The Fairview estate in South Africa does an amazing job of creating wines with style, character and value. Made from a blend of syrah, grenache, cinsault and merlot, the 2006 Goats do Roam Rosé ($7.99) has vibrant aromatics of ripe strawberry and watermelon that follow on the palate with a round mouth feel, good acidity and length. The 2004 Bored Doe ($9.99) is a blend of 48% merlot, 28% cabernet sauvignon, 13% malbec and 11% petite verdot. Notes of dark plum, cherry and currant with a hint of licorice and smoke are finely balanced with a fine finish. The 2005 Goat Door Chardonnay ($10.99) sees partial barrel and malolactic fermentation. After six months in tank and neutral French oak, the wine is blended. On the nose there is subtle oak nuances with hazelnut and notes of pineapple, baked apple, citrus and spice. There is good balancing acidity with a long finish. We were lucky to get Phil Christiansen once again to fashion a great Shiraz as he did in 2002. The 2004 Kirkham Peak Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia ($15.99) is classic McLaren Vale juice with cassis, blueberry, toffee, chocolate and spice. The oak influence is subtle with a combination of French and American oak of which 10% is new. On the palate, there is great purity to the fruit with good acidity and silky soft supple tannins. There is great balance and structure reflecting the fine 2004 vintage in Australia. —Jimmy C
This month I have two very different wines. First up, a sparkling pink Bugey from Cerdon which, in my wine world is synonymous with “Look out, good times up ahead!” Next, a K&L staff favorite, Marselan from Domaine l’Attilon, is back in the house! Read on! NV Cerdon de Bugey (methode ancestrale), Caveau de Mont St. July ($14.99) Spontaneous fermentation. An altogether preferable scenario to spontaneous combustion, and A LOT more fun to drink. This pink, semi dry bubbly was made by spontaneous fermentation, otherwise known as methode ancestrale. Grapes are picked by hand (not just any grapes, these are the local poulsard and gamay grown on mountainous slopes in the shadow of the Alps), and fermented in chilled vats just reaching 5 or 6 degrees alcohol. The young and light wine is then bottled, along with its active yeast and considerable unfermented sugars. Under pressure of the cork, the wine continues to ferment, gaining a few degrees of alcohol but retaining a nice amount of sweetness. And the bubbles, of course, another result of fermentation under pressure. This one is so delicious and fun to drink, with a distinctly, well, grapey aroma and a fruitiness that calls out for celebration and jubilation. This is also wonderful served with spicy Indian takeout or a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips! 2004 VdP des Bouches du Rhône Marselan Domaine l’Attilon (ORGANIC) ($8.99) Marselan, a cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache, is a new grape variety. Domaine l’Attilon’s organic version of this new cepage is bursting with bright, crunchy black currant and cherry fruit balanced by violet floramatics and a vibrant acidity. Another terrific value from the south of France! —Mulan Chan
My two picks for the month are like comparing apples and oranges. One is an old-world style while the other is a modern Champagne. Up first is the Rene Collard Cuvee Ultime Ultra Brut Champagne ($39.99). This is quite unlike our other Collard wines. Comprised of grapes entirely from the 1995 vintage, this wine has no dosage, or no sugar added. Though it is a dry Brut, it is not a tart style due to the ripeness of the pinot meunier (100%!) used in this wine. A big doughy nose with plenty of ripe pear fruit. In the mouth, ripe apples, yeast and delicate truffle nuances. The no-dosage aspect of this wine comes out in the crisp, lingering finish. Number two for the month is a huge favorite of mine. The Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Prestige ($39.99) is composed of 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir with fruit from the chalkiest hillside vineyards that Tarlant owns in Oeuilly. All of the vines are 45-plus years old resulting in fruit of the highest quality. Fermented in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation for 13 months. Aged on the lees for seven years! The current blend is equally from the 1996 and 1997 vintages. Youthful nose with crisp acidity yet, rich with apples, toast, and a bit of yeast. On the palate, golden apples, fresh bread and cinnamon spice. Don’t forget to toast the kids going back to school! —Scott Beckerley
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