Ray Isle
August 15, 2007

Before zooming off to Maine for some much needed vacation, I tasted through a slew of recent releases, and, in there with the evil and the foul, found several winners. Without further ado:

2006 Torre La Moreira Albariño ($10) No idea how widely distributed this is, but it ought to be available everywhere–it's just terrific Albariño. Nice floral lime-candy aroma, then it's full-bodied (for Albariño), full of intense grapefruit rind and lime fruit, with a seashell-mineral end that lingers. Great summer white.

2006 WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Blanc ($18) WillaKenzie's Pinot Gris is one of the better versions coming out of Oregon, and its Pinot Blanc is no slouch either–vivid nectarine fruit, citrusy acidity, a succulent mouthfeel, and enough substance to pair with barbecued chicken, if you don't feel like red.

2005 Estancia Stonewall Vineyard Pinot Noir ($25) Estancia's mostly known for its affordable, widely distributed varietal wines, but this single vineyard Pinot is impressive (i.e. I was surprised at how good it was). Aromatic light berry notes lead into juicy raspberry fruit and substantial, almost fuzzy-feeling tannins. That's fuzzy in a good way, I should note.

2004 B Cellars Blend 24 ($36) B Cellars is an interesting new negociant project, sourcing Napa fruit to make some very engaging wines, among them this blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah. It's very forward and fruity, round and plummy with some strawberry notes as well, but the tannins hold it all together. As our indefatigable wine department assistant Megan Krigbaum remarked,  "It really wants you to be its friend." You will really want to be its friend, too, so that works out rather nicely, don't you think?


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