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Besides good growing techniques (viticulture), and proper wine making procedures (oenology), it is the blending of wines that attest to the winemaker’s art. Once the wine is made in the many vats and/or barrels for a given vintage, it falls to the ability of the winemaker to choose the best possible combination to produce the outstanding bottle we simple must buy. Even if the barrels are all Cabernet Sauvignon, assembling the best combination for this vintage is imperative. In fact, some barrels are most likely not to make the cut. Some wineries produce a lesser Cab offering at a lower price and others simply sell it off. Or it may be blended with other varietals to make a wine that sometimes rises above the sum of the parts. This is the “art” of winemaking.
2008 PETER LEHMANN “LAYERS”, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
LIST PRICE 13.95; OUR PRICE 9.99
This is the first release of this wine which is a blend of Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay. Cold fermented in stainless steel tanks, this Australian wine with grapes from Adelaide and Barossa has 12% alcohol. The wine displays floral aromas as well as lemon-lime and peach. It is crisp, with vibrant flavors of peach, citrus, banana and honeydew. It is beautifully balanced and very smooth, with solid acidity.
2006 SHOOFLY “BUZZ CUT”, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
LIST PRICE 13.50; OUR PRICE 9.99
Crafted by leading Australian winemaker, Ben Riggs, this wine exhibits aromas of tropical fruit, apricot, and grapefruit. Juicy, tropical Verdelho and exotically perfumed Viognier combine with dashes of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling to provide a refreshing, succulent wine.
2004 EASTON “H” HOUSE RED WINE, CALIFORNIA
LIST PRICE 14.00; OUR PRICE 9.99
This is an easy drinking everyday table wine composed of predominately Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Like the new wave wines of the Languedoc of Southern France, it is made from these two great grape varieties to sip on informal occasions; a wine to enjoy when you want a delicious glass of wine, but you don’t want to think too much about it. Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated it a best buy: “A very nice red wine. Dry and robust, it shows rich flavors of berries, fruits, cocoa, herbs, and earth, with smooth tannins leading to a spicy finish.”
2006 THREE RIVERS WINERY “RIVER’S RED”, COLUMBIA VALLEY, WASH.
LIST PRICE 15.00; OUR PRICE 12.99
True to its name, Three Rivers Winery uses grapes grown in appellations influenced by three prominent rivers: the Columbia, the Snake and the Walla Walla. Winemaker Holly Turner’s style is all about balance. “I don’t want too much wood or alcohol; I want everything to flow on the palate. My wine should be juicy in the mouth but not too toasty.” The blend here is Syrah (48%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Cabernet Franc (18%), Malbec (9%) and Petit Verdot (2%).
2005 MICHAEL-DAVID INCOGNITO RED WINE, LODI
LIST PRICE 14.95; OUR PRICE 9.99
Here is a tango of Mourvedre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cinsault, Carignane, Tannat, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Grenache. I haven’t the foggiest idea as to the percentages. However, a mystery of elegant, smoky clove unveils layers of marmalade and toast that gently coat the mouth. This Rhone-style blend bursts with fresh blueberry and dried cranberry notes, finishing with a smooth myriad of tannins and spice.2006 Craggy Range “Te Kahu” Hawkes Bay, New ZealandList price 22.00; our price 17.95The blend here is Merlot (58%), Cabernet Sauvignon (22%), Cabernet Franc (15%) and Malbec (5%). Aromas of ripe plum and fruit cake characters are neatly meshed with sandalwood and spicy cinnamon overtones. The overall aromatic impression is one of brooding complexity. Fine layers of mouth filling tannin provide the texture and structure to support ample fruit flesh. Natural acidity completes this seamless integration, resulting in wine with uncommon length and power.