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2009 Brittan Chardonnay

Clear, medium intensity, straw yellow color. Clean, medium intensity aromas, yellow apple, cooked tropical fruit, candied lemon peel, spun sugar, and caramelized pineapple; simply intoxicating. Dry, full body, medium acidity, medium-long finish, candied orange, peaches and cream, slight butter, roasted apples, and pears. Pair with crab, lobster, or prawns. Highly recommended.
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2009 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett

This has a lovely floral nose, magnolia and roses, toffee, and the tiniest hint of petrol. On the palate it is off-dry, with very subtle creamy citrus, more key lime pie than key lime, moving toward apple on the mid-palate, all lightly-honeyed, with an acid background and bright citrus tartness around the edges. From start to finish a sweet nuttiness lingers very lightly under all the other flavors. The floral accents come alive again on the finish. Drink with baked clams. Highly Recommended.
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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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2009 Shane “The Charm”

Normally I don’t l do reviews of wines of very limited to no availability. But in the case of the Shane “The Charm” Pinot Noir I have to make an exception, for Shane Finley is a winemaker to watch. This “spare time” initial offering of Pinot from Shane, who has crafted wines at Kosta Browne, is a stunner. Deeply colored, with an enticing, lively nose of very ripe raspberries yielding to an explosion of fruit on the palate, with hints of chocolate and plum. Languorous finish. As this was Shane’s first Pinot on his own, only 100 cases were produced. But keep your eyes peeled. If his future Pinots are anything like this, leap on them. Perfect with simple grilled lamb chops. Come back, Shane! Highly recommended.
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2009 Domaine Debray Saint-Aubin Les Pucelles

An acid and mineral spike coated in soft wood, driven straight through the palate into the brain. Great fruit hangs from the spike, Meyer lemon and pear are followed by light toast and a hint of butterscotch. All the fruit and wood, though, is wrapped tightly around limestone and acid. When first opened it was tight as a drum, all acid and tartness, but after a few hours the flavors and aromas broke free. Give it air or time in the cellar. Highly recommended.
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Sicilia en Primeur

Last time I was in Sicily, there was great excitement in the local wine community about the creation of the island’s first DOCG, its first highly denominated wine classification (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Amongst the rest of us, there was a bit of puzzlement. The new DOCG would define a traditional, blended wine from the southwest corner of this triangular island, a fairly obscure wine from an international perspective: Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
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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.