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The Dozen - Yin & Yang

Many of us wine lovers have two competing desires. One is to discover affordable bottles that are fine for everyday drinking. The other is to be able to taste beautiful, complex wines that demand our attention and generally come with price tags that are also demanding in their own ways.

This dozen has both – some nice, affordable whites that make great lunchtime companions as well as some big, complex whites and reds that are best enjoyed with great foods and great friends.

2011 Esporâo “Bico Amarelo” Vinho Verde ($12). Soft and fragrant green fruits – apples, limes – along with spicy cloves and good acidity.

2019 Guinigi Delle Venezi Pinot Grigio ($14). Straight-forward with mouth-filling apple and pear flavors plus a solid finish.

2019 Nik Weis “Urban” Mosel Riesling ($14). “Soft” Riesling flavors, a little spicy, pleasant but not crisp.

2019 Ameal Vinho Verde Loureiro ($18). Crisp and tart with lots of lime flavors.

2018 Alma Rosa “El Jabali” Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay ($68). Full-bodied with excellent, lively fruitiness of mellow apples and a crisp finish.

2018 Ram’s Gate “El Diablo Vineyard” Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($70). Well-wooded, but not toasty, with an apple fruitiness that runs in the direction of an eau-de-vie's ethereal concentration along with a touch of bitters. A drink-and-think wine.

2018 Ram’s Gate “Hyde Vineyard” Carneros Chardonnay ($70). A Chablis-style Chard with clean, crisp, tangy apples and other green-fruit flavors.

2019 Rutherford Hill Napa Valley Rosé of Merlot ($32). Not your wimpy pink, but full-bodied and very flavorful with tart cherries and a hint of vanilla.

2018 Yalumba Barossa “Bush Vine” Grenache ($21). A very herbal wine – dried geranium leaf – with  concentrated, almost jammy fruitiness – cassis, cranberries – that belie its light hue.

2018 Ram’s Gate “El Diablo Vineyard” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($75). Just lovely – reminds me of an excellent Bourgogne in color and taste, with herbal cherry flavors and a hint of balsamic.

2017 La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot ($87). A complex wine with great cellar potential – but you’ll be tempted to drink it now, and why not? Lean body with concentrated fruit of dark cherries with well-integrated oak and tannins.

2017 Ram’s Gate “Berler Vineyard” Fountain Grove Cabernet Sauvignon ($115). Quite enjoyable, fruity and concentrated flavors (tangy and spicy, plummy) without being extracted.


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

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