2005 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand ($7.99) and the 2004 Vasse Felix “Adams Road” Chardonnay, Margaret River Western Australia ($13.99) These are two screaming deals! The Matua, now with bolder color and in a Bordeaux bottle, serves up a bouquet of lime, cantaloupe and fresh cut red peppers. On the palate there is good acidity to support the more tropical mango-papaya fruit that lead to a refreshing clean finish. The Adams Road chardonnay is 50% tank fermented. The nose offers aromas of light toast, pear, pineapple, honey, hazelnut and cinnamon spice. The wine has superb acidity bringing all these components together. 2004 Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah, Coastal Region South Africa ($10.99) The 2004 shows smoky, meaty notes with lovely ripe boysenberry fruit and a hint of lavender in the aromatics. In the mouth, the wine is full bodied and juicy with soft lush tannins and a fine finish. 2004 Hewitson “Miss Harry” GSM, McLaren Vale South Australia ($17.99) Dean Hewitson brings another super edition of Miss Harry with his 2004 blend of 44% grenache, 43% shiraz and 13% mourvèdre sourced from 50 and 80 year old vines. The bouquet sings with notes of black raspberry, cassis, white pepper, smoked meats and a hint of mocha. On the palate there is fine balance and length, with more structure and weight than last years 91-point wine. The 2003 d’Arenberg “Footbolt” Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia ($13.99) shows how good the vintage was in McLaren Vale. This wine is richer and shows more depth than the fine 2002, with notes of dark plum, blackberry, blueberry, chocolate and earth. Very well balanced with fine length and polish for the money. —Jimmy C
2001 Coteaux du Tricastin, Domaine de Grangeneuve “Vielles Vignes” ($13.99) Tricastin is the fastest growing region in the Rhône Valley. About forty years ago, this area was barren. Once France relinquished its authority over Algiers, many of the French natives of Algiers came to Tricastin. Renewed interest in the area resulted in the planting of over 5,000 acres, and the area is far from barren today. Domaine de Grangeneuve, founded in 1964 by Odette and Henri Bours, is one of the top two estates in Tricastin. Production of all wines produced at Domaine Grangeneuve is an amazingly small 2000-3000 cases per year! This wine comes through with pure Rhone fruit, balanced minerality and ample but not aggressive spices. A blend of 50% grenache and 50% syrah with the syrah fruit really shining through. A fine and elegant nose of tart cherries, minerals, herbs, spices and violets. In the mouth, the initially tart cherry fruit segues into ripe, red plums and strawberry fruit. A truly amazing wine for under $14.00! 2004 Cotes de Ventoux, Domaine de Fondreche “O Sud” ($13.99) At Domaine de Fondreche, winemaker Sebastien Vincenti (formerly of Châteauneuf-du-Pape) joined forces with neighbor Didier Robert to create “O” Sud. The heart of this wine comes from 50 acres in the Ventoux. The Domaine de Fondreche “O Sud” is a blend of syrah, grenache and cinsault. Stainless steel aging lets a rich nose of ripe cherries, glycerin, lavender and faint anise notes shine through. On the palate, charming, silky, jammy dark cherry fruit that is full and lush with white pepper and dusty notes that carry over onto the finish. One of the things that both these wines have in common is the extraordinary combination of quality and value they both represent. —Scott Beckerley
1992 Pichon-Lalande 1.5L, Pauillac ($89.99) This mature wine has complex aromas of plum, cedar, coffee roast, wood smoke and flowers. The mid palate is round and silky with flavors of red cherry, cigar box and herb. The finish is mild but persistant and even shows a slight touch of ruby grapefruit. This was a huge hit at a recent Bordeaux tasting. Not to be missed. 1993 Pichon-Lalande 1.5L, Pauillac ($134.99) 4 stars Decanter: “Good solid nose. Tannic fruit on the palate. Good, big and sound ... Very deep red; closed nose, with a hint of smoky oak; fairly soft and approachable, reasonable concentration and grip, good acidity, no unripeness; quite good length.” (12/97) With more structure and richness than the 1992, this is a deeply colored, smooth, silky, classic Pichon-Lalande. There is lots of dark fruit and mineral in the plush mid palate which flowes into a very elegant finish showing licorice and olive. This is a classic to decant now or age further for a special occasion. 1994 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan ($44.99) This is a stunning example of Haut-Bailly’s habit of putting on extra fat and richness after at least five years of bottle age. Super elegant yet rich, this has gobs of ripe fruit, earth, mineral and oak in a sweet, complex and seamless package. Awesome old-school Bordeaux! 2002 Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien ($83.99) 95 points Parker: “The wine exhibits pure black currant, licorice-infused fruit, huge body, a viscous mid-palate, and a long, heady finish... This is certainly one of the half dozen or so candidates for wine of the vintage.” —Steve Bearden
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