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March 2005

March 4, 2005

Tenute Silvio Nardi — 1999 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Overall, Tenute Silvio Nardi produces 20,000 cases in Tuscany, but the prized Manachiara is produced in much less quantities from a low yielding 45-year-old vineyard. The family-owned winery prides itself on outstanding vines and uses only 100 percent Sangiovese.

We have found the wines to be very masculine and robust but well-balanced and with some character. You probably would want to age it for a few years, but as for now it’s still drinking young and aggressive. A deep ruby color leads you to a complex beverage. It's clean, intense fragrance is ripe with scents of ripe fruit and jam, floral hints, cocoa and coffee, with a hint of spice. Full-bodied, it would hold well against food like duck. This Sangiovese packs tannins and possesses a long sweet finish.

Rating: 14.5/20
Price: $65

Other Sangiovese we've tasted
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Going to Italy? See our travel guide.

March 11, 2005

Winemaker Mitch Cosentino

Consentino Winery — 2000 Charbono Napa Valley

Yes, it’s time to talk about that obscure Italian varietal. The Cosentino Winery and owner Mitch Cosentino is now involved in three projects and makes more than 40 wines from 20 varietals. For this bottling the grapes were selected from the Gary Heitz family vineyard in Napa Valley. This robust and rustic wine, which was aged for three years in French oak barrels, has an even red color and fruity flavors. It is quite gentle in the mouth and delivers complex flavors from cocoa to spice via leather. The finish lingers and is a bit hot. Leave it aside for a few years and you will have a great wine for steak on a cold winter night—that is, if you manage to get one of the 640 bottles produced.

Rating: 14/20
Price: $25

Other red varietals we've tasted
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March 18, 2005

Cousiño Macul — 2003 Chardonnay Antiguas Reservas

Next year the Cousiño Macul winery will celebrate 150 years of winemaking, so they are not necessarily new or small. Nevertheless, we wanted to feature this Chardonnay for its outstanding value. This particular Cuvée, which has been produced since 1969, is what a great New World Chardonnay should be: rich, good fruit concentration, a nice acid balance and not over-oaked.

The low-yielding estate in Buin, Chile delivers a nicely colored deep yellow wine with a pleasant, fresh and complex nose, mainly a rich apple fragrance with hints of lemon custard, nutmeg and vanilla. A multitude of flavors await in the mouth; the aromas are not quite tropical but have a light citrus and peach taste.

This white wine is fine to drink by itself, and we would stay with lighter foods when pairing it.

Rating: 14/20
Price: $12

Other Chardonnays we've tasted
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March 25, 2005

Iron Horse Vineyards — 2003 T-bar-T Cuvée R

“This is a fantastic, highly unusual blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier,” says winemaker Forrest Tancer. You’re all familiar with Iron Horse Vineyards by now, but we’re happy to bring to you this fresh cuvée, perfect for a spring evening.

The grapes from this wine, produced on Iron Horse’s T-bar-T estate, are developed from vineyards naturally more floral than grassy, which makes this a good blend with Viognier. The composition, however, is mostly Sauvignon Blanc—82 percent blended with 18 percent Viognier.

After a blooming Buckeye and Manzanita tree bouquet, flavors of sweet licorice and citrus take over in the mouth. A full-bodied, intense and high-alcohol beverage, the Cuvée R will hold against a lot of food. Pair it with vegetable salads, eggplant crostini or an array of seafood dishes.

Rating: 13.5/20
Price: $22

Other Sauvignon Blancs we've tasted
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