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Palate Press Wine of the Week: Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvée de Réserve Brut

Very pale gold color with tiny bubbles. Light toast, baked apples, and mandarin oranges waft up from the glass. On the palate, it opens with soft yeasty bread and apple flavors, adding sweet oranges and almonds on the mid-palate. The mousse is very active, mouth-filling, the acids bright. It is a pretty wine. Drink it with stone crabs. Highly recommended. DH
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Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvée de Réserve Brut

Very pale gold color with tiny bubbles. Light toast, baked apples, and mandarin oranges waft up from the glass. On the palate, it opens with soft yeasty bread and apple flavors, adding sweet oranges and almonds on the mid-palate. The mousse is very active, mouth-filling, the acids bright. It is a pretty wine. Drink it with stone crabs. Highly recommended. DH
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2008 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Hohenrain Riesling

Pale but very bright golden in color. The nose is very quite floral, white flowers over stone fruit. Just-ripe peach, some apples, and honeysuckle lead on the palate. It is a bit flaccid on the mid-palate, then picks back up with some lemon-citrus tart on the finish. Off-dry, it pairs well with a lobster roll to pair sweet to sweet, or spicy fried oysters for contrast. Recommended. DH
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2006 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon

Four hours in the nose is blueberry and black cherry pie. The same fruits, adding unsweetened chocolate, high notes of tobacco leaf and a touch of eucalyptus and vanilla doesn't overpower now and will fade with more time, all make a complex but well-knit palate. Tannins are dust-fine and sweet. The finish lingers. Buy it now but cellar it for five more years. When you do drink it, drink it with a black-and-blue ribeye and fried onions. Highly recommended. DH
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2008 Girard Signature

The nose is a little tight, suggesting blueberries and tobacco along with a light background of red fruits and licorice. It offers some interesting complexity in the palate, too, with loads of dark fruit, blackberry, elderberry, and blueberry, with a bright red fruit background. The mid-palate has coffee and licorice, the finish adds unsweetened chocolate. Tannins are very sweet, mouth-feel is very smooth. Complexity seems to come from fruit (plus, perhaps, some extraction), not from wood. The wood effect is clear but light, adding touches of spice but not overwhelming the original juice. It would be at home with a steak or a great burger, or a fireplace and a friend. Highly recommended. DH
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2009 Masut Pinot Noir

The headwaters of the Russian River are in Redwood Valley, and here the grandsons of Bobby Fetzer are making a Pinot Noir that would make you think, tasting blind, that it came from downriver into the Russian River Valley. The nose has plenty of soft cherry and strawberry, a bit of vanilla, and a touch of sea salt. On the palate comes loads of red fruit, strawberry, black cherry, and some cranberry, tempered by a touch of sage and a sprinkle of sea salt, with underlying wood-effect vanilla. It's a mouthful, a big California Pinot, so look for food that matches. Drink with duck, but make sure you're going with the dark meat. Recommended.