Anglim ‘Cameo’ 2010

CENTRAL COAST | CALIFORNIA | $24
Pear and white grape with notes of grapefruit, jasmine and stony minerals. Delicately flavored, slightly floral and balanced with intricate interplay between fruit, soil and acidity. Very easy drinking. But no small-roll performer, she; we have a player, albeit one less recognized. 48% Grenache Blanc, 47% Viognier, 5% Rousanne. A good wine and a real value. (Reviewed 8/10/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Vigonier | Rousanne | Marsanne

Ken Brown Pinot Noir 2011

SANTA RITA HILLS | CALIFORNIA | $42
Black cherry and purple plum with notes of blackberry, forest floor, cola, cacao and graphite. Medium bodied, lush but not racey, complex and well balanced with a silky smooth texture. The beauty is the restraint. Every sublime note adds to the whole. It’s the composer here, not the musicians, showing mastery — a symphony not an orchestra. Sourced from Rio Vista, Rita’s Crown and La Rinconada Vineyards. A very, very good, near excellent wine. (Reviewed 8/10/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Joseph Swan Pinot Noir Saralee’s Vineyard 2010

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $39
Raspberry, cranberry and and mature strawberry fruit with rhubarb, cedar and a faint, pleasant hint of mineral spirits. Light bodied but quite cloudy — a visual putoff for some; however, not this reviewer. Finishes bright and tart, complimenting fat- and protein-rich foods. Present tannins bring structure, and there’s a nice chamois-like texture with some tooth. But it’s the fruit, and the accompanying acidity, that rule the day. Unassuming, perhaps forgettable by appearance, but oh what expression — she can sing — Susan Boyle definitely has talent. A very good wine. (Reviewed 8/10/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Tablas Creek ‘Cotes de Tablas’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $35
Purple plum and black cherry fruit up front followed by notes of licorice, violets and toasted sesame. Nicely textured with a slight tooth, medium bodied with an off-dry finish that lingers. A rich wine with restraint, altogether satisfying, full of flavor, thoughtful and still easy to approach. Not merely a book, but a transcendent novel with complexity and prose to suffice the literati yet accessibile for the everyday bibliophile — ah, Hemingway. Grenache 46%, Syrah 39%, Mourvèdre 10%, Counoise 5%. A very good wine. (Reviewed 8/3/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

Williams Selyem Pinot Noir 2006

SONOMA COAST | CALIFORNIA | $46
Superbly integrated with subtle boysenberry, cherry and mature, nearly overripe strawberry, and notes of cedar, moist earth and cola. Complex fruit and savory notes neatly interweave, producing a fabric of inseparable flavors. Velvety texture gently massages the palate and natural acidity adds buoyancy. She’s mature, yet vivacious as ever, with a joie de vivre many, perhaps years younger, openly envy. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 8/3/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Baileyana Pinot Noir ‘La Entrada’ 2012

EDNA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $33
Blackberry and purple plum with complex flavors of tar, caramel, Mission fig, bay and forest floor. Medium bodied, muscular and deep — a fairly big Pinot but well balanced with nice fruit and soil integration and refreshing highlights. A real man without a need to prove it — it’s what George Clooney has all over, say Arnold Schwarzenegger. A very good wine. (Reviewed 7/27/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Foxen Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU 2008

SANTA MARIA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $32
Nectarine, guava and Meyer lemon with flavors of chervil, jasmine, oak, stone minerals and a hint of grapefruit. Viscous and lush, blanketing the palate with complex fruit, then revealing herbal, floral and mineral flavors, and finishing with a happy perk of acidity and lingering tartness. A regal one, she, bejeweled and adorned with the best of the court, graceful among all, and blessed to be full of personality and wicked smart — ever so the surprise when she delivers that bawdy repartee. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/27/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Chardonnay

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary 2012

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $70
Rich, ripe blueberry and purple plum with complex notes of licorice, cacao, graphite, tar and bay. A big Cab, inky, with a powerful nose and robust, meaty palate-lingering flavors, exceptional balance and integration. Classic, true to its roots, delivers as expected, always a crowd pleaser — Mick, Keith and the boys have nothing on this one. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/20/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Longoria Tempranillo 2010

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $36
Bing cherry with a hit of blackberry and notes of orange peel, caramel, redwood and smoke. Light-medium bodied, full flavored, well integrated and nice fruit-savory balance with easy tannins. Dances playfully on the palate, delivers complex flavors, and satisfies. As good as it gets for a California Tempranillo. A joy to drink, a really happy wine, and isn’t it just fun to say “Tempranillo”? An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/20/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Spanish Varietals

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose NV

ALSASE | FRANCE | $19
Delicate strawberry, raspberry and pear — quite light — with notes of vanilla cream, caramel and citrus peel. Beautifully salmon pink with exquisite bubbles that dance on and on. Refreshing and light, yet full of flavor. It’s that magic of one’s first taste on cotton candy; ooh what a thrill — and the magic and joy of a lighter-than-air concoction. 100% Pinot Noir. A very good wine and a great value. (reviewed 7/13/14)

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Filed under $20 and less, France, Sparkling Wine