2004 Gravitas “St. Arnaud Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($15.99) This wine shows great intensity with a bouquet full of melon, passion fruit, white grapefruit, citrus, wet stone and minerals. These elements follow on the palate with great balancing acidity and superb length that is precise and pure. 2000 Petaluma Cabernet-Merlot Coonawarra South Australia ($19.99) Here’s a chance to try a classic Coonawarra blend for HALF PRICE, that was given 91 points from Wine & Spirits. This wine, made of equal parts cabernet sauvignon and merlot, offers aromas of mint, currant, dark cherry, tobacco leaf and minerals. On the palate, the wine has good acidity with gravelly fine dusty tannins that lend structure to the components above and lead to a fine finish. 2004 Water Wheel “Memsie” Bendigo Victoria ($9.99) This one got 90 points from the Wine Spectator AND Robert Parker. The dark purple color leads to juicy black and blueberry fruit with notes of earth and licorice. A GREAT bargain. 2004 Sylvan Springs “Hard Yards” Shiraz Vale South Australia ($14.99) This wine is lovely. It shows supple silky peppery cassis and blackberry fruit with some earthy notes. The palate reveals fine balance with good acidity and excellent length. Another fine value. Happy New Year! —Jimmy C
Perched on a rocky plateau overlooking the town of Paulliac, Château Pedesclaux shares position with such graces as Mouton-Rothschild, Lafite-Rothschild, Lynch-Bages and Pontet-Canet. Pedesclaux hasn’t always been at the top of its capacities. The château received 5th growth classification in 1855. After World War II it was purchased by the Jucla family. Renovations of the estate began in 1996 when the two youngest Juclas took over the management, and improvements are tangible. It’s planted with traditional Médoc grapes averaging 35 years (50% cabernet sauvignon, 45% merlot, 5% cabernet franc), and then matured for 18 months in 33% new oak. The 2002 Ch. Pedesclaux ($24.99) is opaque and deep in color with aromas of ripe dark fruit, and spices on the nose. The palate opens slowly introducing you to tender fruit with a touch of earthiness that evolves to light notes of coffee and tobacco. This is a great wine that will age well over the next 5-8 years. Three other noteworthy values under $20 are from the great 2003 vintage. 2003 Ch. Perron ($18.99), Lalande-de-Pomerol, is primarily merlot and has a dandy black berry and gravelly nose. Bright cherry hints with bits of cassis and plum are the main characters on the palate. 2003 Ch. Serilhan ($19.99), Saint-Estèphe, has undertones of earth and leather on the nose and palate. This wine provides the opportunity to explore dense black fruit and spice. It’s ready to drink now! A rarity in St-Estèphe. From a small appellation, Listrac-Médoc, 2003 Ch. Saransot-Dupre ($17.99) is a merlot-based wine. This beauty is aged in 30% new oak barrels creating hints of spice, and cassis exploding on the nose. This wine offers supple tannins that makes it approachable today. Enjoy now and over the next couple of years. —Alexandre Brisoux
2004 Château St. Jean des Graves, Blanc ($10.99) 90% sauvignon blanc makes this wine steely and clean. There is no oak to obscure the flavors of grapefruit, citrus and fresh melon, which are bright and racy. This is zippy, lively white Bordeaux at its best! Great with shellfish or goat cheese. 2004 Château Roquefort, Bordeaux Blanc ($9.99) This 85% sauvignon blanc wine is a bit rounder (due to 15% semillon) and more herbaceous than the St. Jean but still has plenty of lively acidity. Here we have a somewhat richer more nuanced blend that could stand up to stronger cheeses or even fish in a sauce but still retains a juicy by-the-glass appeal. Easy to drink and easy to buy! 2000 Château La Cardonne, Médoc ($14.99) From Bordeaux’s greatest vintage ever comes a great bargain. This starts with lusty aromas of toast, coffee and herb that leap out of the glass. The palate is clean, fresh and firm showing lots of dark fruit and a touch of spice on the substantial finish. This is food friendly, affordable and got 89 points from the Wine Spectator. 2003 Les Gravettes, Côtes de Bourg ($12.99) The satellite region of Côtes de Bourg is home to many tasty, bargain-priced wines, and this lush beauty is a perfect example. Ripe berries gush from this merlot-based gem with juicy cherries rounded out by a chocolaty finish showing very mild tannin. This is a traditionally made wine done in a more modern style for early drink ability. —Steve Bearden
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