2004 Griffin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($10.99) Many of you enjoyed our Kirkham Peak sauvignon blanc from New Zealand until we ran out. Well, mourn no longer my friends, it’s back with a “new suit.” It’s a new name, but make no mistake, it still has lovely notes of pear, grapefruit, white melon, snap pea, red bell pepper and a dash of minerals. All these components are supported by juicy, refreshing acidity with excellent balance and length. 2004 Nautilus Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand ($15.99) This wine is a big favorite of mine. The bouquet offers floral notes with elements of pear and nectarine with a touch of spice. On the palate the wine is rich and round with good acidity and a long finish. One of the best Pinot Gris you will find from New Zealand. 2004 Majella “The Musician” Cabernet-Shiraz Coonawarra South Australia ($15.99) A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% shiraz that has a perfumed nose of red current, blackberry, mulberry, a Grave-like tobacco leaf note and a hint of mineral. On the palate the wine has a whisper of oak, but is integrated along with fine-grained tannins. The emphasis is on a fruit forward wine at a fair price to showcase the unique character of Coonawarra. 2004 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon Robertson South Africa ($7.99) This is the third vintage we have brought in of this wine, and I think it is the most focused and balanced of the bunch. The nose is full of plum, black current, dark cherry, cassis and a hint of licorice. On the palate there is good balancing acidity with fine dusty tannins and a note of cocoa that lead to a fine refreshing finish. Buy a case to have around the house this holiday season. Happy Holidays! —Jimmy C
2003 Vacqueyras, La Bourgeat ($14.99) This blend of old-vine syrah, grenache and mourvèdre is completely unfiltered. Add this fact to the weightiness of the 2003 vintage and you have a wine that just says “Wow, notice me!” The initial nose is one of black fruits, particularly extremely ripe black cherries. Scents of gravel and spice box also waft out of the glass. Ten minutes later, pomegranate juice makes a not so subtle appearance. On the palate, black cherries that are slightly tart come out to greet you with boysenberries and dry raspberry fruit. Good acidity and low tannin with a finish of spice and light anise. Fleshy with a medium length finish. A perfect match with wintry roasts, stews and game birds. 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de la Cote de l’Ange ($28.99) One of most pleasurable things about this wine is the color. A beautiful, dark garnet. Hold it up to the light and see it for yourself. Pour it into the glass and watch it stick to the sides like glycerin. In the mouth, big dark blackberry and boysenberry fruit. Traces of both white and black pepper on the finish. A lengthy finish that actually improves after a couple of hours of decanting. I let this wine open up while watching two very mediocre episodes of Night Gallery from the early 1970s. It was Halloween, after all. In any case, the marvelous structure and quality of this wine offset what was not Rod Serling’s best. I think that the next time that I drink this wine, I will be watching The Twilight Zone. A quality show to go with a quality wine. Now, that’s a match! Have a very happy holiday season and many thanks for your patronage in 2005! —Scott Beckerley
2000 Grand Enclos du Cerons Blanc (.375ml) ($14.99) Cerons is an area just to the north of Sauternes and Barsac known for producing value-priced sweet wines. This 100% semillon is aged in oak barrels to add extra richness to the lively, tropical botrytised fruit. Zesty and complex with citrus, honey and orange, this is great with foie gras, cheese or fruit-based desserts. 2004 La Peyrere du Tertre, Clairet ($12.99) This rustic and hearty rosé is a wine of terrior, showing flavors of earth, juicy raspberry, stony minerality and rose petal. Made from a blend of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon aged in oak for three months, this can definitely stand up to rich food yet has enough fruit to sip by the glass. Just 300 cases produced each year. 2000 Ch Laforge, St-Emilion ($19.99) This ridiculously low-priced offering from the glorious 2000 vintage starts out with sweet, seductive aromas of dark fruit, oak and roasting coffee. The rich palate shows flavors of sweet currants, ripe plums, mocha, minerals, toast and chocolate, which are long and mouth coating. Round, gentle and almost too easy to drink. 2000 La Cardonne, Médoc ($14.99) According to the Wine Spectator: “Lovely aromas of crushed berries, chocolate and smoke follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a clean finish. Well-done. Best after 2005.” 2001 Ch Margaux, Margaux ($164.99) The most elegant wine of the First Growths in 2001. This blend of 82% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot, 7% petit verdot and 4% cabernet franc is seamless and complex. 93 points Parker and 92 points Spectator. —Steve Bearden
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