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2009 Veramonte Pinot Noir Ritual

This rather large-bodied Pinot Noir has a label that says 14% alcohol, but a nose and sensation on the eyes that say 14.9%. It also shows cherries, dried strawberries, and sage. On the palate cherries and raspberries meet plenty of wood effects including vanilla, toast, and cinnamon. It also shows sage, marjoram, and a tiny hit of cayenne pepper. Tannins are big and a little dusty. Acids are a bit low compared to tannins and wood. The finish has some length, but ends up with an overwhelming sensation of new barrels. The glass half-full crowd would call this "a Pinot for people who don't like Pinot." The glass half-empty crowd would describe it as "a spoofilated Pinot wearing a Cali-Cab costume for Halloween." Drink it with fun-sized snickers and candy corn. Not recommended.
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Surprises Tasting Grgich Croatian Wines in NYC

During a recent New York tasting of Mike Grgich’s Croatian wines, his daughter Violet was the star attraction—in addition to the wines, of course. Napa-based Grgich is Croatian, and his winery there is called Grgić Vina. (Both English and Croatian are pronounced “gur-gich.”) Violet was in New York for their Croatian wines’ new vintage debuts.
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2010 Trisae Pinot Noir Rosé

A new release from Trisaetum Winery, located in the Willamette Valley’s Ribbon Ridge AVA. The color is clear, pale pink with just a touch of copper. On the nose, aromas are clean and light to medium intensity, including orange zest, crisp apples, strawberry, and cherry. Light bodied and dry on the palate with medium acidity, and gentle flavors including fresh apple, plum, raspberry, cherry, and strawberry; simple and refreshing with a mild finish. Keep the pairings simple too—fresh fruit, poached salmon, or chicken salad. Recommended.
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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.
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Nine New York Wineries to Watch

In the May 2006 issue of Wine Spectator Mitch Frank penned “New York Rising”, a story identifying New York as “America’s next great wine region” adding that “New York was once known for industrial bulk wine production, but passionate vintners, most working from small wineries, have dramatically improved the quality of the state's wines.
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2006 Mission Hill S.L.C. Merlot

2006 was a truly exceptional season in the Okanagan Valley, with one of the earliest starts to harvest and a long back season to leave grapes hanging and gaining ripeness and complexity. The 2006 S.L.C. (Single Lot Collection) Merlot from Mission Hill is a great testimony to the quality of the vintage, with its fine dark fruit, pleasantly chocolatey and spicy notes, fine, almost powdery tannins and very good length. Winemaker John Simes’ precise work is visible in this top-tier cuvée made from selected grapes grown at the southern edge of the Okanagan Valley, creating a well-crafted, balanced wine. It’s a textbook New World merlot whose 14% alcohol doesn’t show. Mission Hill wines are available in the US and they are worth seeking out. Recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Honig Schlucht Pinot Meunier

Clear, medium intensity, ruby red, bright. Clean nose, medium intensity aromas of red fruit, cherry, cranberry, strawberry, fresh mushroom, leaves, evergreen forest, dried flowers, baking spice, and bacon fat. Dry on the palate, elegant, medium-light body, medium to medium-high acidity, medium-low tannin, medium flavor intensity: red fruit, cherry, cranberry, apple skin, tart fruit, raspberry, dried violet. Medium-short finish. Pair with pasta in a red pepper sauce or herb-crusted pork tenderloin with raspberry glaze. Highly Recommended.