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April 2018

Our Monthly Newsletter
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Cabernet Sauvignon and its red Bordelaise cousins share the spotlight in April, and what has proven to be a remarkable parade of fine vintages shows no signs of slowing. While there is no dearth of collectable offerings reviewed in this issue, there is also an uncommonly high number of noteworthy values that remind good examples of these varieties can be enjoyed on a regular basis and need not be looked at as wines to reserve solely for special occasions.

Last April, we expressed our excitement at the state of local Cabernet as the 2014 vintage completed a trifecta of first-rate harvests, and now, a year later, our enthusiasm has only grown with the arrival of the 2015s. We do not know how long the extraordinary string of successes will last, but we are not about to complain about the remarkable bounty of exceptionally fine versions from which to choose.

Merlot appears to be making a long-overdue comeback, and, as long-time fans of the grape, we could not be more pleased as a new generation of discerning wine drinkers is discovering just how inviting and downright delicious attentively made Merlot can be.

Cabernet Franc has taken on a degree of heretofore unseen seriousness over the last several years and has become an increasingly important player in California's portfolio of fine wines. The current crop is as good as any we can recall.

Malbec has taken on international significance thanks to Argentina, and, with each passing vintage, more and more local vintners are discovering that this variety can make attractive wines with a uniquely Californian voice.

Principally employed as a grape that contributes color and tannic muscle to Bordeaux-inspired blends hereabouts, Petit Verdot is slowly attracting attention from a handful of producers who are rethinking its place as a stand-alone variety.

For some time now, we have argued that the Rhône varieties are deserving of notice for both quality and fine value, and this latest edition of Best Buys features wines made from Syrah, Grenache and Viognier that emphatically make just that point.

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