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Palate Press Wine of the Week: NV Graham Beck Brut Cap Classique

Clear, bright, medium straw yellow. Fine bubbles cascade up the glass. The nose is clean with medium intensity aromas of lemon, chalk, biscuit, cooked yellow apple, and yellow cherries. This is a dry wine with a full mousse, and large fleeting bubbles on the palate. It has medium-high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol (11.5%) and flavors of bright citrus, grapefruit, lemon, and green apple. The finish is long and creamy, and leaves a taste of salted caramel in the mouth. A good wine, especially for the suggested retail price. Pair with a salad with fresh fruit, grilled white peaches, roasted sole, or white chocolate truffles with black sea salt.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Dark Lady of the Labyrinth Pinotage

“Rubber” has become synonymous with Pinotage, at least partly due to the power of suggestion. But you won’t find a hint of it here, even if you try. Aging in heavily toasted oak gives the wine an aromatic nose of mocha, coffee, and chocolate along with the more typical Pinotage nose of smoked bacon. On the palate, cherry, plum and almonds mingle with the continuing mocha and bacon notes ending with a velvety smooth finish. Does not come across as your normal Pinotage! While chocolate or mocha desserts are a more obvious match, it would be fantastic with a more traditional Mexican dish covered in that chili-chocolate hybrid known as molé sauce.
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2006 Black Pearl Vineyards Oro

Opaque purple in the glass, with a nose of chocolate, smoked bacon, and nutmeg. (Chocolate and bacon is a great combination, in fact.) Opens up tantalizingly but with great promise on the palate, with long, expressive flavors of black currant and nuts, perhaps pistachios. The Shiraz and Cabernet are in fine balance, ending in a languorous finish. A really splendid wine. Try it with really good, true, smoky BBQ brisket (which may be as difficult to find, or more so, than the wine if you are outside of Texas.)
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2009 Graham Beck Chenin Blanc

Somewhere between the richest and oakiest Chardonnay-like South African Chenin Blancs and the lighter, more fruit-driven styles lies this hearty yet refreshing white. The nose is reminiscent of orange-compote bread pudding: toasty and rather rich but with a pure citrus tang and notes of honeysuckle and tangerine, suggesting a full-bodied but clean and refreshing palate. The mouthfeel is creamy but not overbearing with bright acidity to balance a warming alcohol (14%), leading to a long, resolving finish. A great match for rustic fall meals such as acorn squash stuffed with sausage, apples and breadcrumbs.
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2009 Dark Lady of the Labyrinth Pinotage

“Rubber” has become synonymous with Pinotage, at least partly due to the power of suggestion. But you won’t find a hint of it here, even if you try. Aging in heavily toasted oak gives the wine an aromatic nose of mocha, coffee, and chocolate along with the more typical Pinotage nose of smoked bacon. On the palate, cherry, plum and almonds mingle with the continuing mocha and bacon notes ending with a velvety smooth finish. Does not come across as your normal Pinotage! While chocolate or mocha desserts are a more obvious match, it would be fantastic with a more traditional Mexican dish covered in that chili-chocolate hybrid known as molé sauce.
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2009 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay

Creamy apples and pears slathered in toasty wood. The oak treatment is clear, even blatant. This is not a wine for those who prefer their Chards in stainless steel. For those who like rich, woody wines, though, this offers up toast, caramel, and Tres Leches. Drink with something that is already too rich, lobster with drawn butter, or even better, if in season, stone crabs.