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October 2006

New wine releases from around the world



High Valley

Two Angels
2005 Petite Sirah; $26
13.5/20Savory aromas of dark berry, pomegranate, tamarind and roasted game. Fruit flavors mixed with toasted oak and roasted coffee. Round mouthfeel and lingering finish.


2003 Old Vines Zinfandel; $10
13/20Abundant cherry, blackberry and plum fruit that is offset by notes of black pepper and spice. The old vines chosen provide intensity of flavor and character.

Malibu-Newton Canyon

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $17
13/20A lush, full-bodied wine with an engaging nose. Aged oak, a hint of berry and a touch of nutmeg on the nose.


Fetzer Vineyards
2005 Valley Oaks California Riesling; $9
13/20Delicate, yet full and pairs well with spicy Thai or Asian dishes as well as traditional holiday foods like baked ham or turkey. Slightly sweet with fruit-forward flavors.


2005 Chardonnay Pinnacles Ranches; $12
13.5/20A dollop of oak highlights the ripe stone fruit flavors and tropical notes, and add a soft, creamy finish. Full-bodied, elegant and mouth-filling.

2005 Pinot Noir Pinnacles Ranches; $15
13.5/20Black cherry and bright raspberry aromas accented by floral notes and sweet, spicy oak. Ripe cherry flavors with rich and velvety tannins lead to a lingering finish.

Jekel Vineyards
2005 Riesling; $12
14/20An off-dry Riesling that stands up well to spicy foods. Flavors of fresh, sugary fruits with a rich mouthfeel and good acid balance.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2004 Le Mistral; $40
15/20This blend of mostly Syrah with a significant amount of Grenache has flavors that are concentrated and intense. It has elegant tannins and a polished finish that lingers.

Mt. Veeder

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon; $65
14/20This wine has a pleasant constituent combination that will allow it to be enjoyed when young and also to age well for many years.

2003 Chardonnay; $32
15/20Fresh and slightly lemony tone with a suggestion of pear, almond and wood. It will gain depth and complexity for several more years, or you can enjoy it now.

Napa Valley

Grgich Hills
2004 Chardonnay; $38
13.5/20Full bodied with fresh aromas of acacia and citrus flowers, honey and mineral. Bright acidity and a nice balance of oak and body.

Grgich Hills
2004 Zinfandel; $30
14.5/20Flavors and aromas of strawberries, raspberries, with a touch of forest floor and leather. A touch of Petite Sirah is added for more spice and body.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $48
No RatingDisplays ripe fruit aromas of plum and blackberry, while the integration of subtle oak flavors comes from the variety of barrels selected, yielding a hint of cinnamon and allspice.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2003 Insignia 30th Anniversary; $165
17.5/20Ultra-premium blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with rich aromas and flavors framed by mouth-coating tannins and followed by an extremely long finish.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2005 Sauvignon Blanc; $30
14/20Aromas ranging from floral and mineral notes to citrus and green melon. The expressive palate is clean and balanced with excellent richness and length.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2002 Syrah; $35
14.5/20A touch of Viognier was added for complexity and floral attributes to this Syrah. The wine is rich in ripe fruit extract and has a long, silky finish.

2000 Chardonnay; $45
No RatingNow in its prime, this wine has developed the smooth, round mouthfeel and deep, rich mineral flavor the winery strived for.

2001 Merlot; $35
14/20Intense with a depth of character that gives it structure to develop in the bottle. Cherry, tobacco and currants come to mind in the nose and mouth.

2004 Pinot Noir; $32
14/20Although Mayacamas generally ages their wines longer, but because of this 2004 vintage's attractive flavors they decided to release it now.

Mumm Napa
2001 Blanc de Blancs; $26
No RatingThis sparkling blend of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay enjoys extended yeast ageing in the bottle bringing out nuances of warm brioche, toasted nuts and vanilla beans.

Mumm Napa
Brut Prestige; $19
13/20This assemblage of mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay opens with layered white blossom aromas, followed by refreshing acidity and a rich, lingering finish.

Mumm Napa
Cuvée M; $19
14/20With a light peach rose color, this sparkler has full flavors of peach and pear that combine with a creamy caramel character that lingers into a long finish.

2004 Merlot; $50
No RatingPrimary aromas of cherry, raspberry, smoke and currant with flavors of plums, cola nut and vanilla followed by a toast-laden finish.

2005 Reserve Chardonnay; $45
14/20Robust and forward with flavors of Fuji apple, pear, lemondrop and a touch of vanilla custard. The acidity in the finish gives it a nice balance.

Paso Robles

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Keyes Canyon Ranches; $15
13.5/20Effusive black cherry and Dutch chocolate complement the spicy, peppery tones. Opulent dark fruit flavors with soft, velvety tannins and a long, rich finish.

2003 Meritage; $33
No RatingBlend of mostly Cabernet with a touch of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Rich, intense flavors of chocolate-dipped fruit accompanied by notes of sweet oak and structured tannins.

2004 Zinfandel Keyes Canyon Ranches; $12
13/20Ripe raspberry and black cherry aromas. Flavor notes of dark chocolate and cinnamon are accented with bright flavors of raspberry and cherry.

Sonoma County

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2004 Sonoma-Napa Chardonnay; $48
14/20A balanced, medium-bodied wine with aromas of lemon cream, toasty brioche and hazelnut, followed by a long, crisp finish.


2005 Pinot Grigio; $12
13/20Notes of pear and apple accented with hints of grapefruit and honeydew. Flavors of pear, peach and apple mingle together with notes of crisp citrus.


Casablanca Valley

2004 Merlot Reserva; $10
13.5/20Concentrated and full of finesse, with blackberry and cherry flavors. It features round, soft tannins that lead to a long, persistent finish.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva; $10
13.5/20Floral accents mingle with fresh stone fruit, citrus and hints of spice. Zesty flavor, with crisp notes of citrus fruit, melon and herb.

2004 Primus; $17
13/20This blend of Carmenère, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the rare Carmenère varietal with well-structured mature fruit and smooth, yet powerful tannins.

Colchagua Valley

Hacienda Araucano
2002 Alka Carménère; $65
15/20Made from the rare, "lost" varietal Carménère, this wine has a dark garnet-red color and reveals aromas of black cherry and vanilla. Balanced in the mouth with silky tannins.

Hacienda Araucano
2002 Gran Araucano Cabernet Sauvignon; $35
14/20Powerful black currant and vanilla aromas on the nose with a forward, complex character. Rich in flavors and a firm tannic structure without being harsh.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva; $10
13/20Deep flavors of ripe dark berries highlighted with earthy tones that accent the elegant oak tones. Plush with soft, rich tannins and a lingering finish.



Château de Ségriès
Red 2004; $13
12.5/20Nose is dominated by woodland flowers, apples, pears and candied fruit. On the palate, it is full-bodied, delicately sweet and well-rounded, in harmony with the aromas.

Domain Paul Autard
Red 2004; $11
13.5/20A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Muscardin. Autard's vineyard uses no pesticides or chemical anti-rot in the making of their wines.

E. Guigal
Red 2003; $11
No RatingFrom vineyards that are more than 2400 years old (extra zero not a typo) this is a blend of 50 percent Syrah with 30 to 40 percent Grenache and Mourvèdre.



Fetzer Vineyards
2005 Valley Oaks Riesling; $8
14/20The two grape-growing regions lend different aromas and tastes to this balanced, crisp and refreshing Riesling. It has a sweetness that lingers in a pleasant way.


Chianti Classico

2004 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico RS; $15
13/20Made from Sangiovese grapes, it is a lush fruit forward wine aged in oak barriques, favoring intensely flavored meat and game dishes.

Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Poggio San Polo
2003 Rosso di Montalcino; $25
14/20Made from Sangiovese grapes, it is rich with varietal fruit paired with harmonious tannins.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG

2003 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; $22
14/20Using Prugnolo Gentile, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolino grapes, this Italian red is aged in French oak for two years and has violet aromas rusting on a scrumptious acid and tannin structure.

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(Updated: 12/22/08 SV)

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