CALIFORNIA WINE PICK: Marietta Cellars | Petite Sirah | Alexander Valley | Sonoma Cnty | California | 2009 | $20 | 90 pts

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Marietta Cellars was founded by owner/winemaker Chris Bilbro in 1979, just down the road from the little town of Geyserville, in Sonoma County. Over the years the winery has grown as an all-in-the-family affair, and today Chris makes Marietta’s wines with his son … Continue reading

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PICKs of the RACK: Two Alluring Reds from Northern Italy

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Claudio Alario | Dolcetto | “Costa Fiore” | Diano d’Alba |  Italy | 2011 | $21 | 89 pts Diano d’Alba is a rural village in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, roughly 30 miles southeast of Turin.  The area’s vineyards sit at … Continue reading

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ITALIAN WINE PICK: Castello della Paneretta | Chianti Classico Riserva | DOCG | 2008 | $27 | 91 pts

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Aromas: dried dark fruit; cranberry; leather; hints of cinnamon Character: dry; medium-bodied; fruit & earth balanced; firm tannins; forward acids; toasty oak; 13.5% ABV Flavors: black cherry; dried herbs; cured tobacco; hints of peppercorn & clove Food Pairing: medium-sharp cheeses; tomato-based pasta dishes; roasted … Continue reading

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Famous Wine Blends | A Visual Guide to “What’s in the Mix” from Our Friends at Wine Folly

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Seattle’s Wine Folly, the unparalleled experts in depicting fundamentals about wine in sophisticated and informative — yet quick and fun — pictures, maps, and other visual aids, has done it again in their “infographic” on the world’s most renowned blended … Continue reading

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PINOT in the CITY: 54 Oregon Wineries to Showcase Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in Washington, D.C. | April 2, 2014

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The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) is hosting a public tasting in Washington, D.C., of Willamette Valley’s signature variety — Pinot Noir — along with an array of other varieties produced in the region.  Winemakers and winery owners from 54 participating wineries will be on … Continue reading

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EVERYDAY WINE PICKS: J. Lohr and Estancia | Cabernet Sauvignon | Paso Robles AVA | San Luis Obispo County | California | 2011 | $12

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Our latest everyday wine picks hail from California’s rugged Central Coast — namely, the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) in San Luis Obispo County.  Wedged roughly halfway between Monterey (to the north) and Santa Barbara (to the south), this appellation is distinguished by rugged … Continue reading

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NAPA VALLEY WINE PICK: pureCru | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $42 | 93 pts

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A number of years ago, long-time Napa Valley winemaker Mitch Cosentino relinquished his remaining interests in the winery he established in the 1980s — Cosentino Winery, on Highway 29 in Yountville — and along with several partners founded a new venture called pureCru Napa Valley.  … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Sea Smoke Cellars | “Ten” | Pinot Noir | Sta. Rita Hills AVA | Santa Barbara County | California | 2011 | $82 | 93 pts

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Aromas: ripe boysenberry; orange peel; hints of lavender Character: dry; medium-bodied; fruit-driven; elegant and energetic; moderate tannins; vivid acids; vanilla-tinged oak Flavors: red- and blackberry compote; savory herbs; clove; hints of rhubarb & mineral Food Pairing:  ripe, creamy & medium sharp cheeses; salmon with Champagne sauce; lamb chops … Continue reading

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SPANISH WINE PICK: Bodegas Muga | Reserva | Rioja | Spain | 2009 | $25 | 90 pts

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Bodegas Muga farms upwards of 1,000 acres of vineyards (620 of which are estate) along the foothills of the rocky Obarenes Mountains in the Rioja Alta region of northern Spain.  From these vines comes their Reserva, a blend of Tempranillo (70%), Grenache (20%), Mazuelo (7%), and Graciano … Continue reading

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ITALIAN WINE PICK: Ruffino | Modus | IGT | Tuscany | Italy | 2010 | $25 | 90 pts

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Following our recent review of Renieri’s Invetro, we discovered yet another superb-value mini-Super Tuscan (Indicazione Geografica Tipica, or IGT, classification) from the region’s 2010 vintage.  This one hails from the venerable Chianti producer Ruffino, and consists of Sangiovese (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), and Merlot … Continue reading

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