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THIS ISSUE'S REVIEWS

May 4, 2021 Issue

Printable Version

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AUSTRALIA

Clare Valley:

Red:

Wakefield / Taylors, Clare Valley (Australia) Shiraz "St. Andrews" 2018 ($50, Taub Family Selections):  Wakefield / Taylors is a top-class Clare Valley winery.  The Wakefield estate is in a lovely setting at the south end of the valley, situated on terra rossa soils that yield grapes of exemplary quality.  Their 2018 St. Andrews Shiraz is an elegant and complex red wine.  While certainly full flavored, it displays a balance and liveliness associated with the best Aussie Shiraz bottlings.  It offers ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit aromas enhanced by layers of blueberry, lavender, tea leaf, mint and spice.  The flavors are plush, layered and rounded, but still lively and bright, with blackberry and cherry fruit followed by subtleties of mint, vanilla, tea and baking spice.  It is luscious and forward with velvety fruit, but its overall lift and refreshing character makes it a truly superior Shiraz.         
94 Wayne Belding May 4, 2021


CHILE

White:

Leyda, Valle de Leyda (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($14, Winebow):  Sauvignon Blanc from cool areas of Chile just get better and better, like this one from the Leyda winery in the Leyda Valley.  The wine has a pale golden color and lovely herbal, lemony aromas with pure, focused flavors of peach, grapefruit and lemon.  It is light, crisp, delicious and a lot of wine for the price.  Serve it with shrimp ceviche or a fresh goat cheese.  Viña Leyda was created in the Leyda Valley before it became a recognized wine appellation.  In fact, the Leyda Valley didn’t even have a fresh water supply.  It took the help of the state and investors to create an almost five mile long aqueduct to bring fresh water from the Maipo River.  Leyda is in the larger Acongagua Valley with two vineyards, El Granita about 2.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean and El Maiten about 7.5 miles further from the ocean.  This cool-climate area allows Chief Winemaker Viviana Navarrete and her crew to craft deliciously fresh wines like this Sauvignon Blanc.       
91 Rebecca Murphy May 4, 2021


FRANCE

Alsace:

White:

Achillée, Alsace (France) Riesling 2018 ($23, Terres Blances Wine Merchants ):  Achillée is the name for yarrow, a plant used in biodynamic farming.  The owners of Achillée, the Dietrich family, have run an organically and biodynamically farmed vineyard since 1999 (notably, the family has farmed land in Alsace since 1600).  Their Riesling is an intense yellow in appearance, dry yet luscious and bursting with scents of apricot fruit and accents of white flowers, lemon and lime rinds.  The palate offers pear, Meyer lemon, exotic spices, and wet stones.  It is structured and expansive with taut acidity and a long finish.       
90 Miranda Franco May 4, 2021

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Languedoc:

Red:

Château Maris, Minervois La Livinière (Languedoc, France) "La Touge" 2017 ($20, Vintners Alliance):  La Livinière is a sub-AOC within Minervois as well as being an ancient, charming village.  With Chateau Maris, British born Robert Eden focuses on a range of  wines within the Languedoc region and “La Togue” is a small parcel farmed organically.  This 2017, 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, was fermented in concrete and minimally handled.  The result is a deeply colored wine that pleases with its blackberry, slightly meaty and peppery aromas.  Ultra smooth and harmonious, it also captures a hint of lavender or what the Languedoc people refer to as “garrigue.”  I’ve visited Minervois 3 times and was at Chateau Maris not long after it opened.  It is Demeter Certified and Eden was an early advocate of biodynamic farming.  This wine was fermented by native yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered.  The label is recycled paper.           
90 Norm Roby May 4, 2021

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Loire Valley:

Rosé:

Domaine de la Pauline, Sancerre Rosé (Loire Valley, France) 2020 ($30, Regal Wine Imports):  For many consumers, Sancerre is synonymous with distinctive Sauvignon Blanc white wines.  The red and rosê wines from Pinot Noir grapes grown here are largely overlooked.  The Domaine de la Pauline is owned by Eric Louis, a talented winemaker with a special gift for Rosé wines.  His 2020 Sancerre Rosé shows a combination of depth and elegance not often found among rosés.  The aromas are forward and enticing, with pure red cherry and strawberry fruits underlain by hints of citrus peel and spice.  Juicy, forward and ripe on the palate, its luscious cherry and strawberry flavors are supported by the lemon zest and subtle spice tones.  It’s a perfect choice for warm weather drinking.     
91 Wayne Belding May 4, 2021

White:

Paul Doucet, Sancerre (Loire Valley, France) "Roche des Lumières" 2019 ($20, Jose Moura Selections):  Aromatic and crisp, this lovely Sancerre is a perfect aperitif as well as a very tasty partner for seafood (I recently enjoyed it with a simple roast Branzino, which was an altogether tasty match).  Like all Sancerre, Roche des Lumières is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, but the Loire region’s expression of the grape is typically very different from, say, that of New Zealand or California.  2019 was mostly an excellent vintage in Sancerre, resulting in wines that are fragrant, full of charm, stony and lemony, and crisp but not tart.    
93 Marguerite Thomas May 4, 2021


GREECE

White:

Gai’a, Santorini PDO (Cyclades, Greece) Assyrtiko “Thalassitis" 2019 ($35, Winebow):  Assyrtiko is a native Greek grape variety that offers its best renditions from the Aegean island of Santorini.  The Thalassitis Santorini Assyrtiko from Gai’a is a delicious example of this classic Greek grape.  This is a pure and complex white that can be enjoyed now or stashed away in the cellar for a few years.  The island of Santorini is the remnant of a volcano that erupted with cataclysmic force some 3500 years ago, leaving an assemblage of recently-formed volcanic rocks in its wake.  It is difficult to grow grapes here, but the volcanic soils and spare growing conditions yield wines of considerable power and depth.  The 2019 Gai’a Thalassitis Assyrtiko shows aromas of peach, apple, lemon peel, tropical fruit and spice.  The flavors are pure and exciting, with peach, apple, lemon and pineapple fruit flavors underlain by subtle honey and spice tones.  Its rich texture and complexity make the Gai’a Thalassitis Santorini Assyrtiko a most satisfying white wine.     
94 Wayne Belding May 4, 2021


ITALY

Campania:

Red:

Villa Matilde, Campania IGP (Italy) Aglianico “Rocca dei Leoni” 2017 ($17, Kobrand Wine & Spirits):  Aglianico, the grape known for heavyweight wines, such as Taurasi, bottled under screwcap?  Who would have guessed Aglianico-lite would work — but, in Villa Matilde’s hands, it does.  This light to mid-weight red (not a description used very often for Aglianico) delivers engaging hints of tar alongside fine tannins.  The focus here is definitely on the minerals, not the fruit.  Though a lighter style of wine, it is not fleeting.  Indeed, it has a real presence.  Uplifting freshness accompanies its lovely austerity.  A hearty dish is in order.          
91 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

Villa Matilde, Falerno del Massico DOC (Campania, Italy) 2016 ($32, Kobrand Wine & Spirits):  Falerno del Massico, a small (not even 250 acres) DOC in Campania, retains appeal, in part, because Falerno was considered the great wine of ancient Rome.  With its lava-like underpinnings, Villa Matilde’s, made from a traditional Campania blend of Aglianico (80%) and Piedirosso, reflects its origins at the foot of the volcano, Roccamonfina.  This a broad shouldered red, delivering what you’d expect from Aglianico — tar and minerals and power.  And tannins, too.  But there’s underlying voluptuous cherry-like fruit to it, creating a lovely ying/yang of fruit and savory minerality.  Balanced and fresh because of the ever-present enlivening acidity, it finishes with a haunting touch of bitterness.  If you’re drinking it now, open hours in advance and chose a leg of lamb studded with garlic.  Otherwise, find a place in the cellar for it for at least five years.        
93 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

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Sicily:

Red:

Calabretta, Sicilia IGT (Sicily, Italy) Nerello Mascalese 2010 ($33, Polaner Selections):  Hailing from Mt. Etna, this wine demonstrates lively and energetic flavors reflective of the volcanic soil in which these old vines have grown for decades.  Made of Nerello Mascalese and a splash of Nerello Capuccio, you will find many rich layers to this wine with flavors of black cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, earth, and peppery spice.  Impressively long and velvety on the finish, accented by firm tannins and fresh acidity.  For those new to Nerello Mascalese (“nair-rello mask-ah-lay-zay”), it is a light-bodied Italian red wine that offers fantastic value and a taste profile that is often likened to Pinot Noir.        
94 Miranda Franco May 4, 2021

Rosé:

Planeta, Sicilia DOC (Sicily, Italy) Rosé 2020 ($20, Taub Family Selections):  The beautiful pale salmon pink color shimmering through the clear glass bottle suggests flavorful delights to come.  Aromas and flavors of fresh, juicy peaches plucked from the tree, plus notes recalling blood orange and pose petals are concentrated and round in the mouth.  Mouth-watering acidity clears the way for more luscious flavors.  It is quite pleasing on its own, but is certainly up to sharing the table with a Sicilian-style blood orange and fennel salad.  Made by the Planeta family, the wine is half Nero d’Avola and half Syrah.  I wondered why Planeta was growing the French-native Syrah with the Sicilian-native Nero d’Avola.  Turns out Diego Planeta, who started his family winery in the 1980s, was one of leaders who lead the way for modern Sicilian wines.  He was first a grape grower, headed a large cooperative winery and served as the president of the state-owned IRVV, translation Regional Institute of Vine and Wine.  Apparently, he believed that having an understanding of how successful and internationally recognized varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown could help Sicilian growers produce better quality indigenous grape varieties.  Today the Planeta family owns six wine estates in different parts of Sicily operated by Diego’s daughter Franchesca and nephews Allesio and Santi.     
92 Rebecca Murphy May 4, 2021


NEW ZEALAND

Rosé:

White Cliff, Hawke's Bay (New Zealand) Rosé "Winemaker’s Selection" 2020 ($14):  This dry Rosé is delicately pinkish-orange in color, silky-smooth in texture, satisfyingly hefty in weight and flavor, and relatively low in alcohol (12.5%).  Offering cherry and strawberry flavors in the foreground with hints of dried herbal spiciness peeking through, it finishes a trace of citrus and uplifting acidity.  With its long summer weather and relatively low fruit yields, the Hawke’s Bay 2020 season was generally much appreciated by vintners.  Rosé lovers will appreciate the results as expressed in White Cliff Rosé.        
90 Marguerite Thomas May 4, 2021


PORTUGAL

White:

Anselmo Mendes, Vinho Verde (Portugal) Loureiro "Pássaros" 2019 ($12, Grape2Glass): Few Vinhos Verdes sold in the US market are much more than simple, refreshing and easy-drinking wines.  The Pássaros Loureiro from Anselmo Mendes is much more than that.  Drawn from vines grown on the decomposed granite soils in the Monção and Melgaço subregions, this Vinho Verde has a lovely combination of floral and fruit characteristics.  The aromas are forward and attractive with lemon, lime, pear and apple fruits underscored by hints of lily and herbs.  The flavors are zesty and lively, as good Vinho Verde should be, but with more depth and interest than most.  The pure green apple and lime fruit is underlain by a surprisingly rich texture plus floral, herb and spice tones.  This is a deliciously fragrant and complex wine that shows the promise of the Loureiro grape.  Drink it over the next year to enjoy it at its best.           
90 Wayne Belding May 4, 2021


SOUTH AFRICA

White:

Safriel House, Paarl (Western Cape, South Africa) Chenin Blanc Reserve, Barrel Fermented 2018 ($25, MHW Ltd):  Safriel House wines are relatively new to the US market, but well worth seeking out.  This superb Chenin Blanc comes from two old, dry-farmed, bush-vine parcels in the Agter-Paarl appellation.  These gnarled vines produce small quantities of exceptional Chenin.  The 2018 Barrel Fermented Reserve Chenin Blanc is an amazing value for the quality of wine in the bottle.  The wine is a concentrated, pure and exciting white that beautifully expresses the breadth and depth of fine South African Chenin.  The nose is forward and complex with scents of pear, peach, honeysuckle, pineapple, vanilla and lemon zest.  On the palate, layers of luscious pear, peach, lemon and tropical fruits are underscored by hints of vanilla and spice.  The rich and creamy texture of the wine reflects both the high quality of the fruit and the skill of the winemaker.  If you love great Chenin, you should try this wine.  You can enjoy it over the next 3 to 5 years.              
94 Wayne Belding May 4, 2021


SPAIN

Castilla y León:

Red:

Telmo Rodriguez, Ribera del Duero DO (Castilla y León, Spain) "Matallana" 2015 ($60, SM Wine Imports):  This Tempranillo blend (85 percent Tempranillo with up to 15% other varieties such as Valenciano [Bobal], Navarro [Garnacha], and even white Albillo) is a blend of nine vineyards in five villages.  The Matallana is inspired by the old Vega Sicilia wines using a blend of soils.  Only 16,884 bottles of this beauty were produced.  The nose is a splendid blend of licorice, baking spices, cassis, and black plum.  The palate shows focus and density, with warm flavors of black cherry, plum, spice, herbs with cocoa, tobacco, and earth accents.  The tannins are fine, and it finishes long and dry with precision and elegance.             
95 Miranda Franco May 4, 2021


UNITED STATES

California:

Red:

de Négoce, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley (California) Cabernet Sauvignon “OG N. 30” 2018 ($25):   Cameron Hughes has an eye — or should I say a nose and a palate — for quality.  Add to that talent a savvy business sense and a willingness to get wines like this out to a wider audience, and you’ve got a worthy partner in your search for quality and value.  As with the rest of the line, this is high end juice, showing damp earth tones and pencil shavings enhancing the blackberry and cassis.  There’s a fair amount of oak toast here, but it serves to give the fruit a boost while adding depth and dry style.  It’s a winner!       
94 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

de Négoce, Napa Valley (California) Cabernet Sauvignon “OG N. 17” 2018 ($25):  Here is yet another steal of a wine from this label, one that shows layered minerality and classic regional fruit characteristics.  Chalky tannins keep all the flavors together on the palate, and the finish lingers with full integration.  You could easily pay four times this price for a bottle of this caliber.  Give it a long decanting in the near term, or lay it down for up to ten years.  At this price, you can buy several and do both!      
92 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

Brick Barn Wine Estate, Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara County, California) Cabernet Franc Reserve, Estate Grown 2017 ($85):   From the cool, wind-blown vineyards of Santa Rita Hills on the western side to the warmer climes of Santa Ynez Valley on the eastern side, it’s hard to imagine a more diverse growing region than Santa Barbara County.  It’s perhaps even harder to believe that so many varieties perform so well across that geographic span.  This bottle is a fine example of the eastern side, where warm summers are still tempered by the Pacific Ocean’s influence.  The estate is located on the western edge of the appellation just 10 miles from the ocean, and the diurnal temperature swings prevalent in the area are evident here.  The ringing cherry fruit, soft pepper, gentle oak spice, focused acidity and supple tannic structure are a true delight now.  That said, it’s certainly worthy of five or six years in the cellar.      
94 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

Brick Barn Wine Estate, Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara County, California) Grenache Estate Grown 2017 ($44):   This is a pretty expression of Grenache – one that I wish more domestic producers would lean toward.  Winemaker Adrian Bolshoi gets plenty of color without over-extracting, which in turn keeps the fruit profile in the cherry and strawberry zone without any bitterness.  A dash of white pepper and gentle oak spice round things out, and Pinot Noir-like acidity give the finish a zesty push.  Wines like this can put a variety solidly into the minds of consumers as a desirable commodity.  Nicely done!      
92 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

de Négoce, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley (California) Cabernet Sauvignon “OG N. 25” 2018 ($29):   You won’t find another Spring Mountain Cabernet that delivers this kind of value.  It’s a full throttle mountain wine with a supple structure that carries mixed berry fruit, warm oak spice and granite minerality through a long finish where rustic tannins are showing signs of starting to soften.  This has a long life ahead – buy it by the case!   Contains 13% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec.     
95 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

Sea Smoke, Sta. Rita Hills (Santa Barbara County, California) Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard, Biodynamic, Monopole “Southing” 2018 ($80):  This is always a top-flight offering, and as I look back at my reviews going back to the 2012 vintage, I see a very consistent wine with a range of red fruit aromatics and flavors, with signature terroir notes of damp earth minerality.  That particular earth note is in the background this vintage, where it offsets the strawberry and cherry fruit beautifully.  Easy oak spice rounds things out, and the tension between the silky texture and the lively acidity keeps pushing flavor through a long, seductive finish.  It’s another standout that’s delicious now and will age gracefully for the next ten years.     
95 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

White:

J. Lohr, Arroyo Seco (Monterey County, California) Chardonnay “October Night” 2019 ($25):  This is one of two 2019 Arroyo Seco Chardonnays from J. Lohr.  The wines undergo the same vinification (direct-pressed grapes, barrel-fermentation with the same yeasts) and only slightly different barrel aging regimens.  The main difference is clonal, and the difference in the two wines is remarkable.  This wine, October Night, is a full-bodied, structured Chardonnay with aromas and flavors that suggest ripe citrus and some tropical fruit with broad, earthy notes.  It’s a powerful Chardonnay in terms of its structure, so much so that the flavors seem understated in comparison.  While this wine was oak fermented and aged, the wine is not oaky.  If you like powerful, characterful but truly dry Chardonnay, this could be your wine.  Impressive quality for $25.   
92 Mary Ewing-Mulligan May 4, 2021

J. Lohr, Arroyo Seco (Monterey County, California) Chardonnay “Arroyo Vista” 2019 ($25):  Compare this Chardonnay with the 2019 J. Lohr “October Night” bottling.   This wine has an uplifted aroma of lemon and orange, very fresh and focused.  In your mouth, it’s full-bodied and dry but lean rather than broad, with crisp acidity, depth, and good concentration of flavor, along with creamy texture.  Its fresh flavors have no difficulty making themselves heard over the structure.  Like the other wine, this wine does not taste oaky despite being the product of oak treatment.  The depth and freshness of this wine shines in a narrow, lean wine glass.   
91 Mary Ewing-Mulligan May 4, 2021

Mer Soleil, Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey County, California) Chardonnay Reserve, Barrel Fermented 2017 ($30):  With its deep golden color, powerful aromatics, generous fruit flavors and satisfying finish, this is indeed a big wine in every sense of the word.  Happily, there is more here than just brawn.  The combination of good winemaking and cool winds blowing off the Pacific keeps this Chardonnay from being too aggressive.  A touch of oak adds a little spice to the ensemble, and just enough acidity on the finish balances everything nicely.  With its creamy, buttery qualities, this Chardonnay partners well with butter-infused shellfish as well as with fried chicken, buttered corn on the cob, and Pasta Alfredo.        
90 Marguerite Thomas May 4, 2021

Steele Wines, Sonoma Valley (Sonoma County, California) Chardonnay Parmelee Hill Vineyard 2018 ($38):  Though the oak in this large-framed Chardonnay is immediately noticeable — a hint of bacon fat — it is not intrusive or overwhelming.  Indeed, it’s a balanced wine redolent with melon-like fruitiness and bright acidity that keeps it fresh and you coming back for more.  A hefty Chardonnay weighing in at a stated 14.5 percent alcohol, paradoxically, it actually seems restrained.  There’s none of the overdone buttery notes so often seen in California Chardonnays of the past.          
91 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

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Oregon:

Red:

Quady North, Applegate Valley (Oregon) Syrah Mae's Vineyard "Flagship" 2016 ($65):  Quady North is owned by Herb Quady, whose family owns Quady Vineyards in California.  At his own winery in historic Jacksonville, Herb specializes in small lot, single vineyard wines.  Named after the eldest daughter, Mae’s Vineyard is the family’s estate in the cool Applegate Valley.  “Flagship” designates the favorite single lot bottling of the year and, make no mistake, this 2016 is a majestic Syrah along the lines of a Côte-Rôtie.  Dark, intense, and loaded with ripe blackberry fruit enveloped in layers of oak spice, it gradually unfolds to display concentrated plum fruit, earthy, anise and slightly gamey flavors.  This is one for aging 3 to 5 years.                
95 Norm Roby May 4, 2021

Naumes Family Vineyards, Rogue Valley (Oregon) "SMP" 2018 ($40):  While Naumes’ GSM, a traditional Mediterranean blend, their SMP (Syrah, Mourvèdre and Petite Sirah) is more unusual.  Replacing Grenache with Petite Sirah changes the character entirely, creating a muscular, black-fruited wine.  Naumes, as always, avoids getting carried away.  They’ve created a bold, yet not overdone, red that delivers a wonderful combination of plum and pepper notes wrapped in fine tannins.  It’s a fine contrast to their red-fruited GSM.   
93 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

2-Hawk Vineyard, Rogue Valley (Oregon) Grenache 2017 ($32):  From its typical medium red color, this is a solid, beautiful example of Grenache.  It opens with a combination of dried cherry and blackberry aromas.  Medium-bodied, it hits you with a burst of ripe fruit, anise and spice and then continues on a long, pleasingly earthy, mineral aftertaste with gentle tannins.  From a relatively cool vintage, this Grenache is from a three year-old vineyard planted to the Jackson clone.  The as-yet-unreleased 2018 Grenache was co-fermented with Syrah and is both deeper in color and richer on the palate, yet it too shares bright cherry fruit and a pleasing, smooth texture.         
92 Norm Roby May 4, 2021

Quady North, Rogue Valley (Oregon) Syrah “4-2,A" 2018 ($25):  Sourced from several vineyards within the Rogue Valley, this Syrah represents the winery’s “House” style, and Herb Quady, who consults to many wineries, sees it as “a standard for Southern Oregon Syrah.”  It offers plenty of black cherry and pepper character in a package that is smooth and delicious with soft gentle tannins.  It has the sought-after savory Syrah character with just a hint of coffee.  Good acid balance keeps it fresh and lively.  Aged in large, neutral wood, it was bottled unfined and unfiltered.  Lots of Syrah for the price.  400 cases produced.            
91 Norm Roby May 4, 2021

Naumes Family Vineyards, Rogue Valley (Oregon) "GSM" 2018 ($40):  Naumes included Petite Sirah in their 2018 GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend), which somehow, thankfully, does not make the wine denser than usual.  It’s a charming light red bursting with spiced wild strawberry-like flavors.  For all the muscle you might think those varieties are capable of providing, this spritely GSM dances on the palate.   You could even chill it slightly.        
90 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

Leah Jørgenson, Southern Oregon (Oregon) Cabernet Franc 2019 ($25):  According to Madeline Triffon, the first woman to become a Master Sommelier in the U.S. (whose palate and approach to wine I greatly admire), this wine is the epitome of Cabernet Franc.  We were tasting it blind, and I had identified Merlot in my notes.  She then pointed out the savory, tobacco aromas as well as lavender, herbs, flowers (both fresh and dried), and cassis.  (It was cassis what took me to Merlot.)  It is indeed a classic and delicious wine that I found round and smooth in the mouth with fine integration of fruit, acidity, alcohol and ripe, fine tannins.  It is made by Leah Jørgenson who found her way to winemaking in Southern Oregon, by way of wine marketing with Virginia winery Chrysalis, and Louis Dressner Selections, a fine wine import company with an emphasis on Loire Valley wines.  There she also developed a fondness for Cabernet Franc, which shows clearly in this wine.       
92 Rebecca Murphy May 4, 2021

Rosé:

Quady North, Rogue Valley (Oregon) Rosé GSM 2020 ($17):  The GSM Rose is the winery’s top seller.  For 2020, the blend is approximately 63% Grenache, 26% Syrah, and 11% Mourvedre.  One of the benefits of the orange wine trend is that most wine drinkers today won't freak out when a Rosé wine is not actually pink or reddish.  Quady has been a Rosé advocate since his early years at Bonny Doon.  His 2020 GSM Rose is copper and onion skin in color and is both refreshing and versatile.  It combines aromas of fresh cut melon and orange slices with a strawberry  note, and the same themes carry over into the sprightly, delicious flavors.  Relatively low in alcohol, the wine’s fruit continues into a long finish.  500 cases produced.        
93 Norm Roby May 4, 2021

White:

Naumes Family Vineyards, Rogue Valley (Oregon) Pinot Gris 2019 ($25):  Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio?   Same grape but different styles of wine.  Naumes has, in a near magical way, combined the best of both styles with this alluring wine.  It delivers the luxurious pear-like flavor associated with Pinot Gris with the delicate weight often found with Pinot Grigio.  Floral and weightless, it is nonetheless persistent and captivating.  Great acidity keeps it fresh and lively and you happy.    
94 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021

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Washington:

Red:

Owen Roe, Yakima Valley (Washington) Red Wine 2017 ($28):  This Bordeaux-inspired blend leans into the peppery side of the spectrum, and that pepper vibe contrasts the blackberry and plum fruit profile nicely.  Add soft brown spice, and a moderate tannic grip, and you’ve got a fine foil for beef dishes.  It’s not often I see a wine in this price range that is worthy of some additional bottle aging – I would go up to seven years or so for peak enjoyment.     
92 Rich Cook May 4, 2021

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