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The Weekly Dozen - Mezcal Kickers

The wines and spirits in this week dozen bring back a lot of memories – drinking fino sherry every afternoon decades ago at a London hotel bar while waiting for a break in the weather, having a taxi driver in Mexico City drive into the countryside to look for native agave – pulque – and being on leisurely reporting trips to Napa back when you didn’t risk your life making a left turn on Highway 29.

Millennials, whom we sometimes discuss in columns like these as though they were clueless children, are said to value experience over possessions. Fair enough.  But the search to possess an interesting bottle of wine or spirits is often an adventure in itself.

2018 El Coto Verdejo Rioja ($13). Pleasing clean green flavors with a touch of creaminess in the finish.

2017 The Prisoner “Blindfold” California White Wine ($29). Blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier and Muscat, it has a fine structure with orange and light cinnamon flavors and nice bitters edges.

2017 The Prisoner “The Snitch” Napa Valley Chardonnay ($29). Good fruit concentration that is nicely assertive and neither buttery nor austere. Apples and a hint of cloves – quite nice.

2018 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Picpoul Blanc ($31). In addition to making great Rhone-style blends, Tablas also makes some interesting varietals from the South of France – this one complex with green flavors, savory notes and a spicy finish.

NV Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco ($16). Lovely, spicy, rhubarb and strawberry flavors – a wine to sip in the hammock in the summer, a rocking chair in the winter.

2016 Enrique Mendoza “La Tremenda” Monastrell Alicante ($12). A Spanish name for Mourvedre – tart red berry flavors, a little creaminess, mild tannins.

NV Château de Saint Cosme “Little James Basket Press” Vin de France ($13). Lively and racy, with tart raspberry flavors and dried herbs in the finish.

2015 Castoro Cellars “Zinfusion” Paso Robles Reserve Zinfandel ($22). Fruit-forward, sweetish, red fruity with a bit of an attitude and good acidity.

2016 Tablas Creek “Esprit de Tablas” Paso Robles Red Wine ($60). Delicious, mainly a Mourvedre-Syrah-Grenache blend with vibrant, tangy, red fruits and excellent length and closing acidity.

NV Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino en Rama ($19). A favorite for many years, here unfiltered and unfined, every time I taste its crisp, nutty, minerally flavors I wonder why I don’t drink it more often.

Mezcales de Leyenda Guerrero ($80/750 ml). Mez(s)cals revel in the piercing smells and tastes of raw agave, a bit like cooked celery, and its aromatic oils, but this one and its companion below are smooth and easy to drink. 45% alcohol.

Mezcales de Leyenda Puebla ($85/750 ml). From a different terroir, this one is smokier, a little sweeter tasting and a little more layered in its flavors. 47% alcohol.


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

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