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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Baptiste Cuvelier Cuvée Del Maule

In 2009 the Cauquenes region of Chile suffered a terrible earthquake, and therein lies a tale of temblors and terroir. The earthquake wrought significant destruction there, and the winery did not go untouched. Barrels were thrown everywhere. Winemaker Baptiste Cuvelier picked from surviving barrels, and made the best blend possible from what survived, producing a startlingly good wine. All the grapes are fair trade and are grown organically. The wine is very well balanced, with good tannins and bright acids dancing together, promising significant cellar time. It is spicy, rich, and minty. The spice is black pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Richness comes from a blend of black and red fruits, blackcurrant, mulberry, and raspberry together, along with a bit of tobacco leaf and coffee. It also has a very interesting touch of mint, like the inside stripe of an Andes (get it?) mint without the chocolate. Vanilla from the wood makes an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet, the finish quite long. This is a surprisingly good wine, carved from a tragedy, and some of the proceeds will be returned to the region for ongoing earthquake relief. And it just tastes delicious. Highly recommended.
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2006 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

At first, you notice cherry raspberry aromas, with darker sweet fruit in the flavors—even caramelized fruit. Not much tannin apparent, when drinking the wine on its own, and an unmemorable finish. But with food, it becomes more balanced, less sweet: the wine in your glass just seems to disappear. Try it with something not too heavy, like pasta with tomato sauce. Recommended.
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Pairing Up To Get Down At Hop Woo BBQ

Eddie Lin, of Deep End Dining and NPR’s “Good Food,” recently asked a group of food bloggers to join him for a special off-the-menu “romantic dinner” hosted by Chef Lupe Liang. Each dish—prepared with love—is based on an ingredient that stimulates a certain spot on the map of human sexuality. Be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, the intention of the ingestion is to get one’s motor running.
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2009 Baptiste Cuvelier Cuvée Del Maule

In 2009 the Cauquenes region of Chile suffered a terrible earthquake, and therein lies a tale of temblors and terroir. The earthquake wrought significant destruction there, and the winery did not go untouched. Barrels were thrown everywhere. Winemaker Baptiste Cuvelier picked from surviving barrels, and made the best blend possible from what survived, producing a startlingly good wine. All the grapes are fair trade and are grown organically. The wine is very well balanced, with good tannins and bright acids dancing together, promising significant cellar time. It is spicy, rich, and minty. The spice is black pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Richness comes from a blend of black and red fruits, blackcurrant, mulberry, and raspberry together, along with a bit of tobacco leaf and coffee. It also has a very interesting touch of mint, like the inside stripe of an Andes (get it?) mint without the chocolate. Vanilla from the wood makes an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet, the finish quite long. This is a surprisingly good wine, carved from a tragedy, and some of the proceeds will be returned to the region for ongoing earthquake relief. And it just tastes delicious. Highly recommended.
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2009 Vini del Sole Primitivo

Green pepper, rather than black, on the nose with hints of thyme in the background. Some blackberry notes but no great fruit and mildly herbaceous. Still, certainly a serviceable quaff in an everyday Italian. A good wine for spaghetti or sausage and peppers. Recommended.
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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.