Wine review: Delas 2009 Côtes du Rhône Saint Esprit

It seems even the traditionalist French are caving to the new consumer tastes — producing fruity wines like their “New World” competitors that they used to deride. Perhaps the musty, dusty, fruity-free style has simply been overtaken by the up-and-coming wine buyer tastes. The Delas 2009 Cotes du Rhone Saint Esprit leads me to believe it…

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Wine review: Quivira 2009 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley

I was a bit hesitant to write about Quivira’s Zin that I recently tasted blind, since I reviewed the 2008 vintage in April of this year. But I thought, what the hell, they deserve to get kudos twice in one year. These guys rock the Zinfandel. And, farming biodynamically, they’re stewards of the earth.

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Wine review: Elena Walch 2010 Lagrein Alto Adige (Italy)

For a few years now, the Alto Adige wine region in northeastern Italy has been a darling of mine. With a cooler climate than the rest of the heated Italian countrysides, the Pinot Grigios taste crisper, the eclectic reds are more refined and they grow a whole slew of interesting grapes from this rich, historic soil. Like Lagrein.

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Wine review: Cameron Hughes 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Stag's Leap Lot 189

At last… a Cabernet that Napa Cab obsessives can drink everyday without opening up a new equity line on the house (if you can still get those nowadays?). Winemaker Cameron Hughes approaches wines a bit differently. He’s part of the growing trend of “traveling winemakers” who don’t own vineyards but take advantage of the bulk market to craft wines for less money.

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Wine review: J Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris California

The J Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris has a fabulously creamy mouthfeel but offers up a snappy, crisp finish. Medium-bodied and dangerously easy to slurp on a hot day. Aromas of honeyed peach, red apple and honeydew melon follow onto the tongue with a splash of lemon and ripe apricots. Almost Viognier-like in body and flowery aroma but with a lot more food-friendly acidity. Gorgeously well made and now, thankfully easy to find.

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Wine review: Il Poggione 2008 Rosso di Montalcino

When I look at wine lists in Italian restaurants, it’s tragic that the Chiantis are are so damn expensive. Even for the lowest “Chianti” classification (what’s this?). I simply refuse to pay $40 restaurant pricing for something worth $15. So the other night, feeling the urge to spend more wisely, I ordered something a little different to pair with my savory red sauce, a Rosso di Montalcino.

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Wine review: Santa Christina 2009 Chianti Superiore

Tuscany is home to Chianti, likely the most famous wine region on the planet. The straw baskets have been discarded for sleek bottles and modern winemaking went mainstream here about 20-25 years ago. Santa Cristina, made by Italy’s Antinori wine family, is most definitely part of this modern revolution yet still maintains a traditional Chianti style.

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Wine review: J Lohr 2008 Petite Sirah Tower Road Paso Robles

Proving that Petite Sirah is on the way up in the wine circles, J Lohr is confident enough in this grape’s popularity to produce a single-vineyard offering — from the warm growing region of Paso Robles.

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Wine review: Quivira 2008 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley grows some of the best Zinfandel in California and Quivira lies in the middle of it all. When I visited their biodynamically-farmed vineyards in Sonoma County a few years ago, I was pretty awed with everything they produced.

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Wine review: Montecillo 2001 Rioja Gran Reserva

In Europe, gender equality in the wine world still hovers in the Middle Ages, but strong-willed females have made progress. In 1975, Maria Martinez, a warm-hearted yet tough survivor, began her wine career in Spain’s Rioja region. After only four years of working in the cellars, she earned her spot among the esteemed winemaker ranks, and has since been crowned “the Queen of Rioja” as the head winemaker at highly respected, 135-year-old Bodegas Montecillo.

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