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The Weekly Dozen - Vive la Difference!

There is an old saying that there is a wine for everyone. When reviewing wines, particularly those that don’t particularly impress the reviewer, we ask a related question, “What person, or what kind of palate, would appreciate this wine?”  With some wines, we may have to struggle to find the answer.

There are quite a few wines we really like in this Dozen, especially the wide variety of the Pinot Noirs. But there are also two or three bottles that you might enjoy more than we do. We hope so. Check them to see if they seem particularly palatable to you.

2017 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier ($17). Usually Viogniers are flavorful and crisp, whether they are sweet or dry. This one has the right flavors, but the body and texture are different, as though the winemaker was seeking something more robust and complex. But it might just be your cup of Viognier.

2019 Chehalem Inox Unoaked Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($19). Very floral flavors of fresh apples and honeycomb – medium body, crisp finish. (Inox is a non-corrosive alloy often used in wine tanks.)

2018 Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Firm apple and greenish kiwi flavors – not complex, but an enjoyable taste.

2018 Tank Garage “Pop Nat” Fiddletown Sparkling Barbera ($36). Yeah, well – From its pop-top seal to its green-herb flavors to its sweet, frizzy pétillance, this comes across as an Emilian Lambrusco wannabe. 

2017 Four Virtues Monterey County Pinot Noir ($25). Some wines have fruit-forward “powdery” flavors that make them seem more put together than completely integrated. This is one of them.

2017 Chehalem “Three Vineyards” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($30). Nice, juicy raspberries and good structure to go along with the fruit.

2017 Oak Farm Lodi Sangiovese ($33). Fruit-forward and rich-textured cherry flavors with some green herbal hints.

2016 The Hilt Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($47). Good richness of flavors – dark cherries and a hint of cola – with a smooth finish.

2016 Lester Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($48). One of those flavorful but light-bodied Pinots in the French tradition, this one with a very enjoyable spicy note in the finish.

2017 Tank Garage “Art of Surfing” Sierra Foothills Red Wine ($50). Very well-made blend of Spanish and Italian varieties – balanced red berry flavors reminiscent of a good Rioja.

NV Tank Garage “Backstage Pass” Napa Valley Red Wine ($55). Big (15.2% alcohol), chewy, floral wine with intense raspberry flavors – not subtle, but satisfying.

2017 ZD “Norman deLeuze Founder’s Reserve” Napa Valley Pinot Noir ($90). Big, flavorful and complex with dark cherry flavors, minerality, hint of balsamic, some tannins, and dried herbs in the finish.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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