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October 2019

Our Monthly Newsletter
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Not that we do not love good Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, but, as they say, variety is the spice of life, and this month's collection of Merlots, Syrahs, Cabernet Francs, Sangioveses and Barberas serves as a far-reaching reminder that there are more than a few interesting and utterly delicious red wines from which to choose.


Good Merlot has long been an important member of California's collection of world-class wines, and, though its reputation suffered when the market overflowed with lesser bottlings, its star is ascendant and shining brightly once again.

Not long ago, Cabernet Franc was looked at as being little more than a part-time player in Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends, but it is showing new life in California as a variety ready to take a starring role on its own.

We have long thought that Syrah was likely to become one of California's great red wines, and the current roster of very impressive new offerings confirms that our optimism was not misplaced.

Local Sangiovese had its fifteen minutes of fame some thirty years back then quickly lapsed into near-obscurity as the winds of fashion shifted, but it is now quietly making a resurgence with a number of tasty examples as proof.

Barbera has a long history in California, and, while there have occasionally been very good examples to be found, there are far more today than ever before, and the time is right to discover just how satisfying well-made Barbera can be.

As October's lengthy list of Riesling and Chenin Blanc bargains attests, these underappreciated aromatic white wines provide some of the very best varietal values around, and they are joined this month by a handful of recommended, very affordable Chardonnays.

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