BenMarco 2016: Yes, Please!

I am loving the lower alcohols coming out of all peaks and crevices of Mendoza today. The wines were always delicious to taste, and now they are becoming more and more drinkable. This trio from Dominio del Plata’s BenMarco line provides a good set of examples. No wine exceeds 13.5% abv, and their freshness levels are exhilarating.

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Grace, Harmony & Approachability from Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy

Barbaresco Martinenga 2014: This is ballerina-like, elegant and deceitfully feathery-feeling for a (usually husky) 14.5% abv wine. To this point, its lighter-weight style might disappoint those hoping for a more bruising – more typically robust – style of young Barbaresco. However, those are far more commonplace – and more intellectual rather than enjoyable early on, so it is a true pleasure and relief to taste this beauty from Marchesi di Gresy.  

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La Valentina Abrusseze Trio

Pecorino Colline Pescaresi 2017: I’ve been tasting more and more Pecorinos – and many good ones – in the last three or four years. They’re a great addition to the white offerings of Abruzzo, which can be a little tiring when Trebbiano is the only option. This is a dynamo of a flavorful and harmonious wine, and I’d easily drink it on a regular basis. Moreover, this is wildly, wildly good deal at just $16 retail.

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Susana Balbo’s Latest, Classy Releases from Dominio del Plata

Signature Brioso White Blend Valle de Uco 2017: This dazzlingly fragrant white from Susana Balbo is a new release from Valle de Uco’s Altamira. This is a dynamic and unusual white from Argentina. It is super fun to sip and very easy on the wallet, too.

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Joel Gott: 20 Years Under $20

This was Joel Gott’s 20th vintage, after having started his business when he saw the demand for wines under $20 back in 1996. This is a blend not only of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc), but also of regions (Lake County, Monterey and Lodi) with the aim of making a wine of harmony.

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Tenuta Regaleali’s Latest Releases

Most of all, I was impressed by the nobility and longevity of the wines. In almost every wine there was a hard core, Sicilian determination that aimed to survive against all adverse expectations. Each time I taste a new vintage, I find the same character. If you’re looking for fruit-driven, easy wines, move along. These aren’t those wines. The wines of Tenuta Regaleali are thoughtful, even pensive, wines of integrity that require “listening to” to fully appreciate.

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Harmony, Grace & Thoughtfulness - Man & Bottle

I often think can find the winemaker in the wine, and yet again, that is the case with David Ramey’s 2016 Claret. On paper this bottling looks like a precise, acrobatic exercise in blending…. Yet from the first to the last drop, this fusion radiates harmony, grace and thoughtfulness, just like the man behind the juice. 

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Hit & Miss: Susana Balbo 2018 Rosé Signature with Baked Coconut & Panko Shrimp & Dill-Infused Salmon Tartare with Sea Salted Potato Chips

Susana Balbo 2018 Rosé Signature: Gleaming in appearance with a pale salmon color, this wine has a teasing, almost evasive nose. Light and airy, it tastes of peach fuzz and watermelon rinds. A fun, phenolic pithiness nicely balances the brisk acidity that surges on the minerally but quick finish. It’s a fun, uncomplicated aperitivo.

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Troon Vineyard 2016s & 2017s

My latest series of sturdy young white and red bottlings from Troon needed aeration like never before. If you can spare the time, two or more hours would be ideal. Where I kept the bottle overnight, the wines always were more forthcoming the second day. They are usually worth the wait.

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New Releases from Marco Felluga & Russiz Superiore

Marco Felluga 2014 Bianco Collio Molamatta: Named for its physical location, this is a true Super Friulian blend composed of 40% Pinot Bianco, 40% Tocai Friulano and 20% Ribolla Gialla. This striking blend delivers great harmony, not speaking of a particular grape variety but nodding toward fine terroir and good craftsmanship.

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A New Set of Gloria Ferrer Bubblies for the Holidays

Gloria Ferrer is one Sonoma’s most consistent producers of finessed bubbles. That’s not just due to its 35-plus years in California and steady application of know-how and TLC to its 340 acres of estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Ferrer family has been growing grapes in Catalonia for over 600 years and launched its first Cava under the Freixenet label in 1914!

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