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Thanksgiving Day is three weeks away, believe it or not, and we should start now sampling wines that will partner well with a turkey dinner. This Saturday we will be pouring California wines that have arrived this past week. They are very forward and drinking well now. All are under $10.00 and would function well as party service. Of course, there are more complex, even voluptuous, wines available here to go with a turkey dinner, but price becomes a consideration. Next week we will look at imports in the same price range and the following week we will sample the wines of Robert Oatley Winery of Australia.
2008 VALLEY OF THE MOON CHARDONNAY, SONOMA COAST
List price 11.95; our price 9.99
The fruit for this wine comes from select vineyards within the Sonoma Coast region, including the Russian River Valley, Carneros and the southern Sonoma Valley. These cool-climate appellations are characterized by foggy mornings and cool breezes that keep the fruit at an optimum temperature: perfect conditions for growing premium Chardonnay grapes. The fruit for this wine was whole-cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. The wine was allowed to age “sur lies” for seven months with a portion of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation. Aromas of pear, citrus and vanilla are followed by flavors of green apple, lime and clove spice. The rich and creamy texture is accented by hints of honey and toasty oak, and balanced with a bright finish of zesty citrus and nectarine.
2008 ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS NEW GEWURZ, MENDOCINO CO.
List price 9.99; our price 5.99
The wonderful crispness and bright fruit make this Gewurtztraminer a versatile wine. Not only is it a great sipper, but it is perfect as an aperitif. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, from spicy Asian fare to Dungeness crab to Thanksgiving turkey. It won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Orange County Fair Wine Competition. The price makes it exceptional.
2005 MAZZOCCO WINERY MERLOT, SONOMA COUNTY
List price 18.00; our price 9.99
This is a small family-owned artisan winery situated in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, nestled between the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. This Merlot blend of 76% Merlot & 24% Cabernet Sauvignon does not disappoint. Sweet cassis, violets and cherry jam lead to licorice and mocha flavors over a rich, extracted palate. The big tannins are integrated with a fruit forward core, containing roasted oak with hints of cacao, and camphor in the finish.
2006 RED ROCK WINERY MERLOT, CALIFORNIA
List price 9.99; our price 7.99
The aroma of this merlot is fruity raspberry and cherry. The taste is dark cherry, plum and raspberry. The tannins are actually toned down by the fruit, so the wine is actually well-balanced. It is wonderful for casual drinking or to accompany a variety of food items such as pasta, pizza, and grilled chicken. A nice beef stew would probably go really well, too. This wine is not about complexity, it’s about quality: quality fruit & quality winemaking.
2005 MAZZOCCO WINERY ZINFANDEL, SONOMA COUNTY
List price 18.00; our price 9.99
Mazzocco is especially known for its vineyard-designate Zinfandels—each robust and sumptuous yet individual in nature. Today we are trying the Sonoma blend which is fruit-forward with a splash of spice. Black cherry jam, raspberry and plums permeate the nose while the palate reveals allspice and cayenne pepper with dabs of blackberry. This 100% Zinfandel’s core is framed with supple tannins, and is accented with nougat and vanilla.
2007 APOTHIC RED, WINEMAKER’S BLEND, CALIFORNIA
List price 14.00; our price 9.99
This is a blend of three grapes, combining the dark fruit flavors of Syrah, brambly spice of Zinfandel, and smooth elegance of Merlot. The wine reveals intense fruit aromas and flavors of blackberry and dark cherry layered with hints of mocha, chocolate and brown spice. The plush, velvety mouthfeel and smooth finish round out this intriguing, full-bodied red blend. At this price it delivers considerable value.