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What’s on the tasting board?

There is nothing worse than hearing what you might have tasted last week. But in case you are interested, Citronée had wines of Spain, Carrington’s had Cabernet Sauvignon and Gregory’s had Halloween-inspired Vampire wines.

Here’s what they are pouring this week.

Citronée Ð Wines of South Africa



This week Richard is pouring five wines. I loved the Steen, but the two that really caught my interest were a couple of reds. Pinotage is a grape cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault that is unique to South Africa.

Fleur du Cap, 2004 Pinotage, Stellenbosh, South Africa: $2.00/2 ounce sample, $5.50/glass, $13.00/bottle




Intriguing rustic aromas of earthiness, tobacco, and dried fruits. This wine offers old-world style flavors that we don’t often see in California wines.

Tumara, 2004 Pinotage, Paarl, South Africa: $2.25/2 ounce sample, $6.00/glass, $17.50/bottle

Here is the same varietal done in an international style, much more polished, offering ripe, black fruit flavors, soft tannins and more oak, but still with a bit of the earthiness of the varietal. It shows a different winemaking view of the same coin.

Carrington’s Fine Wines

This week Cal is pouring seven Merlots including Albini, BR Cohn, Sebastiani, Keenan and a few others. The tasting for the flight is $9.

Albini Family Vineyards, 2004 Merlot, Russian River, Sonoma County : $26.49/bottle

Don’t be surprised if you have never heard of this wine. They only made 200 cases, all bottled by hand. Don Albini refers to himself as a garagiste, a spin-off of the French term for outside-the-box winemakers, but in his case, someone who literally makes wine in his garage.

In a blind tasting most people think it is a Cabernet. It offers multi-dimensional flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, chocolate and oak. It is juicy and spicy with moderate tannins and wonderful complexity.

Gregory’s Wine Vault

This week Greg is pouring four wines for $4 including a Cotes du Rhone wine from France, a Malbec from Argentina and a Chianti from Italy. Here is one more that should catch your interest.

Peltier Station, 2005 Petite Sirah, Lodi: Best of Class, Best of Region, 94 Points, 2006 California State Fair, $16/bottle

John Gaunt taught me the rule about Petite Sirah. “If it doesn’t taste good to you as a young wine, chances are it will never taste good, ever.” Petite Sirah has a reputation of being a tannic bruiser but if the tannins don’t match the fruit it is going nowhere. Here is one in alignment. Aromas of blackberry, with floral notes blended with mocha, plenty of oak, packed with fruit, back-ended with a very healthy dollop of tannin.

1987 Clos Du Val Reserve Red, magnum: 93 percent Cabernet Sauvignon – 7 percent Cabernet Franc

Greg has a remarkable selection of older wines and every Friday evening from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. he selects one bottle to add to the pouring lineup. He wouldn’t crack this one for me for a preview taste so I have to wait till Friday. I called the winery and they said they sold out at $315. He only pours one bottle. Don’t be late.


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