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July 2006

July 1, 2006

Wattle Creek 2004 Sauvignon Blanc

Wattle Creek Winery’s Aussie founders Christopher and Kristine Williams wanted to bring a little bit of Australia to Mendocino County. The winery takes its name from their homeland’s indigenous Wattle Tree that has distinctive yellow blossoms that mark the start of spring throughout the Land Down Under. Like its namesake, this Wattle Creek Sauvignon Blanc features pale yellow hues and vibrant streaks of green that make it a lovely accessory for a warm spring or summer day. With the basic character of a Sauvignon Blanc, this fresh and crisp wine is a generous display of ripe grapefruit and lime framed by a clean finish. Freshly shucked oysters and all shellfish can be enjoyed with this Alexander Valley summer delight.

Rating: 13.5/20

Other Sauvignon Blancs we've tasted
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July 10, 2006

Cobblestone 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Chances are you have never heard of the Cobblestone label—for good reason. It’s new and they only produce 500 cases of Chardonnay from a family estate in Monterey and 500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. Saul and Anita Levine are proud of the juice that comes from their land and rightfully so. This 2002 Cab explodes with flavors and delivers a serious punch all the way to the finish. We’d love to try it after at least five years, but even as it is, we can tell you this one’s a keeper—should you be able to find it that is. These red grapes are harvested from the Atlas Peak appellation in the Napa Valley, and from there, the juice is aged in a combination of barrels for 22 months. The result is a dark ruby, tannic and complex beverage. It fills your nostrils with black fruit and minty mocha scents. The robust vino delivers dark berry, pomegranate and vanilla flavor in layers. More flavors are revealed in the finish like clove, and smoky oak. You’ll want to bring this one to the table with a serious red meat offering from the grill.

Rating: 16.5/20

Other Cabernets we've tasted
Check out our guide to Napa Wine Country
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July 17, 2006

Rancho Arroyo Grande 2003 Estate Grown Chardonnay

How about something fresh you can sip as an aperitif and carry through your summer meal? This week’s featured wine comes from the sandy soils of the Thereza Vineyard on the California Central Coast’s Arroyo Grande Valley appellation. This is a well-made Chardonnay produced by chilling and racking the juice in French oak. It went through malolactic fermentation and was aged sur lie in 20 percent new French oak for a full year prior to bottling. You can expect tropical aromas of guava and citrus. Rich flavors of green apple and popcorn with a mineral character lead to a pleasant finish. Match it with salads, chicken or an array of fish choices.

Rating: 14/20

Other Chardonnays we've tasted
Check out our guide to Central Coast Wine Country.
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July 24, 2006

Oriel 2004 "Femme Fatale" Bordeaux Rosé

Since blending is a primordial technique in winemaking from Champagne to Bordeaux, why not engage in some “blending” in the wine business? Oriel, a totally new brand, blends traditional winemaking with modern, multinational business practices. As a result, consumers get limited production premium wines from 24 appellations in eight countries for low prices ranging from $15 to $25. Founder John Hunt has assembled a second-to-none winemaking team; some members are associated with wineries like Bryant Family, Château d’Yquem, Colgin, Dutton-Goldfield, Penfolds and Weingut Dürnberg to name a few. In this case, Esme Johnstone of Château de Sours in Bordeaux has crafted an attractive and flavorful vino that works as an aperitif, as a gorgeous companion for your summer meals and is good for sipping with a fruity dessert. Though complex with a dark red hue, the wine remains light, elegant and balanced. Scents of fresh fruits, like crisp white peaches, take you into the glass to discover pleasing strawberry flavors. A good finish gives you a satisfyingly fatal experience.

Rating: 15/20

Other Rosés we've tasted
Check out our guide to France.
For more information, visit

July 31, 2006

Signorello 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

When was the last time you had a bottle of anything Signorello? Since the production levels are quite limited, you don’t come across this Napa estate program winery very often. Their flagship label is the Padrone blend ($100) dedicated to winery founder Raymond Signorello, Sr. Now his son, Ray Jr., commands a premium program delivering rich wines with commendable structure, complete with wine club, private reserve tasting program and interactive culinary classes. Assisted by winemaker Pierre Birebent, Ray crafts quality wines that are not over the top and reasonably priced for their level of quality. Just released, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate will take you on a pleasant voyage. Starting with black currant, cedar and vanilla scents, this full-bodied blend of 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 percent Merlot and 11 percent Cabernet Franc, will transport you to a fine destination. On the way, you’ll experience flavors of ripe cassis, blackberries and hints of tobacco. To finish the trip, you’ll be accompanied by velvety tannins. We’d advise you to stop by a steakhouse along the way.

Rating: 16.5/20

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



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