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Palate Press 2010 Grand Tasting

On December 10, eighty-five wine professionals, wine aficionados, and wine-curious friends gathered at the home of Palate Press Publisher David Honig for the 2010 Palate Press Grand Tasting, an evening of blind wine tasting. We opened 135 different wines from around the world, from Ahr to the Yakima Valley, and from Assyrtiko to Zinfandel.
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2006 Gnekow Family Winery Old Vine Zinfandel Campus Oaks

This is simple, one-dimensional, jammy, and oaken. It is also cloudy, not something you see as often in these days of high-quality winemaking. The fruit is slightly peppery sour cherry and raspberry. The oak is not integrated, but seems to bear almost no relationship to the fruit, coming to the palate after the fruit and overwhelming it. Evan at this price point, this cannot be recommended.
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2006 Vezer La Salette

Tasted at a recent show of North American wines, this red blend stood out of the bottled crowd. Deep, opaque purple color shows off a nose of violets and dark chocolate and toast. Chewy and dense at first, it yields languorous blackberry and pepper flavors upheld by soft tannins and a nice sugar balance. A very nice yin and yang of velvet and strength. A great wine with winter dishes, especially a cassoulet. But it’s not just for winter, either. Pricey, but a keeper.
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2007 Long Gamma Cellars Red Blend

The color is deep purple. Aromas of ripe red fruit, blackberry, black cherry, hint of spice. In the mouth, a pleasant melding of lush fruit that is expressive, but not an oppressive fruit bomb. Good balance and taste of fruit through front, mid palate and finish. Enough acidity and structure to let it pair well with many foods. Drinkable alone as well though, with good 'quaffability' factor. Finish slightly off dry, not hot or tannic. Read the full review on Simple Hedonisms.
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2007 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley

Very juicy wine up front, offering up loads of blueberry, plum, and some prune, along with some coffee on the mid-palate. There are some obvious wood tones, cedar and spice. Unfortunately, it is less than the sum of its parts, disjointed and unbalanced. The fruit is too jammy, the coffee too bitter, the finish too sudden and short. It is reasonably priced and might work with heavily sauced barbecue toward the end of the summer, but it is not terribly special.
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2007 Laurel Glen Za Zin

This is not a wine for the delicate or unsuspecting. Raspberry, mocha, unsweetened chocolate and wax are all rolled up on the end of a wooden stave, which somebody is about to sneak up behind you with and beat you over the head. That might be the 15.5% alcohol at work. Pairing recommendations? None. Drink this as a snack.
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2006 Deerfield Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel, Buchignani/Garcia Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley

The nose is a load of blueberries, chocolate, tobacco - and fresh pecan pie, straight from the oven. All of a sudden, it was autumn, and I was diving into a moist pile of leaves in my front yard. That sweet, bold earth scent filled my mouth, and the finish had a plum and cherry chutney element that reminded me of a holiday in Chicago - trees lit up, walking the Miracle Mile and stopping for a hot apple cider.