So our good friend and RNDC/Barkley rep “Sweet” Lou came by yesterday, armed with 9 wines and his customary Riedel® glassware in tow, and as usual, there were definitely some surprises:

The Beach House White by Douglas Green South Africa 2010.  Grade=Outstanding.  This blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon is a wonderful reminder that Spring is almost here.  Crisp notes of guava, lemongrass, key lime and gooseberries abound, with a bit of lanolin, mineral and grapefruit undertones mixed in for a lively white perfect for anytime.

Guardian Peak Frontier Red Western Cape 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  This is a really brawny display of red and black fruits, medium tannins and bold flavors of bacon fat, red berries, white pepper and brown spices.

The Purple Cowboy Cabernet Sauvignon “Trail Boss” Paso Robles 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  Very cool and very different, this Cab comes with a blend of 9% Barbera, 3% Merlot, 1% Petite Sirah and 2% Assorted grapes, it’s really splashy with its ripe red raspberry, black cherry and dark plum notes, undertones of Dr. Pepper® and Crème Soda.

Novelty Hill Royal Slope Red Columbia Valley 2007.  Grade=Outstanding.  I truly believe Mike Januik is one bad mofo winemaker:  this awesome blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Mourvedre, and Petit Verdot (the gang’s all here!) is full of jammy blue and black berry fruits, baking spices, chocolate, espresso bean, tobacco, leather and hickory smoke.

Novelty Hill Merlot Columbia Valley 2006.  Grade=Outstanding.  I’ve reviewed this before and it goes without saying that Merlot has truly been mastered in Washington State.  This is an exceptional example of what Merlot SHOULD taste like.

Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007.  Grade=Amazing.  I have reviewed this before as well, and again, this is as good as it gets from this AVA at this price point (under $25).  I love this wine!

Haraszthy Zinfandel Amador County 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  I told Shannon that I thought of this as the “anti-Zin.”  Not in that it doesn’t taste like a Zinfandel, but that it doesn’t taste like a fruit bomb.  While clocking in at 15.6% alcohol, it shows incredible restraint and elegance, revealing supple notes of blackberry, chocolate, raspberry pie, white pepper and creamy vanilla.

The Federalist Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2007.  Grade=Outstanding.  Like the Haraszthy, this is a kinder, gentler Zin with less heavy-handed, highly alcoholic fruit, opting for a more graceful display of black and blue fruits, baking spices, chocolate, pepper and baked earth.

And his obligatory brown bag wine:

Bubo Zinfandel California 2009.  Grade=Average.  This was a fairly sweet Zin, smooth and easy on the palate, with baked black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of spice, and some candied blueberries at the finish.

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