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April 2014

Our Monthly Newsletter
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It is not so long ago, about forty-five years and counting, going back to the reformation of the California wine scene, when there were no wines called Merlot or Cabernet Franc, and most of the wine called Sauvignon Blanc was sweet and soft. Bordeaux grapes had yet to make their marks here. By the late 1960s, the big changes in California brought us increasing swaths of Cabernet Sauvignon, a dry style of Sauvignon Blanc often attributed to Robert Mondavi, the first Merlot plantings and then, in the decades that followed, the less well-followed Bordelais reds of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

There is a reason why so much of what is stored in our cellars consists of Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings. Not only was it the first and foremost collectible in California when we started our cellars, but it tastes good and ages well. Admittedly, today's Bordeaux and California Cabernet-based wines are riper and richer than their decades-old counterparts, but they remain among the most cellarable offerings around.

The talk back then was about what the newly planted Merlots were going to do for our Cabernet Sauvignons. But a funny thing happened on the way to the fermenter, Merlot turned out to have a nice, rich, friendly personality on its own.

We may not have much of it in California vineyards, and what we have very often gets blended into Cabernet Sauvignon, but this grape has structure and character and is worth trying for a nicely differing variation on the theme.

Be on the lookout for Sauvignon Blancs from 2012, especially those made in lighter, fresher styles because they have succeeded in this vintage in ways that makes them one of the great successes of the year.

Once again, Best Buys brings you a collection of carefully selected wines that please the palate and are easy on the wallet. In this Issue, we focus on Chardonnay, Syrah and Petite Sirah.

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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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