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June 2007

June 4, 2007

J Vin Gris

2006 J Vin Gris Rosé
Russian River Valley, California

While Judy Jordan began her career as a geologist, her interests quickly turned to winemaking, and she turned her focus to the unique terroir of the Russian River Valley. Of her estate’s 278 acres, 150 are currently dedicated to growing Pinot Noir, which is showcased in J’s Vin Gris. Made using the French saignée technique, the light pink shade of this wine is a result of its brief contact with the grape skins during its press. After fermentation, part of the juice is aged in French oak barrels, while the remainder ages in neutral oak casks and undergoes a partial malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine features aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, lime peel and rose petals with flavors of cranberry, strawberry and raspberries. Only 745 cases of this dry and slightly acidic wine that works well as a palate cleanser were produced. This rosé is also a great companion to creamy dishes like the spinach mélange it is currently paired with at the J Vineyards & Winery visitor center.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $20

Other Rosés we've tasted
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June 11, 2007

Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc Redwood Ranch
Sonoma County, California

Gary Farrell moved to Sonoma County in 1971 with the intention of continuing his Political Science education at Sonoma State University, but his growing fascination with the wine world caused him to take a slight detour.  After beginning a wine-tasting group that sipped and studied products from the Russian River Valley, Gary began to try his hand at making his own wine and beer at home.  Soon after, he decided to pursue his true passion and studied under several respected winemakers like Davis Bynum, who offered him the position of winemaker at his winery in 1978.  After 20 years of working with other wineries, Gary Farrell opened his own just in time for the harvest of 2000.  While more than half of Farrell’s production consists of Pinot Noir, he also makes small batches of outstanding varietals, like his 2006 Sauvignon Blanc. Less than 3,000 cases were made of this bright wine with aromas of grapefruit, citrus zest and gooseberry. The aromas carry through to the palate, and are joined by notes of white peach, apricot and honeydew. Enjoy this crisp and refreshing wine with shellfish.

Rating: 15/20
Price: $25

Other Sauvignon Blancs we've tasted
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June 18, 2007

De La Montanya Primitivo

2005 De La Montanya Primitivo
Dry Creek Valley, California

When was the last time you tasted a Primitivo from California? Chances are that it’s been some time. Luckily, the De La Montanya family has crafted a small selection of this typically Italian varietal, once mistakenly thought to be a close relative of the Zinfandel grape, available only through their website and in their tasting room. The De La Montanya’s affection for this particular varietal can probably be attributed to Dennis De La Montanya’s youth, which he spent watching his Italian stepfather carry on his family’s tradition of creating wines in the basement of their California home. Wine truly became a family affair in 1995, when Dennis and his wife Tina opened their vineyards and filled the roles of brand manager and assistant winemaker with Ceci De La Montanya and Tami Collins (Tina’s sister), respectively. The family currently owns 200 acres of vineyards spread across eight ranches from Petaluma to Kelseyville, and continues to produce quality wines like the rich Primitivo, a robust wine that is a great partner to grilled summer fare.  The fruit-forward wine features a pleasant mouthfeel, and the ripe flavors remain true to the finish.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $34

Other Reds we've tasted
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June 25, 2007

Davero Rosato Sangiovese Rose

2005 DaVero Rosato Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese Rosé
Dry Creek Valley, California

Husband and wife team Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn are firm believers in the simple philosophy that quality products come from quality ingredients.  Ridgely, Managing Director of a strategic consulting firm, and McGlynn, a chef who trained in France and Germany, originally only viewed Olive Ridge Ranch as a welcome escape from the busy Bay Area.  But that thought quickly changed as their weekend getaway grew into a multi-crop farm that now yields the ingredients of their artisan products. They named their business DaVero after the Italian phrase “davvero!,” which literally means “really,” but is used conversationally as a way of saying that something is the best. For years, Olive Ridge Ranch produced artisanal honey, olive oil and preserves, and in 2003, the estate also began producing wine. The 2005 Rosé is DaVero’s first estate-grown vino, featuring grapes grown on the farm’s north-facing vineyard, a location that allows the fruit to remain on the vine longer, due to limited sunlight exposure. The resulting wine features deep, developed fruit flavors, and doesn’t have the over-the-top sweetness of a typical Rosé. Pair this refreshing, delicately-hued wine with your summer favorites, like a fresh garden salad or barbecued meat.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $15

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



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