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We may specialize in California wines but it is always instructive to experience what Oregon and Washington are doing. So, this Saturday we are pulling from recent arrivals and providing a thumb-nail sketch of varietals and styles along the Pacific coast. All are different varietals with one exception: a red blend of five grapes from the state of Washington.
2007 King Estate Pinot Gris, Oregon
Regular price 17.95; our price 12.99
My favorite Pinot Gris from King Estate is the Domaine bottling which sells for over $20.00 and is spectacular. However, the Signature Collection being poured today is no slouch. Enjoying an 89-point rating, the wine offers a bouquet of ripe peach, sweet grapefruit, orange blossom and tropical fruit. In the mouth, the wine is lively and tasting of citrus/tropical fruit, kiwi and pear. The long, cool growing season allowed for balanced acid with a nice mouth-coating texture.
2007 Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling, Washington
Regular price 11.95; our price 9.99
This wine is almost clear in color as Rieslings have very little pigment and are generally tank fermented. The grapes for this wine were selected because of their higher acidity, which emphasizes the apricot, peachy flavors and creates a good match for strong cheeses, desserts or extremely spicy/Asian foods. The aroma is floral with hints of peach, quince, lime and clove. It has rich and full-flavored fruit on the palate and is balanced by refreshing, crisp acidity.
2006 Montevina Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Regular price 9.99; our price 7.99
This wine offers ripe cherry aromas, complex flavors, silky tannins and some age potential. It is forward with wild currant and plum flavors as well as hints of allspice and dark chocolate on the palate. Nice for the price.
2006 Napa Cellars Merlot, Napa Valley
Regular price 18.95; our price 14.99
Move south a little in the valley where the San Pablo Bay cools the vineyards in the afternoon and you have perfect Merlot weather. The majority of this blend hails from these cooler regions in Napa Valley, such as Oak Knoll and Carneros. This wine is classic Napa Valley Merlot with a deep ruby-red color; aromas of tart red cherry with hints of black tea and cinnamon-vanilla spice joining the supple tannins on the palate.
2006 Three Rivers Winery River’s Red, Washington
Regular price 15.00; our price 12.99
Five grapes formed this Columbia Valley blend: Syrah 48%, Cabernet Sauvignon 23%, Cabernet Franc 18%, Malbec 9% and Petit Verdot 2%. It earned 89-points in Wine Spectator: “On the lighter side, but shows nicely focused blueberry and plum fruit, typical of Syrah with a bit more restraint, and firm tannins to lift the finish. Drink now through 2011.”
2007 Frei Brothers Zinfandel, Reserve, Dry Creek Valley
Regular price 19.95; our price 15.99
By 1895, Andrew Frei was producing 20,000 cases of high quality wine stored in huge redwood casks. In 1903, Frei turned the business over to his two sons, Walter and Louis and the winery was officially named Frei Bros. In the 1930’s, Julio Gallo entered a deal with the Frei brothers to buy all the wine they could produce. Knowing the fine potential of the property, E. & J. Gallo Winery bought the winery in 1978. The quality level has never wavered since. Robert Parker rated the wine at 90 points: “A super bargain, the deep ruby/purple-tinged 2007 Zinfandel exhibits a spicy, flowery bouquet of blue and red fruits, gritty/robust flavors, abundant fruit, and an exuberant, lively finish with no hard edges. The alcohol is relatively restrained for a Zinfandel, and the wine is seamlessly constructed. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. One of the best value producers in the Gallo empire is the Frei Brothers Reserve.” (12/08)