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2008 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte

This white Bordeaux spent 12 months in 50% new barrels. The nose was shy, the color almost clear. On the palate it was subtle and soft, offering tropical fruit on the attack, getting tart as it lingered on the palate, but never overpowering. Acids are not prevalent, so drink it now, with garlic crab. Recommended.
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2009 Matello Whistling Ridge Vineyard White

Clean, medium intensity aromatics of ripe peach, bright citrus, perfume, candied nectarine, and tart apple. Dry, medium-high acidity, medium body, flavors of lime zest, candied orange, and green apple. Vibrant and bright. Pair with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, kumquats, pepitas, pecorino romano, and cidre vinaigrette. Highly recommended.
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The Dreams of the Roussillon

The region of Roussillon falls clearly within the borders of France. It is also regularly amalgamated with its neighboring region, in the denomination of Languedoc-Roussillon. However, the area really has a story that is entirely its own. The windswept, hot, dry slopes that rise out of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea harbor a culture that has more in common with Spain's Catalonia than with the rest of France. The soils and climate are more reminiscent of Priorat, which lies just south of the Pyrenees Mountains from Roussillon, rather than the rest of the Languedoc.
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2008 Château Pape Clément

This still-young wine spent 18-22 months in new barrels. Soft tannins outweigh acids. Primary flavors are tart red fruit, cranberry and rhubarb, with some dark cherry in the background, evolving toward darker fruits followed by unsweetened chocolate on the finish. Overall mouth-feel was rich. Recommended.
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2010 Dominio de Berzal Blanco

A fairly traditional winery in Rioja produces this wine from 50-year-old viura vines, blended with a little malvasia. The nose is aromatic, as you’d expect. On the palate it is reminiscent of Chablis, but the flavors are more gentle and rounder, especially toward the end. A bit of steeliness re-awakens in a slightly citric finish; very dry. Recommended.
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2010 Seven of Hearts Rosé

Clear, bright, medium-light intensity, watermelon pink. Clean, medium-low intensity aromas of strawberry, melon rind, under ripe cherry, apple skin; a little heat on the nose (14.7 abv). Dry, medium body, medium-high acidity, medium-high alcohol, medium intensity flavors: citrus, tart apple, raspberry, stone fruit; noticeable heat on the palate. Refreshing and easy drinking; pair with baked ham. Recommended.
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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.