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2009 Edmunds St. John Wylie Syrah

If you think all California syrah is huge and unambiguously fruit-forward, this 2009 Wylie from Edmunds St. John will force you to reassess the variety’s profile in that state. It does offer a juicy, mouth-watering character, and a pleasantly fresh finish. Bright and clear, with a ruby/garnet color, it is much closer to Northern Rhône, in that respect, than to most California. In terms of aromas and flavors, it is lively and pretty exciting, moving from spicy notes (caraway, garrigue, white pepper), to something like a sugar glaze on a cherry danish, another note reminiscent of root beer, as well as a little meatiness, like dry-cured meat or aged beef. A very satisfying and food-friendly wine.
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2008 Cristom Pinot Gris

Clear, bright, soft golden color. Medium intensity aromatics of pear, apricot, crème brûlée, and stone. Dry on the palate, with medium acidity, medium alcohol, and flavors of pear, apple, citrus, lemon water. A little alcohol is noticeable as the wine warms up. Medium finish. Pair with a salad dressed in a fruit-based vinaigrette. Recommended.
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2006 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

A Napa biggie, a cousin of the pricier Quintessa. Nose of blackberry, eucalyptus, and earth. Rich feel on palate seemingly coming from myriad directions: dark currants, cocoa/chocolate, even some hints of pumpkin pie spice blend. The fruit, however, is a tad out of whack to the tannins and the wine is a bit “hot” (14.5% alc.) making it seem a bit unbalanced. A sinewy, semi-long finish that is slightly sweet. Nevertheless, a quite good wine, and a bargain when compared to many of its pricey Napa neighbors. Try with grilled hanger steak. Highly recommended.