Au Bon Climat 2016 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($25.99)

Au Bon Climat

Dark ruby red with scarlet glints against the light. Red berries, a hint of plum and a whiff of fennel carry over intact on the palate in a full-bodied, red-berry flavor that’s ripe but bone-dry and tart, mouth-watering and palate-cleansing. Alcohol at 13.5% is sufficient to fill it out but not so high-octane as to bring the heat. Soft, palatable tannins in a nicely balanced Pinot Noir that’s distinctly California yet reaches across the Atlantic to bring in a touch of Burgundy. Excellent wine.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Check prices and find vendors for Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir on

You can also buy the 2016 vintage direct from the winery for $24 at this link. Read article.

Two canned wines from Alloy Wine Works

Alloy Wine Works

Alloy Wine Works (Field Recordings) 2015 Central Coast Chardonnay ($8.99/500ml can)
Clear straw color. Fresh scents of pears and green apples and yeasty rising bread dough lead into a tart and tangy and very slightly sweet flavor highlighting lemony citrus and, yes, pie crust, with meyer lemon hanging on in a very long, acidic finish with warm 14% alcohol. I would never have expected a wine this balanced and well-made to come from a can. It’s not my favorite style of Chardonnay, but I’d score it well on points in wine judging. (June 29, 2017)

Alloy Wine Works (Field Recordings) 2016 “Hans Grüner” Edna Valley Grüner Veltliner ($8.99/375ml can)
This wine surprises me on two levels: It’s a much better wine than I would have ever expected to find in a can, and it’s a much better Grüner Veltliner than I would have ever expected to taste from a vineyard that’s far from Austria. It’s a clear, light brass-color wine, with fresh white-fruit and green herbal aromas that I expect from a good GV. The same goes for the flavor, which shows clean, crisp white fruit, snappy citrus and a distinct touch of stony minerality with a light 12.1% alcohol. Zippy lemon-lime persists in a very long finish.

Click here to review vendors and prices for all of Field Recordings’ wines including the Alloy Wine Works cans.
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Les Vignerons de Tautavel 2016 “Le Cirque” Côtes Catalanes Rosé ($13.99)

“Le Cirque”

Clear, bright salmon pink, a very pretty blend of Grenache Noir (40%), Mourvèdre (40%), and Syrah (20%). Strawberries and raspberries and fresh green herbs on the nose; red berries and a whiff of watermelon on the palate, nicely balanced by crisp, fresh acidity. It’s nearly dry, with 13% alcohol and a touch of fresh-fruit sweetness that could be a hint of sugar or just fresh, ripe fruit.

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Mulderbosch 2015 Western Cape Chenin Blanc Steen Op Hout ($14.99)


This is a clear, straw-color wine with glints of gold. Its ripe aromas center on musky melons, honeydew and ripe cantaloupe, a hint of juicy peach and a touch of tangerine. These mixed-fruit aromas carry over in a palate impression that’s medium-bodied, quite dry, and shaped by zippy fresh-fruit acidity that lingers into a very long finish. It carries its 14 percent alcohol well.

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What ever happened to corks?

"Natural Cork is #1. So are Synthetic Closures. Discuss."

Pulling the cork from a wine bottle the other day, I suddenly realized with surprise that I was actually pulling a cork.
A real cork, that is. In that “Eureka” moment, I suddenly realized that it had been a long time since I encountered a whole, natural cork, as opposed to a metal screw cap, synthetic (plastic) stopper, or “technical” cork made of reassembled cork granules treated to deter “cork taint.”

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Spice Route 2013 “Chakalaka” Western Cape Red ($20.99)

Spice Route "Chakalaka"

Dark reddish-purple, almost black at the core, with bright ruby glints against the light. Delicious scents of black plums, blackberries and raspberries add just a subtle hint of warm spice in the aroma. Ripe, juicy plums dominate an appetizing flavor shaped by food-friendly acidity and a significant edge of soft but perceptible tannins, with a bit of heat showing from its 14.5% alcohol. Mixed berries and a fresh, citric snap linger in a very long finish. A blend of 50% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 13% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignan, 8% Grenache, and 6% Tannat.

Check prices and find vendors for Spice Route “Chakalaka” Western Cape red on Read article.