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September 2021

Our Monthly Newsletter
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The roster of fine, high-quality West Coast wines does not stop with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay by any means, and varieties that more often quietly wait in the wings get their chance to move to center stage in this month's issue.

Riesling's devotees may be fewer in number than the legions of fans commanded by other, more popular varieties, but they are an especially loyal and vocal bunch, and, as our latest look at Riesling once again attests, there are very good reasons why they should be heard.

No more than one or two exposures to good Gewürztraminer will usually win it new admirers as it is an altogether uniquely singular wine that is as aromatically inviting as they come.

Chenin Blanc's heyday in California may admittedly lie in the past, but very fine bottlings still can be found, and it is not a big reach to argue that the very best are better than ever.

Pinot Gris, whether going by its French or Italian name, is one of the hottest tickets in town, and there is an abundance of very affordable, well-made examples to be had. Some are meant for simple quaffing and others aim for a bit more seriousness.

Great and even very good wines can achieve remarkable beauty with time, and, though most Pinot Noir may not have the stuff to warrant decades of waiting, they can, with patience, accrue extra interest and hold up as well or better than many might think.

Malbec has gotten new attention in recent years, owing in some part to the efforts of Argentina, and it appears that California's vintners are making significant contributions to its rising reputation with some remarkably good, home-grown examples.

The jury is out as to whether or not Petit Verdot will ever occupy more than a small niche in California's portfolio of serious red wines, but there are a handful of wineries that see promise in its ability to produce substantial, solidly built wines with real aging potential.

Barbera is not new to California, but we cannot recall a time when so many producers were looking at it with so serious an eye, and those, in particular, who are working with Barbera grown in the Sierra Foothills are making good on its promise of producing memorable wines.

Good Cabernet Sauvignon rarely comes cheap, but that does not mean that tasty examples are always prohibitively expensive, and the September installment of Best Buys testifies to that fact. Fine buys in Sauvignon Blanc are also featured, as are four, high-achieving, multiple-star-rated Syrahs that are priced for drinking without breaking the monthly budget.

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