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The Weekly Dozen - Going Bicoastal

The note came from out of the blue, the blue of the Pacific as it turns out.

“First, to reintroduce myself; my name is Rachel Martin and I am the owner of Oceano Wines in San Luis Obispo County. We have met before in relation to my family’s winery, Boxwood Winery in Middleburg VA.”

Indeed we had. Martin’s family, which once owned the Washington Redskins, is one of a group of Virginia winery owners who took the task seriously and who helped make the region as respected as it is today.   Now, she, along with music, film and theater producer Kurt Deutsch, was making wine on the West Coast

“At Oceano, we produce our single vineyard Chardonnay from SIP Certified Spanish Springs Vineyard,” Martin said, “the closest vineyard to the ocean in California.  The extreme maritime climate coupled with a soil combination of limestone, sandstone and shale enable us to create a fresh, lean Chardonnay.”

This week’s Dozen features two vintages of Oceano Chardonnay, along with a four-pack from the much-respected Alejandro Fernández’ Grupo Pesquera and a plum from Flora Springs.

2017 Four Vines “The Form” Edna Valley Chardonnay ($18). The discreet nude photo on the label signals us the wine is an arty, though not expensive, one. It’s an enjoyable, full-bodied wine with apple crumb cake and crème brulée flavors, but is by no means sweet.

2015 Pesquera “Alejairén” La Mancha Airén ($30). Airén is the most-planted white grape that few people outside of Spain have heard about. Here it’s dressed up a bit, bearing mellow and subtle fruit – a good match for poultry dishes in stock or cream.

2016 Oceano San Luis Obispo Chardonnay ($36). Fresh and intense with concentrated flavors of apples, some minerality and a little fresh oak. It’s a big wine on the palate with 15% malolactic fermentation, but certainly not a fat one.

2017 Oceano San Luis Obispo Chardonay ($38). A year later, the new vintage has gained a couple of dollars, but lost the malo, resulting in a leaner, more-refined wine, although still an intense one.

2016 The Federalist Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($17). Fruity and sweety.

2013 Pesquera “El Vínculo” La Mancha ($18). It’s unusual to have a wine at this affordable price aged this long before release. It’s quite pleasurable with ripe fruit flavors accented by mellow barrel notes.

2015 Pesquera “Condado de Haza” Ribera del Duero ($24). A wine with powdery fragrances and tastes of dark cherries, some prominent tannins and a little dark chocolate in the finish.

2017 Donnafugata “Belle’Assai” Vittoria Frappato ($28). Light, bright-fruit Sicilian red with cherry and raspberry flavors and some tangy tannins – an upmarket hamburger and barbecue wine.

2015 Pesquera Ribera del Duero ($35). In an age of excess, Pequera always shows restraint – smooth and harmonious flavors of cherries and savory notes with excellent balance.

2017 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($39). Beautiful, full Pinot flavors of sweet, earthy roots and a little cola.

2016 Flora Springs “Trilogy” Napa Valley Red Wine ($75). A beautiful sippin’ wine with luscious yet disciplined flavors of cassis, black raspberry, creamy chocolate and savory notes, all floating about the palate in layer after layer. No sharp elbows or fat tummies on this wine!

2013 Tamarack “Emerald Release” Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($100). A big wine in more ways than one – the unopened bottle weighs 3 ½ pounds, signally a hefty price – but it is also a very good wine, almost juicy with cherry and blackberry flavors, dusty/raspy tannings and a tight finish. Ready to drink, but you can store it and forget it for a few years more.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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