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Tashie balls 1.jpgNews Flash – before you get started tBoW wishes to acknowledge the first two newsworthy events for the new year in thebestofwines world. The January issues of Gourmet and Los Angeles magazines each feature a tBoW fave. Gourmet covers all things consumable that are Italian. They make a point of including a photo and kind words about the efforts of Napa’s most under-rated winemaker Jim Moore and his l’Uvaggio di Giacomo label to produce memorable California wines from Italian varietals. The Jan 09 issue of Los Angeles magazine picks tBoW hero Palate Food + Wine as the #1 restaurant in LA. LA mag gave Palate a curiously arms-length review in August 08 as though withholding final judgment. Glad to read the reviewer made up his mind. [ed. we knew it soon as we walked through the doors in June] Unlike Los Angeles mag, Gourmet does not post open links to its content so you will have to pick up a copy.
Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year the adaptable wine taster has an opportunity that comes once a year. That is to taste a wide range of wines you might normally never encounter. Already tBoW has had his glass filled with Moet White Star, a Zinfandel and a late harvest Chardonnay. How bizarre how bizarre.
DavidCafarozin.jpg2004 David Coffaro Price Family Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel $20: This is the perfect example of a wine I would never taste if it was not for the holidays. tBoW never drinks Zinfandel by choice [ed. he ain’t crazy about Viognier either]. This is a ripe Dry Creek Valley wine that is typical of what is generally regarded as the finest region in the state for growing and producing Zin. Ripe Zin often has prune or raisin flavors like we find here. There is nothing wrong with the wine. I am just not a fan of the varietal (with a couple exceptions like Franus and ). Nalle both made in a Claret style) This wine is high in alcohol which is not unusual for the varietal and the region. 15%
BouchaineBouDOrCh07.jpg2005 Bouchaine Bouche d’Or Carneros Chardonnay $30 at the winery: One does not often see a late harvest wine made from Chardonnay grapes. This is a Mrs. tBoW selection purchased at the winery. She picked a gooder. The wine is lively with firm acidity. The flavors show apricot, honey…and Fuji Apple. Very long finish. Young tBoW sommelier-in-training Senor X X throws down.jpggrappled with the flavor, not satisfied with the apricot call. He returned 10 minutes later (the finish is that long) to proclaim that Fuji Apple is exactly what we were tasting in the slight bitterness like one gets from the apple pulp. tBow kvelled noticeably. By the way, Bouchaine is the oldest winery in Carneros but changes are afoot. The former winemaker at Acacia Michael Richmond joined the team in 2007 and they are being distributed by a division under Southern Wines so they should get more exposure. If you are a Kendall Jackson fan you might want to check out Bouchaine as a superior product in essentially the same category. The wines seem to have improved. 11%
hetizeportNV.jpgHeitz Cellar Ink Grade Port NV $30 (split): Yet another unusual bottle not found among tBoW selections. This blend of 8 traditional Porto varietals from as many as 6 recent vintages is personal project of Joe Heitz; he of Martha’s Vineyard fame [ed. the original big-ticket award-winning highly-collectible Napa Cab]. Deep black ruby color. Rich honey flavors which seems unusual for a red port. Beautifully balanced. Not at all cloying or candy-ish. An excellent wine at a very good price point that is worth pursuing. 18.5%
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2007 Vinos Sin-ley “Valleclaro” Prieto Picudo Rosado Valle de Benavente
$11: A hot summer ticket in 2008. This delightful light cherry red wine from Spain got a big Parker rating and was noticed by Tanzer. The fruit is like pear rind [ed. you have to imagine this]. A dry bite on the finish because the wine itself is a bit hot for Rosé at 13.5%.
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2005 Kaiken Ultra Malbec
$16.50: Covered this winery from South America in an April 08 tBoW blog post following Argentina trip in Spring 2007. The “trick” is they blend Argentine and Chilean juice. OK. The wine is very good. I do wonder if they drive the juice over the Andes pass. Mendoza is just over the border. The “ordinary” blend is very good. This is extra thick and extra rich without being over-stuffed. Thick fruity flavors. Almost like a liqueur. Very dark color. This is among the best in a class of richly sweet and thick wines from South America that maintain balance. The price is excellent given the high quality. Costco pick. 14%

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