December 2008
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Robert Parker Issue 180 - California, Argentina, Champagne & Portugal

Robert Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate Issue 180 - Click for ratings

Check out the recent Wine Advocate Issue #180 highlights by Robert Parker, Mark Squires and Antonio Gallioni for Cream wines. Most of these are in stock and available, or on order. If not, the new vintage will be coming soon.
Argentina - the love affair with Argentina continues '…Currently Malbec remains the king of grapes and Mendoza the most favored terroir. However, my recent tastings reveal the high quality of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as promising experiments with Tempranillo and Pinot Noir. The bargain priced wines made from Bonarda and Torrontes (the latter made primarily in the Salta sub-region of Cafayate) continue to carve out niches for themselves. There are hopes for fine wine, especially Pinot Noir, in the cooler, southerly region of Patagonia, but that remains a work in progress. As for Malbec, 2006 has turned out to be a great year and 2007 an excellent one in Mendoza. There are still plenty of 2005s remaining in the market and that is an excellent year as well. In short, it’s hard to go wrong these days even if you choose a bottle blind-folded.'
RP on Luca 2007 Pinot Noir -'It is a candidate for best Argentina Pinot Noir of the year.'

Vine Connections wines continue to score impressively well in its 2nd annual recap of Argentine wines.  Click for complete Argentine reviews

SF Chronicle Top 100 of 2008

SFGate/ San Francisco Chronicle - TOP 100 WINES OF 2008

2007 Bacchant Wines Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 
  A superb expression of mostly unoaked Chardonnay in a new venture from Pinot grower Jeff Pisoni and master sommelier Sara Floyd. Fresh, clean notes of apple, tangerine, white almond and mineral. A lush, fruit-driven texture gives it weight, but its well-focused definition propels it beyond many of the unoaked specimens currently appearing.

2007 J. Christopher Willamette Valley Riesling   This year marked a surge of Oregon Rieslings in our tastings, with terrific results from what conceptually should be Pinot Noir turf. This dry one from Jay Somers' small label offered slate-like aromas, with a slightly oily texture and snappy, steely acidity reminiscent of a fine dry Ruwer Valley effort. Tangerine rind, fresh lime and green apple help give it a razor-sharp definition.

2007 Robert Foley Napa Valley Pinot Blanc   You know him for his Claret and Charbono, but the second vintage of this white from Bob Foley was too good an example of often-misunderstood Pinot Blanc not to include. Yountville fruit is picked on the early side for his "alternative beverage" to Chardonnay, which boasts rich scents of nectar, Anjou pear and a bit of green almond, with a clean, firm profile and sharp-eyed acidity.

2006 K Vintners Cougar Hills Walla Walla Valley Syrah    Walla Walla's Charles Smith turns out some of Washington's most appealing, aromatic Syrahs. Sadly, 2006 is the final vintage from this vineyard that often provided the base for his best effort. But it's a fine send-off: a dense nose of layered pepper, fennel seed, cherry and blueberry, leading to a briny, rich, oak-tinged palate, with fine tannins and a hulking structure. Worth the hunt.

2007 Dashe Cellars L'Enfant Terrible McFadden Farms Potter Valley Zinfandel  
Before you rush out to try Mike Dashe's curious experiment, a few caveats: Dashe picked these Mendocino County grapes early, fermented with native yeasts and aged the wine in a large cask with almost no use of the preservative sulfur dioxide. The result is a light, floral Zin - really more like Beaujolais - with lean, high-acid red fruit and a stony overtone. A fantastic example of outre winemaking done right.

2006 Palmina Honea Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley Barbera
  In Lompoc's wine ghetto, Steve and Chrystal Clifton have committed themselves to Italian varietals like few have in California. Honea is essentially their estate plot, and this latest Barbera is as exotic as it is compelling. Fiery aromas of umeboshi plum, cinnamon and violets share the stage with red currant, ripe cherry and red fruits, with the variety's high-toned acidity providing the momentum amid tons of rich fruit.

Brooks Wine & Owner Pascal in the news!

From Willamette comes an article written about the youngest winery owner, Pascal Brooks of Brooks Winery.


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