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Slurping Around with P.D.W. January 2013

January 15, 2013

Hi all - writing from the deep freeze (San Diego). I kid you not, it has been in the 30's (F not C) for over a week now overnight and in the morning. I know, a heat wave relative to what some of you endure for weeks, but tough for us wimps. Obviously looking for some robust reds this time to get us through this difficult time.

But first, Whites (not many new releases seen this time of year)

2011 Matua Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ $8. Is this better than the myriad other NZSB's you can get? No. In fact, there is a touch of sulfur that does quickly blow off. But the price makes this one worth finding. It is very typical of the region - herbal gooseberry and citrus on the nose and palate, moderately high acid and good length.

2010 Gainey Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills $15. This is a big style chardonnay. The nose is slightly herbaceous, with good apple and tropical fruit aromas and medium vanilla oak. The palate is rich and viscous with very ripe tropical and citrus fruit, and medium oak - but it is not overdone. If you drink whites in winter, this is big enough to do the trick, just don't drink it too cold. Just below normal room temperature - or in our house, right at room temperature.


2010 Trentadue Petite Sirah "LaStoria" $18. We love this wine. Back in the day, this grape produced inky wine that was all wood and tannin and little or not fruit. Undrinkable. Modern PS has evolved, and this is a great example. The tannins are there, but tamed considerably. Dark color remains, but the fruit is excellent - blueberry/black currant nose and palate, some tobacco, some dill (American oak). Very rich and ripe, full bodied, almost sweet due to fruit ripeness, but very tasty, especially on a cold night.

2010 Trentadue Cabernet Sauvignon "LaStoria" Alexander Valley $19. This wine has a nose of dark cherry and earth. The palate is similar with a little mint and a touch of tobacco too. The fruit is very ripe and lush, making it seem on the edge of sweetness. Balance is very good, as is length. It is a fairly big and moderately tannic wine.

2011 Rabbit Ridge red blend "Allure de Robles" $6. Seen (by me at least) only at Trader Joe's, this is ridiculous value. The nose is actually complex - red and dark berry, earth and black pepper, slightly stemmy too. The palate is very forward and bright with lots of dark berry fruit, slight spice, dill, black pepper and oak char. All these are quite secondary to the fruit. Good acid, medium weight and tannin, good length. This should be bought by the case if you can get it.

2009 Tridente Tempranillo "Castilla y Leon", Spain $16. A bit pricy, but if you like Spanish temp. go for it. The nose is soft and a bit closed, but the palate has excellent red cherry fruit, some earth, and very good balance-medium weight, light tannins, good acid, and a very nice mouthfeel.

2010 Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon "Traditions" Columbia Valley $13. With a name this long, and a score of 90 in Wine Spectator, you might expect twice the price. The nose has nice dark fruit, vanilla, and spice with a touch of green stems and oak char. The palate is lifted and bright thanks to good acidity and fruit, but varietal with red and dark cherry, spice and vanilla. It is medium in weight, with very nice balance and length.

2008 John Alan Meritage Reserve, Paso Robles $18. This is a classic Bordeaux blend (=Meritage in US) with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. This is a big but elegant and well-made wine. The nose has lots of dark cherry, spice, anise, and herbal notes. The palate is rich and big and tasty. While quite extracted, the tannins are in check, there is some cumin and anise to go with the forward dark cherry fruit, and the length is excellent.


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