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February 2006

February 6, 2006

Cosentino Winery — 2002 Gewürztraminer

Should you have a craving for something different, instead of fishing out an old Cabernet or Chardonnay, try this new Gewürztraminer from Cosentino Winery in Napa Valley. Barrel-aged for seven months in German and French oak, this white wine holds floral aromas and spice that make it sweet on the nose. On the palate, however, the Gewürztraminer is surprisingly dry and well-balanced. Lush exotic fruit flavors linger through the finish. Only 390 cases were produced, so grab a couple of bottles while you can. It makes for a perfect aperitif, but matches well with sushi and other Pacific Rim cuisine dishes.

Rating: 14.5/20

Other Gerwürztraminers we've tasted
Check out our guide to Napa Valley
For more information, visit

February 13, 2006

Parsons Il Palazzone — 2000 Brunello di Montalcino

For many years, you’ve heard the saying, “To make a small fortune in the wine business, you must start with a large one.” Well, here comes a perfect example from Dick Parsons, CEO of Time Warner. After purchasing an estate in Tuscany called Tenuta Il Palazzone, Parsons began fulfilling his dream of involving himself in wine, which helped him to stay grounded in his demanding business life. Parsons has developed a special liking for Brunellos and is now producing 4,000 cases annually of this super Tuscan vino. The 2000 is still very young and is a nice keeper, but for now, you get a powerful pack of dark fruit scents such as plum, cherry and spice. Its deep ruby juices fill the mouth with balanced tannins broadcasting a plethora of flavors including cocoa and leather. You’ll want this one with a nice steak or osso bucco.

Rating: 14.5/20

Other Sangioveses we've tasted
Check out our guide to Italy
For more information, visit

February 20, 2006

Philip Shaw N°17 — Merlot/Cabernet/Cabernet Franc

When hearing about the Orange region, the first thing that pops into mind is usually either sunny Florida or California, not Australia. But this new region, located approximately 125 miles west of Sydney, has recently propelled itself into the limelight as a unique wine growing area, characterized by high elevation, intense sunlight and a cool climate. It’s in this domain that well-known Australian winemaker Philip Shaw decided to make his flagship brand. This Meritage-style blend contains 60 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet and 20 percent Cabernet Franc, and shows great depth of berry fruit and firm tannins. Try it with roast beef or a hearty stew.

Rating: 12.5/20

Other Red Blends and Meritages we've tasted
Check out our guide to Australia
For more information, visit

February 27, 2006

Zaca Mesa Winery — 2002 Syrah

Back in 1978, before Santa Ynez Valley emerged as a popular wine region and tourist destination, the winegrowers at Zaca Mesa planted the first Syrah grapes in Santa Barbara County. Ever since, the winery has produced this Rhône varietal, a traditionally dark, full-bodied wine with ripe tannins. This particular Syrah was hand-harvested, aged for sixteen months in French oak and minimally filtered before bottling. Expect intense flavors of rich blackberry, cassis and sage spice with a long finish. It will pair best with roasted lamb or a peppercorn steak with mushrooms.

Rating: 13.5/20

Other Syrahs we've tasted
Check out our guide to Santa Barbara, Calif. Wine Country
For more information, visit



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