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June 2005

June 3 , 2005

Hall — 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

Here is a fresh new baby from the folks at Hall winery, a fairly new operation started by Craig and Kathryn Hall to produce classic Bordeaux offerings. If you have a chance to go by Napa, you should see the amazing facility just completed. Everything the Halls do has a great style. For this Sauvignon Blanc, you get exactly what the vineyard delivered—no wood, no malolactic fermentation. Despite its light color, the wine has great body and intense hints of grapefruit, lychee, honeydew melon and honeysuckle. In the mouth, it starts with flavors of pear, quince and guava and continues to a long finish accented with acacia and spice. Pair it with a crab salad accompanied with green papaya salsa.

Rating: 14/20
Price: $20

Other Sauvignon Blancs we've tasted
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June 10, 2005

Z-52 — 2002 Agnes' Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel

This week’s selection from California’s Central Valley comes from winemaker Philip Zorn, whose desire for a small-lot, single-vineyard wine has driven him to open Z-52, a boutique winery specializing in the small case production of Zinfandel. In fact, Z-52, named for the letter “Z” shared in both Zinfandel and Zorn, has released only two bottlings this year. Fortunately, that means they have put extra attention and care into this particular wine, which was grown on Agnes’ Vineyard near some of the oldest Zinfandel plantings in California.

The extra attention has paid off. Aged for nearly two years in both French and American oak, this Zin is both rich and robust with fruity flavors of blackberry and plum fruit, complemented with a hint of black pepper on the back palate. This summer, try it with some spicy barbecued ribs just off the grill.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $16

Other Zinfandels we've tasted
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June 17, 2005

Roessler Cellars — 2002 Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir

This week’s selection comes from Alexander Valley in Mendocino County, Calif. The region’s cool, coastal breezes play an important factor in the way the grapes are grown; the winery harvests seven different clones and keeps them separate until the final blending. The result is a Pinot Noir that will deliver for years.

It is exotic and complex with flavors of Bing cherry, candy and ripe plum on the approach. Its full body will allow you to pair it with many different foods, from flavorful white fishes and salmon to your favorite Asian dishes. You’ll get your money’s worth out of this wine, especially with its lingering finish with seductive spicy flavors.

Rating: 15.5/20
Price: $42

Other Pinot Noirs we've tasted
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June 24, 2005

Piper-Heidsieck — Brut Vintage 1998

It’s rare to find vintage Champagne from the winemakers at Piper-Heidsieck; most of their Champagnes are blends of many different reserves, which give them their timeless taste. Every once in a while, however, when the conditions are perfect and the ripening optimal, an exceptional vintage Brut will emerge from their usual collection of cuvées. This is the case for Piper-Heidsieck’s Brut Vintage 1998, released last fall.

This is an elegant vintage, classy and refined with its golden color and fine bubbles. The nose is bright with aromas of rose, apricots, and even a hint of candy: nougat and caramel. On the palate is a fresh but full Champagne, filled with notes of tobacco and leather. The finish is light, with a hint of herbal tea.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $55

Other Sparklers & Champagnes we've tasted
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