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2007 Les Breteches du Château Kefraya

A slightly dusty-looking brickish red. Aroma is of brick dust and freshly tilled earth, dried cherries, and cocoa powder. Rough tannins hover across the early- and mid-palate and linger on the (moderately long) finish. Beneath the tannins, dried cherry and clove notes add to a profile that is surprisingly light and freshened by plenty of acidity. Overall impression is raspy and astringent, but flavorful and reasonably well-rounded. This would be splendid with smoked trout or a substantial grilled fish like mahi or swordfish, or with a vegetarian entree laden with lots of garlic and a bit of cream.
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2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Clos de Gilroy Grenache

Lively, translucent, light purple color. Gorgeous nose of strawberry and blueberry, pepper, slight smoke, meat, and that classic Grenache hint of hard candy. The red fruit continues on the palate with delightful notes of strawberry, rhubarb, and cranberry, that shine through the oak. Silky in the mouth, excellent body, and delivers front and mid-palate, with a pleasant, lingering finish. Very versatile food pairings—poultry, pasta, grilled veggies.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2007 Ortman Cuvee Eddy, 02 Series

Red Rhône blend. Dark red/purple color. Nose of blueberry, black fruit, touch of smoke, and meat. Bright red berry fruit on the palate. There are times when I want something layered and complex, to pull apart and mull over. Other times I want a wine I can just open, quaff and enjoy. Pleasant, fruit expressive, enjoyable red blend that goes down quite nicely alone, sitting on the couch with a book or a movie. Straightforward, easy to drink, and balanced. Its versatility would pair it well with most meats, many pastas, or even a burger or BBQ. Read the extended review on Simple Hedonisms.
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2007 Ortman Cuvee Eddy, 02 Series

Red Rhône blend. Dark red/purple color. Nose of blueberry, black fruit, touch of smoke, and meat. Bright red berry fruit on the palate. There are times when I want something layered and complex, to pull apart and mull over. Other times I want a wine I can just open, quaff and enjoy. Pleasant, fruit expressive, enjoyable red blend that goes down quite nicely alone, sitting on the couch with a book or a movie. Straightforward, easy to drink, and balanced. Its versatility would pair it well with most meats, many pastas, or even a burger or BBQ.
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2004 Domaine de l’Oratoire St Martin Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne Cuvée Prestige

This is a very nice bottle of wine, and it has improved with time in the cellar. When the first bottle was opened in 2008 the nose was shy, refusing to give up its secrets without several hours of decanting. Now, after two additional years of rest, it sings. Leather and a touch, a light touch, of barnyard cradle layers of different cherries all sprinkled with white pepper and a spray of foam from an Atlantic wave. Hide this wine in a blind tasting of Chateauneufs and nobody will question its place in the lineup. Drink with steak au poivre.
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2009 Hahn Winery GSM

A very juicy fruit-forward wine sprinkled with white pepper and allspice. Blackberries and figs lead the attack, giving way to black cherry cola, pepper, and vanilla on the mid-palate. Tannins are sweet and smooth. Acid is quite powerful, even a little bit tingly, but should settle down over time. Drink with pork roast.
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Rhone Rangers Tasting at Pier 59 Studios

“In a world of recognizable Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Syrah ends up being a consumer’s third choice,” says Steffanie Anglim. Still a tough sell for wholesalers and restaurants, Syrah tends to sell well in the tasting room, a common observation among wineries. As a former wine bartender, this fact makes sense to me.
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Garagiste Grenache: A Ballroom Debut

I stood 1,200 miles away from home, in a dimly lit ballroom, at a historic hotel in Walla Walla, WA, clutching two bottles of the inaugural vintage of our family’s homemade wine, which until quite recently rested safely in neutral 60-gallon French-oak barrels in my garage. I was about to pour the very first public taste of this wine, for a celebrity Master Sommelier … in front of a crowd.