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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.
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2008 Kimmel Vineyards Chardonnay

Some restraint is shown with the application of oak, allowing minerals, honeydew, and very tart apple to show through. The finish is sour apple and salt. This is far from a typical California Chardonnay, and would balance well with sweet and sour chicken or sweet chicken curry.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.
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2008 Olson Ogden Pinot Noir, Manchester Ridge Vineyard – Mendocino

Gorgeous translucent ruby color with clear edges, pure Pinot noir, with no tell-tale purple edges hinting at Syrah in the mix. When first opened it is a full plate of heavily smoked meat, like slow-smoked pork with a perfect pink ring. After a couple of hours of decanting, though, the red fruit comes through with nuances of tiny wild strawberries, Michigan cherries, and some cranberries. It is all shot through with a healthy dose of smoke (more mesquite than hickory), and a bit of the aforementioned BBQ pork, but far milder than when first opened. The finish is long. This is very good wine and a terrific bargain. Good luck finding it, though. Only 155 cases were made.