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The Weekly Dozen

Among this week’s selected 12 new releases on the American market is one wine that grows on trees, one that makes you want to check the litter box and another that will help you satisfy your serious chocolate lust.

2017 Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ($19). Oregon winemakers treat Pinot Gris more seriously than they do in most regions that grow it, and Ponzi’s has great apple-pear flavors, a touch of spritz and a crisp finish.

2016 Raeburn Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20). It walks the edge between juicy tropical fruitiness and voluptuous oak toastiness.

2017 Kim Crawford “Signature Reserve” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($23). Twist off the cap, and you’ll swear there’s a cat in the house, yet many devotees will flock to its pungent, blue-green, vibrant aromas and flavors.

2017 Macari “Katherine’s Field” North Fork of Long Island Sauvignon Blanc ($24). Very smooth, with fresh-cut green apple tastes and just a squirt of lime.

NV San Osvaldo Raboso Frizzante Veneto IGT ($15)  North central Italy is famous for its fizzing, red sparkling wines made to be enjoyed with meals such as pastas and pork dishes – enjoyable to drink while also balancing the food’s richness.  This one is made from the Raboso grape and is lightly fruity, lower in alcohol and has a pleasant, acidy tang in the finish.

NV Champagne Palmer Brut Reserve ($38).  Champagne is increasingly known for its grower-owned cooperatives which produce wines that are somewhat more affordable than the bigger brands. This one from Palmer is classically rich and creamy with mellow apple flavors and a brioche-like toastiness.

2016 Herdade de São Miguel Colheita Selection Vinho Regional Alentejano ($14). A good wine to sip with winter stews and soups, it has rich and murky dark-berry flavors and is made primarily with Alicante Bouchet and Touriga Nacional grapes.

2016 Cantina Mesa “Primo Scuro” Cannonau di Sardegna ($16). Light and easy drinking with fresh cherry flavors and a touch of bar bitters. If you so choose, you have permission to plop in a cube of ice.

2017 J. Bouchon “Pais Salvaje” Maule Valley Pais ($23). Wine doesn’t normally grow on trees, but they do in this vineyard of old-vine Pais.  Pais is a variety with multiple names that came to Chile with the Spanish missionaries, here allowed to climb up into the trees at field’s edge the way that wild vines do. But it’s more than a gimmick. This light-red Pais is an excellent carafe wine with fresh strawberry flavors, good piquancy and crisp finishing acidity.

2015 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah ($31). The Gravels, a sub-section of Hawke’s Bay, have an almost mythical capability to produce a variety of serious Rhone and Bordeaux varieties, and this affordable Trinity Hill offering has peppery dark fruits with medium weight and a slightly tangy finish.

2015 Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel ($38). California Zinfandels are arguably the best table wines to pair with chocolate because they, well, often taste of chocolate. This dry Zin has rich and mellow dark raspberry flavors with the lingering finish of a crunchy brownie.

2015 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Franc ($45). Mondavi reds tend to be a little oaky and tannic fresh out of the bottle, so decant this one for an hour or so before enjoying its well-structured blackberry and chocolate flavors. Or wait another five years before opening – if you have the willpower.


Prices listed are either SRP's or gleaned from

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