Lapostolle 2013 “Casa” Grand Selection Rapel Valley Carmenère ($10.99)

Lapostolle Carmenère

Very dark, almost blackish purple nearly all the way to a garnet edge. Blackberries and blueberries and warm brown spice on the nose and palate, leading into a full, tart black-fruit flavor framed by brisk acidity and soft tannins that gain astringency on your cheeks and palate during a long, clean finish. Only 13 percent alcohol, but there’s enough heat to make it feel like a bit more.

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Oveja Negra 2014 Maule Valley Cabernet Franc – Carmenere Reserva ($9.99)

Oveja Negra

A blend of 60 percent Cabernet Franc and 40 percent Carmenere, this is a dark reddish-purple wine, shading to a clear garnet edge. Blackberries and blueberries show first in the aroma, joined by a distinct note of brown spices. Juicy black fruit, bright acidity and a distinct buzz of tannic astringency join on the palate in a simple, forward flavor that softens a bit with time in the glass. It will also benefit from a bit of fat – either meat or cheese – to help bring it into balance. 13,5% alcohol.

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Cucao 2014 “PX” Elqui Valley Pedro Ximenez Reserva ($9.99)

Cucao "PX"

Transparent straw color with a golden hue. It seems to show a nutty whiff of oxidation at first, but this blows off to reveal heavy and complex aromatics of pears, mangoes and green figs. It’s fresh and dry on the palate, a far cry from the intensely sweet PX Sherries, but a good, rich mouthfeel balanced by bright acidity, and aromatic white-fruit flavors that follow the nose. Gentle 12 percent alcohol with a hint of peach-pit bitterness in a long finish that works as a pleasant aperitif or versatile food wine.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: doesn’t offer us much help on this one, with only one vendor found on the free service. You might try this link, though, for other Elqui Valley wines including a couple of Pedro Ximenez.

You might also check in with regional distributors Regal Wines and Vintner Select for information about retail sources near you.
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Sour Grapes: Not fake news, fake wine

An investigator takes a close look at a fake wine label in "Sour Grapes."

If you’d like some light movie watching for the holidays and you’d like it with a wine spin, take a look at “Sour Grapes.”
A documentary with the feel of a brisk modern detective drama, “Sour Grapes” tells the tale of Rudy Kuriawan, a young, Indonesian-born Los Angeles wine geek who faked out more than a few wine-industry luminaries, selling them thousands of bottles of counterfeit wine in very high-end bottles in private sales and at high-end auctions.

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Nino Franco “Rustico” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ($16.99)


Bright gold with a slight greenish-brassy hue. It pours up very foamy but falls back to reveal lasting, multiple streams of bubbles that last. Simple and fresh, its aromas and flavors evoke fresh pears and apples with a back note of orange peel. Carbonation adds structure in the mouth, with white-fruit flavors, light 11 percent alcohol, and sufficient acidity to serve at the table without being overly tart. Nicely balanced bubbly.

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Il Follo Prosecco Extra Dry ($12.99)

Il Follo

Clear light greenish-gold, a pale brass color; it foams up in a frothy mousse that falls back fast, leaving a steady shower of persistent bubbles. Fresh and appealing citrus aromas and flavors, it offers a mix of lemon-lime and juicy tangerine, bone-dry without a hint of sweetness. Frothy and fresh on the palate, mixed citrus flavors mingle with bright, zippy acidity in a long, clean finish.

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Wines of Umbria


Just to the east of Tuscany lies the beautiful region of Umbria – “well worth visiting as it generally lacks the bustle of tourists that can make Tuscany difficult at times,” writes Neil Duarte. “And the wine is very good.” Here’s his selections from among Umbria’s many wine choices. Read article.