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2009 Ridge Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel

A mouthful of wine, this Zin is a moderate (by today's standards) 14.8% alcohol, but has loads of black fruit, cocoa, and coffee. The nose is slightly vegetal, suggesting perhaps some whole cluster fermentation. Blackberries on attack are followed by raspberries on the mid-palate and finish. Black pepper runs under everything from attack to finish. On the mid-palate, first mocha, then dark chocolate, come through. The long finish tastes of dark chocolate and dusty tannins. Drink with well smoked pork ribs. Recommended.
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2009 Shane “The Charm”

Normally I don’t l do reviews of wines of very limited to no availability. But in the case of the Shane “The Charm” Pinot Noir I have to make an exception, for Shane Finley is a winemaker to watch. This “spare time” initial offering of Pinot from Shane, who has crafted wines at Kosta Browne, is a stunner. Deeply colored, with an enticing, lively nose of very ripe raspberries yielding to an explosion of fruit on the palate, with hints of chocolate and plum. Languorous finish. As this was Shane’s first Pinot on his own, only 100 cases were produced. But keep your eyes peeled. If his future Pinots are anything like this, leap on them. Perfect with simple grilled lamb chops. Come back, Shane! Highly recommended.
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2008 Spell Pinot Noir

A lovely '08 California Pinot that is drinking well right now. Opening is a bit alcoholic, which belies what is underneath—a nose of briar and blackberries and light chocolate. Brilliant sweet fruit, like cranberries with sugar. Languorous finish. Not overly complex, but lovely nonetheless. Simple food is best with this, like grilled lamb or, for you vegans out there, grilled eggplant. Highly recommended.
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2008 Dutton Estate Thomas Road Pinot Noir

Garnet and modestly opaque to the eye. Aromas of cranberry, black cherry, spice, and a hint of earth hit the nose. Bold on the front of the palate with black fruit and cherry. Lush with fruit carrying through to a nice finish with lingering acidity. This Pinot Noir has enough heft to stand up to a number of meats and poultry, such as lamb, filet mignon or duck. Read the extended review on Simple Hedonisms.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Inspiration Vineyards Viognier

This is an excellent, balanced expression of Viognier that is a pleasure to drink. Medium yellow straw, vibrant, clear in the glass. The nose is as fragrant as a Viognier should be, but not overpowering with notes of white peach, lime zest, hint of guava. Great viscosity and weight on the palate, but not cloying as some of this varietal can be with accents of peach, stone fruits, and citrus. Pair with seafood (crab) and grilled chicken, amongst others. Read the extended review on Simple Hedonisms.
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2009 Inspiration Vineyards Viognier

This is an excellent, balanced expression of Viognier that is a pleasure to drink. Medium yellow straw, vibrant, clear in the glass. The nose is as fragrant as a Viognier should be, but not overpowering with notes of white peach, lime zest, hint of guava. Great viscosity and weight on the palate, but not cloying as some of this varietal can be with accents of peach, stone fruits, and citrus. Pair with seafood (crab) and grilled chicken, amongst others. Read the extended review on Simple Hedonisms.