Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence

Mas de Gourgonnier

This Provence red is made with organically grown Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Grenache (31%), Syrah (22%) and Carignan (15%), grapes, with the Cabernet, a bit surprisingly for a Provence red, bumped up as a major component in this vintage. It’s fairly dark reddish-purple in color, shading to a clear edge. Delicious but not overbearing mixed-fruit aromas bring black plums, cherries and red berries to the table carrying over on the palate in juicy, tart fruit shaped by crisp acidity and a soft edge of astringent tannins that work with modest 13% alcohol to keep it food-friendly.

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Barossa Valley Estate “GSM”

Barossa Valley GSM

This “GSM” blend of Grenache (35%), Shiraz (34%), Mourvèdre (31%) shows dark reddish-purple in the glass, not quite crystal-clear, with a pale edge. Plums and red berry aromas, with a touch of dried fruit to back it up. A burst of good red-fruit flavor fills the palate, cherries and berries framed by fresh-fruit acidity and soft tannins. Red fruit and brisk acidity linger in a tart, clean finish, and 14 percent alcohol is not intrusive, although it’s just warm enough to heighten the heat against lightly spicy food.

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Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon


Clear, pale straw color with a distinct greenish hue. Attractive fresh-fruit aromas rise from the glass, focused on pears and apples at first, shifting to bright lime and lemon citrus scents as the wine warms from refrigerator temperature. Snappy citrus moves to the fore in the flavor, with a prickly touch that suggests light carbonation. It’s bone-dry and crisply acidic, medium weight and body likely contributed by the Semillon, with just a hint of stony minerality joining citrus notes in a long finish. Light 12 percent alcohol makes it an easy sipper.

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Croft Reserve Tawny Porto

Croft Tawny Porto

Clear reddish-amber, a pretty color that looks almost more like a light red than a tawny. Interesting aromas of caramel and dried cherries loft from the glass, with more subtle grace notes of aromatic brown spices, cardamom and cloves. The nutty walnut and pecan flavors typical of tawny Port are more evident in the luscious, full-bodied flavor, but there’s good sweet red fruit there, too. The smooth sweetness somewhat conceals the potent 20 percent alcohol, but its gentle heat becomes more evident along with soft tannins in a long finish that speaks of dried fruit and caramel. A fine tawny and a very good value.

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Jolivet “Attitude” Loire Rosé


Primarily made with Loire Valley Pinot Noir with some Cabernet Franc and Gamay also in the blend, this is an attractive light copper color. Pleasant, subtle mixed berries and pears on the nose invite a taste, which is bright and fresh, gently acidic and quite dry, with just a touch of prickly petillance. Its crisp, fresh character and modest 12.5% alcohol makes it easy to sip on a summer afternoon, and friendly at the table with lighter fare.

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