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January 2005

January 7, 2005

Guenoc 2000 Petite Sirah – Serpentine Meadow

So few wineries produce Petite Sirah as a main varietal offering, and for good reasons. The grapes are almost exclusively used in blends, due to their robust nature, and in most cases, they require aging in bottles on their own. We encourage winemakers to attempt the task of producing a Petite Sirah, and here is an example from the Guenoc Valley. Although the winery produces over 13,000 cases under the North Coast label ($18), they also go premium with the Serpentine Meadow Vineyard, which offers only 500 cases. A deep, reddish purple, thick juice with long legs and intense mouth feel delivers aromas and flavors of chocolate, dark ripe plums and leather. A long velvety finish ensues. Be sure to open the bottle early and try it with a leg of lamb with beans.

Price: $35

Other reds we've tasted
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January 14, 2005

Napa Cellars 2002 Zinfandel

The folks at Rombauer and Frank Family wineries joined forces in the Napa Cellars project in Oakville to deliver wines that are worth the price. After tasting several of their offerings, we think this mission was accomplished. Winemaker Todd Graff is in charge of overseeing the production by blending juice sourced from several vineyards in the Napa Valley. The 2002 Zinfandel, being extremely young and dark, exhibits an intense nose composed of dark berries and spice and a reminder of port. It’s a big wine in the mouth and you’ll want to race after some venison to pair it up or wait for cheese.

Price: $20

Other Zinfandels we've tasted
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January 21, 2005

Sauvignon Republic – 2004 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Ready for a 2004? Okay, here is one for you: a crisp and well-crafted Sauvignon Blanc from an upstart project manned by four veterans of the food and wine industry. What’s different here, you ask? “We are committed to becoming the experts on Sauvignon Blanc and our commitment to produce it around the world in the best locations should give us unique visibility,” says John Buechsenstein, winemaker for Sauvignon Republic. We think they are off to a good start offering from New Zealand. Terroir is so important for that varietal and the 2004 stays true to character without being too “pipi de chat.” This is a clear, non-malolactic fermentation with no wood product, which lets natural components express themselves. Lime, rich tropical fruits and slight herbaceous scents fill this medium-bodied wine, which is pleasant and refreshing in the mouth with a lingering finish and a touch of sweetness. Serve it with Halibut in lime sauce and tarragon.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $16

Other Sauvignon Blancs we've tasted
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January 28, 2005

Tudor 2000 Pinot Noir - Santa Lucia Highlands

Can you believe it; a new winery? Dan Tudor after making award winning wines at Tepuesquet in the Santa Maria Valley since 1982, proceeds with his namesake project. This time concentrating on the Pinot Noir grape and selecting fruit from family owned vineyards in the Santa Lucia Higlands AVA of Monterey County. Small yields, traditional techniques emanating of his ancestral Croatia combine to make a totally handcrafted wine. Fourteen hundred cases of this inaugural release were produced. Nice color, not too deep and dark, very fruit forward, red berries, dark cherries and a hint of spice and cocoa. Full bodied yet velvety in the mouth, vanillin and smoke come mid-palate. Layered flavors linger through the long and progressive finish. Duck leg confit is a possibility.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $35

Other Pinot Noirs we've tasted
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