After a few days in hiatus, rattling around in my headspace as if I were lost in a big dark attic, I am in a bit better spirits this week, and feel a bit more focused (that is a huge deal for me).  Last Wednesday, good friend and SFWE sales rep Kyle “The Killer “Beasmore came in with Wendy Rock, and unleashed a Whino’s Dozen on Shannon and myself.

Arido Sauvignon Blanc Mendoza 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  A really refreshing SB from Argentina, there is much more lime and guava here; not your NZ style.  Softer and rounder with a hint of passionfruit on the finish.

Milbrandt Pinot Gris Traditions Columbia Valley 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  Vibrant with pear and melon notes, nice minerality, and a soft, stone-fruited finish.

Esperanza Verdejo Viura Rueda 2010.  Grade=Outstanding.  Hints of kiwi, lemon, lime and starfruit in the middle of a well-balanced acidic context, with nuances of mineral, lemongrass and a tiny bit of jalapeno.

Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc Nelson 2010.  Grade=Outstanding.  The anti-NZ NZ SB with delicious lime, honeydew, guava and lemongrass notes, a touch of jalapeno and lime zest at the finish.  Much more round at the end than most of its peers.  Very good.

David Bruce Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2008.  Grade=Outstanding+.  Light on the oak, generous on the fruit, with roasted pear, apple tart, nectarine, nutmeg and slight vanilla character.  Medium-bodied and round from start-to-finish.

Milbrandt Riesling Traditions Columbia Valley 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  More a Trocken-style Riesling, with key lime, golden cherries, flint and mint.  Finishes dry.

Abrazo Garnacha Carinena 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  A splashy, juicy Grenache with supple red fruits, hints of baking spices, and a touch of cinnamon.  One of those wines I forgot about good it was for the money.

Spanish Demon Tempranillo Rioja 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  A brand new, light-bodied, fruit-driven red from Axial Wines, this easy drinking Tempranillo is bright cherry fruit, bitter chocolate, olive tapenade and bay leaf notes.

Woollaston Pinot Noir Nelson 2008.  Grade=Outstanding+.  Pretty impressive, and quite deceitful, with this almost translucent ruby color that lulls you into the belief it hasn’t much flavor.  Psych!  This beauty shows off some dark cherry, dark plum, cocoa powder, rosewood and truffle notes, and finishes creamy smooth.

Arido Malbec Mendoza 2008.  Grade=Average.  On the front end, this is a wonderful little Malbec, with blue fruits, smoky brown spices and a hint of chocolate, yet it finishes with a kind of iodine/medicinal edge.  Not a big fan.

Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 2007.  Grade=Outstanding.  This baby is rich and delicious, with blackberries, black cherries, chocolate, leather, baked earth, pepper and brown spices.

Tomero Malbec Mendoza 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  Dense, robust and concentrated blueberries, plums, loganberries, cigar box, vanilla, cloves and cedar smoke.  Stunning.

Vistalba Corte C Mendoza 2008.  Grade=Amazing.  Damn is this a sexy one!  Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, there is layer upon layer of dark fruits, mocha, espresso, leather, peat, pepper, and baking spices.

Foppiano Petite Sirah Russian River Valley 2008.  Grade=Amazing.  The last vintage I had of this wine was the 2005, which was a bit weird on the finish.  Not here.  This full-bodied temptress is full of black and blue fruits, baking spices, smoky earth and violets.  It is thick and unctuous, finishing long and generously.

Milbrandt Merlot Traditions Columbia Valley 2008.  Grade=Outstanding+.  Another top-flight value Merlot from Washington State, the place I happen to think makes the best Merlot on Earth for the money (sorry Pomerol).  This inexpensive model is medium-to-full-bodied, with black cherry, black currant, garrigue, cedar, mint and pepper.

Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon Traditions Columbia Valley 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  While Washington State Cab CAN be a shade lighter than its Merlot siblings, this one holds up well, with blackberries, dark plum, bay leaf, mineral, espresso and chocolate notes.

Terra Valentine Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District 2006.  Grade=Outstanding.  This is a monster that is truly muted right now, though you can get the impression this will be a gorgeous, full-bodied beauty with a bit more maturity.  Still, there are undercurrents of black fruits, chocolate and spices.  Be patient with this one.  You will be rewarded.


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