended. DH