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2005 Domenico Aglianico

2005 Domenico Aglianico, Sutter Creek Vineyard, Amador County contains 8.3% Petite Sirah from Lodi. Like the 2006, it was whole berry fermented, underwent extended maceration and spent 11 months in French and American oak. This wine offered a mature bouquet of cinnamon/nutmeg notes, floral, oaky hints and a vague hint of VA. In the mouth, it was faintly sweet, with very forward and mature flavors of very light briar and tobacco pouch. The body was remarkably light for the alcohol level. Structurally, it was supple, not too grippy and with high acids. A shorter, drying, finish of mature flavors and subdued fruit followed. On the second day, jammy, almost brambly fruit aromas were laced with a vague floral hint. Vague brambly fruit over light, hints of sweetness and light tannins, bright acids and light heat followed in the mouth. The finish, again, was lightly drying with light brambly fruit, oak notes and warmth. This wine was unobtrusive with brisket and the BBQ ribs but heat came through a bit. (15% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, 266 cases made)
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2007 Domenico Montepulciano

This Central Valley Montepulciano with a small amount of Petite Sirah or Merlot—depending on the year—is whole cluster fermented in open top fermenters with frequent punchdowns and extended maceration. It offers aromas of macerated ripe strawberry with piney, dill notes and maple leaf hints. In the mouth, it is lighter bodied, sleek, with slight tannins, a silky texture and jolly rancher-like strawberry candy flavors. The finish is creamy, but a bit hollow. Overnight, it takes on dried rose petal and vague cherry aromas and floral hints in the mouth. This forward, mature-styled wine is an unobtrusive food companion with good acids and does not compete with food flavors. (14% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, 256 cases made)
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2008 Cinnabar Sorcerer’s Stone

This Zinfandel-based blend is upper medium depth garnet in color with a medium opacity, becoming ruby at the rim. Rich plum and berry aromas up front. Pleasantly piney notes soon emerge, backed by hints of sweet oak. More time in the glass brings out subtle char and espresso aromas. It quickly becomes very tangy and ends very, very racy with a steely, scalpel-sharp note. Very fine tannins are slight, velvety textured, smooth and have a tea-like astringency. The 15.7% alcohol is well-carried and perhaps tamed by the racy, high acidity, which lifts the tone of the plum and berry flavors but also tends to overshadow them. The lingering finish is a dynamic kaleidoscope of acidity, plum and berry flavors, heat and mild, velvety astringency. For the time being, it can be paired with high-acid foods. Paired with Greek salad (grilled chicken, feta, Persian cucumbers and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing).
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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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2006 Vezer La Salette

Tasted at a recent show of North American wines, this red blend stood out of the bottled crowd. Deep, opaque purple color shows off a nose of violets and dark chocolate and toast. Chewy and dense at first, it yields languorous blackberry and pepper flavors upheld by soft tannins and a nice sugar balance. A very nice yin and yang of velvet and strength. A great wine with winter dishes, especially a cassoulet. But it’s not just for winter, either. Pricey, but a keeper.
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2007 Long Gamma Cellars Red Blend

The color is deep purple. Aromas of ripe red fruit, blackberry, black cherry, hint of spice. In the mouth, a pleasant melding of lush fruit that is expressive, but not an oppressive fruit bomb. Good balance and taste of fruit through front, mid palate and finish. Enough acidity and structure to let it pair well with many foods. Drinkable alone as well though, with good 'quaffability' factor. Finish slightly off dry, not hot or tannic. Read the full review on Simple Hedonisms.