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Tasting Great Wines, Tough Job, Yeah Right!

I must say it is a blessing to be able to taste these wines and I remain thankful not jaded for this pleasure. This week has been a real joy I must say, as I was invited to taste some fantastic wines. I was in the company of some very interesting people, like Gary Pisoni, Pisoni Vineyards and Winery and Jeff Fink, winemaker for Tantara Winery, both of which shine the light on the Pinot Noir grape and have help shape the market for Pinot Noir with world class wines. We tasted Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir from vintages 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and Jeff Fink previewed his Pisoni Vineyard from Tantara for the up coming release of 2006! All these were amazing, as well as some Garys’ Vineyard Pinots from Pisoni’s Lucia label and Tantara, which again proved what a great region the Santa Lucia Highlands are for Pinot Noir. It was tough to pick a favorite, but I must say the 2004 Pisoni Pinot Noir Estate, 95 Points & the 2006 Tantara Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard (Pre-Release, from magnum, due out in March 2008) 96 Points, both were fantastic and dramatic Pinots, which topped in my notes. Then from totally around the world another Pinot Noir caught my attention, an Austrian version! An outstanding wine, the 2005 Loimer Pinot Noir from near the beautiful blue Danube, this was ripe, lush and rich in fruit with pretty cherry, grenadine, strawberry and red plum flavors that just exploded on the palate. This wine will be a secret favorite, as it will be almost impossible to find even though it was only about $40 retail est. I gave it 93-94 Points. Apart from Pinot, I have tasted some Zinfandel & Cabernet from Ridge Vineyards, liking them very much, especially the 2005 Ridge Geysersville California (Zinfandel) 40th Vintage, Sonoma County. ($33 Est.) 92 Points, and the 2004 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Red (Cabernet Sauvignon) California. ($35-40) 91 Points. These were classic and will be loved anytime and anywhere! Finally, I was able to try the 2005 Robert-Denogent Pouilly-Fuisse(s) from Kermit Lynch, the “Cuvee Claude” & the “Les Reisses” both of which were stunning and would easily compete with Grand Cru White Burgundies! This guy can make Chardonnay with the best of them, no question and at a remarkable price too! These two bottlings rated at 94-95 Points and sell for around $40-45 Est. each. Enjoy!

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