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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2006 Produttori del Barbaresco

Co-ops are usually the volume-first, quality-second institutions of the wine world. Not so with Produttori del Barbaresco, a group of 19 producers in the Barbaresco appellation who work together to produce some of the best wines in all of Piedmont, and at remarkably reasonable prices. Italian wine expert Charles Scicolone, in an interview I had the chance of doing with him last year, told me he considered Produttori as the best Barbaresco producer, bar none, and after tasting a few of their bottlings, I tend to agree. The 2006 “regular” Barbaresco (as opposed to their single vineyard bottlings), is clearly built for the long run, with fine but significant tannins, loads of great tart cherry and tobacco leaf aromas, a fine acidity and a terrific, clean, precise finish. The color is the clear garnet of traditional nebbiolo, free of oak (why would that grape need it?), fine and well-defined. Buy every bottle you find and drink them slowly over the next twenty years. Also look for their Langhe Nebbiolo, a simpler, fun expression of nebbiolo that is a real deal at less than $20 CDN. Highly recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Helioterra Columbia Valley Syrah

Clear, medium-deep intensity, plum purple in color. Clean nose with medium to medium-full aromas of dark fruit, plum, raspberry, blackberry, and savory herbs, rosemary, coffee. Dry on the palate with medium-full tannin, medium-low acidity, and flavors of cherry conserves, blackberry, sage, and oak. Needs time; pair with sautéed portabella mushrooms tossed with herbs and cooked raspberries. Recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2007 Maryhill Cabernet Franc Proprietor’s Reserve

The nose is full, dark and red fruit with sweet vanilla and toasted wood. On the palate, loads of chocolate-covered cherries dominate, followed by root beer, then raspberry black tea as it approaches the finish. Tannins are very sweet, just barely dusty, a bit stronger than acids. This would be good with a rib-eye steak, but it would be even better with a good hot dog. Recommended.