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The Weekly Dozen

It’s been a month since we’ve closed the holiday season in a flurry of bubbles and big-dinner reds. Although we still have left another two months of wintry weather – and there are some hearty reds on this week’s drinking list for that – it’s also time to welcome a blossoming of springtime California Chardonnays.

Match them with fragrantly-spiced quiches, seafood pastas and chicken in steamy, creamy sauces. Glasses ready?

2016 Talbott “Kali Hart” Monterey Chardonnay ($17). Medium body with lovely pineapple, lemon and other tropical fruits and a creamy oak finish.

2016 Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($38). Very nice – minerally intensity with light creaminess and hints of cloves and other baking spices.

2017 ZD Carneros Chardonnay ($42).  Lots of green apple and green table grape flavors balanced by a light toastiness and a clean finish.

2016 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch/Walker Hill” Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($50). Toasty, but not buttery – juicy apples and tropical fruits with mid-palate minerality and crème brulée finish.

2016 Trivento “Amado Sur” Mendoza Red Blend ($14). A Malbec-Bonarda-Syrah mashup with bright, slightly tangy cherry fruit with a crisp finish.

2016 The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel ($16). Burly and granular with tart berry flavors, but a little sweetish in the finish.

2015 Luce “Lucente” Toscana IGT ($26). Inexpensive and very complex for a “second wine” from a great property, it dwells in that flavor midrange between bright, murky fruits and vibrant blackberries, finishing with a little peppery spice and smooth tannins.

2016 Flora Springs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($39). Flora Springs has been marching to a different drum roll recently with more savory notes than are typical in Napa reds. This one has cherry/blackberry fruit with an earthy, chocolately finish.

2016 Jamieson Ranch “Double Lariat” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($42).  Lots of enjoyable cassis and brambles with a lean, bacony finish – yet it retains considerable heft.

2015 Left Coast “Right Bank” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($42). Obviously, the owners have a label-ous sense of humor, but the wine is serious with its crisp, somewhat tart fruitiness and good minerality.

2013 Frescobaldi “CastelGiocondo” Brunello di Montalcino ($66). More elegant than complex with clean red fruits, this is a surprisingly light Brunello, even for a traditional vintage that geared back tannins and alcohol.

2015 Luce Toscana IGT ($105). This Sangiovese-Merlot super Tuscan blend has very smooth purple fruits with a hint of green herbs in the finish, well-integrated tannins and great length on the palate. For current drinking, first decant for an hour or so.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com.

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