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Weekend Standouts

February 3, 2008

Pepiere Muscadet Clos Des Briords 2006, Loire: Fierce acidity, grapefruit, lime, and chalk dust. Very mineral and acid driven. Razor sharp and focused. Mouthfulls of gravel. Very long and persistent for a wine under ~$12. Drink with food you’d normally squeeze a lemon on.

Galena Priorat 2004, Priorat: Quite austere, but intriguing black tea, wet leaves, and high-toned fruit. Firm and acidic – leaning towards an elegance rather than an opulence. Restrained fruit, but really nice 2nd and 3rd tier herbal (oregano) characteristics. Good value @ $24, and an interesting blend of Garnacha, Cabernet, Merlot & Carignan. Try with pork dishes.

Kiona Cabernet-Merlot 2001, Washington: Old-world aromas – sweaty sock and barnyard – are welcome and characteristic of this unusual $11 wine. Caramelized broccoli and asparagus on the nose, with a black fruit core. Very juicy and lush on the palate – easy to drink indeed – the fruit has held up nicely and retains a fresh ripeness. The only thing holding this little wine from greatness is an annoying bitterness in the finish. This has gobs of character and charm, and is a great value. With ostrich or buffalo burgers – or asparagus wrapped in pancetta.

Tolaini Duesanti Toscana IGT 2003: A shocking combination of old-world Italian viticulture with Bordeaux grapes. This gem really delivers with a distinctive nose of black currant, dried parsley and mint, and a forest-floor woodsiness (not oaky). Great focus and purity on the palate – still tight with firm tannins but very expressive fruit ripeness and length. Much more interesting than the Paulliac tasted alongside it in the sub-$40 range. Try with braised veal shank and fresh pasta.

M5 Monastrell, 2005 Yecla: Undrinkable. Syrupy over-extracted and hot. Cheap raspberry-balsamic vinegar poured over a wet animal. Yuck. 92 pts Jay Miller?!?.

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