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September 2006

September 4, 2006

Hollywood & Vine Cellars 2005 "2480" Chardonnay

Actor/director/screenwriter Doug Barr, best known for his roles on television series “The Fall Guy” and “Designing Women,” relocated to Napa Valley from Hollywood in the early 1990’s. Inspired to try his hand at the wine business, Doug called his longtime pal, Bruce Orosz, and together they created Hollywood and Vine Cellars. Recruiting one of the most talented winemakers in the valley, Celia Masyczek, H & V released their first vintage in 1998. The name “2480” refers to an address not on Hollywood Boulevard nor Vine Street in Los Angeles, but rather to a piece of Napa property Barr purchased from the estate of Maynard Amerine, a pioneer in the California wine industry as well as an author and professor at University of California at Davis. In the process, “2480” pays homage to this illustrious man. The direction here is an artisan program delivering very special wines in quite limited quantities: 830 cases for this current release. A pale, noble gold color turns you on to bright aromas of summer fruit, green apples and honey. In the mouth, you will love the friendly texture delivering additional flavors of jasmine, cream soda and toasty vanilla. Robust in the finish, you can easily pair it with late summer barbecue foods like salmon and squash.

Rating: 14.5/20

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Other Chardonnays we've tasted

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September 11, 2006

Gloria Ferrer 1996 Carneros Cuvée

The Ferrer family is a force to be reckoned with in the Spanish wine business, dating back to 1914, with the Freixenet brand. Although they imported their sparkling wines to this side of the Atlantic, José Ferrer began searching for a vineyard in California to bring his family’s legacy to the United States. Named after his wife, Gloria Ferrer winery opened in 1986 in the Carneros hills of Sonoma County, complete with Spanish-style architecture and vistas reminiscent of the family’s home in Catalonia, Spain. Our weekly offering represents the fine sparkling wine that Gloria Ferrer set out to produce in the New World, and according to our noses and palates, we think they have succeeded. Uncorking the eye-catching bottle unleashes an array of flavors. Things Asian come to mind like ginger; and from New Zealand, kiwi. A strong backbone and robust character is delivered by a dominance of Pinot Noir. It has the right age, but it will remain fresh and explosive for some time to come. You can drink it by itself, of course, but you’ll be surprised to experience how well it behaves at the table. Sushi would work perfectly with this Cuvée, but chicken and veal would be a pleasant pairing as well.

Rating: 15.5/20

Other Sparkling Wines we've tasted
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September 18, 2006

J.L. Chave Selection 2003 Saint-Joseph Offerus

In the tradition of the Saint-Joseph Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée of France's Rhône region, this 2003 Syrah greets you with subtle perfumes of blackcurrants and raspberries. Already showing a bit of age, it exhibits aromas of leather and licorice as well. You will quickly forget the robust approach as the wine remains light and elegant in the mouth. There is finesse and harmony, and the finish does not disappoint either. Remember that these wines benefit from being served chilled, between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius. With that in mind you can sip this classy French red, but consider pairing it with a light rabbit stew or even fish.

Rating: 14/20

Other Syrahs we've tasted
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September 25, 2006

Fleming Jenkins 2004 Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah

Going for the gold is something the folks at the Fleming Jenkins winery strive for—and for good reason. The winery takes its name from Peggy Fleming, the world-famous American figure skater who brought home gold from the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. With her husband of 36 years, Dr. Greg Jenkins, she began living her dream of owning and running a winery, taking over a vineyard in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains formerly tended by Jesuits since 1888. There the couple created this 2004 Syrah, a big boy that you can actually drink now, with its pleasing bouquet and soft tannins. You’ll find chocolate and dark berries in the mid palate and a bit of smoke in the finish. We suggest pairing it with meats like lamb or steak. With only seventy cases produced, we urge you to rush (or skate) over to your local wine merchant and try a bottle.

Rating: 14/20

Other Syrahs we've tasted
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