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November 2015

Our Monthly Newsletter
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As the days grow shorter and the holidays approach, we once again turn our attention to sparkling wines. This year's comprehensive annual survey of local efforts reveals a bounty of outstanding bottlings from California as well as few standouts from Oregon and New Mexico. As much as we fancy fine sparkling wine, however, one does not live by bubbles alone, and, in this month's issue, we also report on a host of noteworthy new Syrahs and Merlots and a small, but select, lot of high-achieving new Pinot Noirs from Oregon.

California has nothing to prove when it comes to world-class sparkling wines. From luxury cuvées suited to the most special occasions to those priced for more frequent drinking, the number of first-rate efforts is at an all-time high, and it is clear that good just keeps getting better.

Full-flavored Syrah is welcome at our tables throughout the year, but it is a particular favorite with the heartier fare of winter and fall, and this month's roster of new releases includes some of the very best with not-to-be-missed versions hailing from Santa Barbara County, Sonoma and Napa Valley to the more northerly climes of Washington State.

There are still those who refuse to drink any $%&*#! Merlot, but we are most definitely not among them. The variety has proved its resiliency hereabouts and has survived its undeserved fall from fashion. Those who believe that it has nothing to offer are advised to take another look and discover just how good, well-made Merlot can be.

Oregon’s considerable success as a producer of fine wines began with Pinot Noir, and, as this month’s brief survey of a few noteworthy renditions makes clear, there is no question but that the grape has found a most happy home in the Pacific Northwest.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris get the spotlight in the latest installment of our recommended Best Buy and remind that high quality and affordability need not be mutually exclusive.

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    Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
    PO Box V
    Alameda, CA 94501

    Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
    651 Tarryton Isle
    Alameda, CA 94501

Wineries may submit samples (two bottles of each please) to the above address. Please include information about price, cepage, residual sugar, total acidity, pH and production level. Please understand that all wines are tasted blind, often twice, and that we treat samples with the same respect as wines that we purchase at retail.


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