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September 2015

Our Monthly Newsletter
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New Zinfandels and Chardonnays get a look this month, but first we wander a bit off the beaten path and focus on the underappreciated family of aromatic white wines. Although local Pinot Gris has made inroads to the market of late, Riesling gets far less attention than it deserves and Chenin Blanc and Gewurztraminer have become fringe players at best. These varieties are hardly newcomers, but, as today's wine drinkers restlessly hunt for something beyond the familiar, it might turn out that old is new again.

Most everyone accepts the notion that Riesling is one of the world's greatest white wines, so why does it seem to get so little respect? More than a few of this month's featured wines make a convincing case that it should.

Pinot Gris is firmly positioned as Oregon's signature white wine, and if California may have been late to jump on the bandwagon, it is catching up fast and the number of West Coast offerings continues to grow.

Famous for making vibrant, wonderfully fruity wines in France's Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc is generally viewed with benign neglect these days in California. We cannot say that its fortunes are on the rise hereabouts, but it is, with good reason, getting a new and serious look from at least handful of winemakers.

There are no more than a few local vintners who continue to produce Gewurztraminer, but we are grateful that they have not given up on this exotic, uniquely aromatic wine.

Still our go-to red wine with tomatoey pastas and barbecued meats, Zinfandel also has a more serious side as the top bottlings in this issue prove.

It seems that California Chardonnay has been at the top of its game in the last couple of years, and, as stylistic diversity is becoming the norm, it is hard not to find compelling renditions that will meet every taste.

More than two dozen Cabernet Sauvignons, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs head up this month's lengthy shopping list of enthusiastically recommended good values.

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