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New Wine Alert!!

Hello again. This week we are going to sample brand new wines. These are wines that I have never tried before, and they were an interesting mix. So let’s get started and break down these new wines.

First up is a Chardonnay that comes from Monterey County’s Salinas Valley. The Long Valley Chardonnay has a lovely nose of apples and vanilla that reflects its time in oak barrels. On the pallet, the fruit forward flavors of apples and pears meld with those of sweet oak vanilla and toast.

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This is a classic California Chardonnay that will pair with many foods. My recommendation would be fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. KFC anyone?

Price range: $7-$9

Pinot Noir is a category that has been steadily growing for years now, and new entrants are popping up all the time. The latest, Encore Pinot Noir, is another decent Pinot from Monterey County.

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A Silver Medal winner in the San Francisco Chronicle’s wine competition, the Encore Pinot Noir shows soft notes of rose petal, strawberry, and just a hint of carnation spice. On the palate, the cherry flavors are a little more pronounced, with a soft finish of cocoa powder and vanilla. This is a typical Pinot Noir for this region, and will pair nicely with lunch meat sandwiches, seared Ahi Tuna salads and its natural table mate, plank seared Salmon.

Price range: $8-$11

Next up we have a big, bold Napa Valley Merlot: Athenauem. I know, I know, that’s a contradiction in terminology for a Merlot, but this one is.

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On the nose, aromas of blackberries, violets, plums and red clay dust tell you that this is a serious, masculine Merlot. On the palate, the dryness of the red clay dust makes itself known immediately, followed by soft fruit notes of dried plum and blackberry. I found this wine to be out of balance, more earthy than fruity, and much more tannic and dry than I had expected. It is a fairly young wine (2015), so I think more time in bottle will settle the dusty notes and allow the fruit to come more to the front. If you’re going to drink this now, pair it with something sweet and fruity. Maybe try it with a fruit salad or chocolate raspberry cake or cherry pie.

Price range: $18-$22

Our next wine is from the North Coast vineyards of Samuel Charles.

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It’s a Cabernet that exudes bright notes of cherry, black currant and black raspberry. On the palate it’s a very fruit forward Cabernet with subtle hints of sweet oak and baking spices. I found it to be similar in taste, but not quality, to the Joel Gott 815 Cabernet. Still, it is a good offering that begs for a nice juicy hamburger with melted Swiss cheese on a sliced sourdough roll.

Price range: $11-$14

Lastly, we come to a fun new Zinfandel from Lodi called: Zin•phomaniac.

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Like its name suggests, you have to be insatiably crazy about Zinfandels to even try this wine. It’s nose exudes big, jammy fruit notes of blackberry, cherry, and blueberry. The palate hits you like a tidal wave of jammy fruit flavors of cherry and blackberry. It’s a bit under-ripe, leaving a slightly tart note in your mouth, but the big jammy flavors keep coming and coming long after you’ve swallowed.

This may sound crazy, but this wine is so fruity and more than mildly sweet, I think it has more of a juice flavor to it, and therefore would pair perfectly with a grilled cheese sandwich or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Try it, I’m going to.

Price range: $13-$16

Well, there you have it... a crop of new wines for you to try this Spring.

Come back next week for my first 2018 installment of “Grape if the Week.”

It’s going to be... AH!!! You’ll have to come back to see. Until then, take care, and try new wines! Cheers!