**UPDATE** Tasting Notes

Latest entries include two superb New York State rieslings, a beautiful rosé from the south of France, and four special reds from Italy, California, and the Basque Country. Cheers!

WHITE 7/10/12  2009 Ravines Dry Riesling Argetsinger Vineyard, Finger Lakes (12.5% abv., $29.95, Empire Wines NYS): A pale green-gold wine with a clean nose filled with mint, apples, pears and a smoky minerality that almost seems like gunpowder. Intense mouthful of acid and fruit with the palate mimicking the nose almost exactly. Conclusion: balanced, bright, crisp. Screams for oysters. Wonderful, smoky depth. Just wish it was a bit less expensive.

RED 7/31/12  2009 Gorrondona Bizkaiko Txakolina, Basque Country (121% abv., $30, Paul Marcus Wines): Wine lovers who are familiar with white txakoli from Northern Spain are often surprised to learn the wine comes in red and rosé as well. This simple wine with its telltale effervescence offers aromas of red fruit and damp earth with just a hint of salinity. For a wine of only 12% abv it has more going on in the mouth than expected, with flavors of black cherry and a smoky earthiness. Has enough spine to pair nicely with grilled ribeyes. Conclusion: not your average low-alcohol quaffer. Worth pursuing if you want to spice up your wine life.

RED 8/22/12  2010 Hirsch Vineyards “The Bohan-Dillon” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast (13/1% abv., $35, Paul Marcus Wines): A light ruby color with a pink corona, this elegant pinot is aromatic with tones of raspberry syrup and mushrooms, damp earth and herbs. First tastes seem to reveal a pinot that is almost too light, but the wine seems to gain body and structure as it opens up. Long finish. Conclusion: this is a light, balanced, well-made wine that has the acid and fruit to reward cellaring.

PINK 9/2/12  2010 Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cru Classe, Cotes du Provence (13% abv., $24, Paul Marcus): This rosé, the color of shiny new pennies has way more going on than most pink wines, with aromas of white flowers and strawberries, dominated by crisp, wet stones.  On the palate berries and cantaloupe mingle with an earthy minerality. Conclusion: greater than the sum of its parts, with great depth and complexity and a beautiful lingering finish. A special wine.

WHITE 9/12/12  2010 Herman J. Weimer Reserve Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes (12% abv., $26.99, Empire State Cellars): From one of the giants of the increasingly impressive Finger Lakes region, this riesling is a brilliant straw gold in the glass, its clean nose redolent with notes of pear, talc, honeysuckle and wet stones. Flavors mimic the nose, with added hints of grapefruit. Conclusion: an intense, complex, balanced wine with pronounced flavors and aromas. If you like riesling this is one not to miss.

RED 9/13/12  2003 Boasso Barolo Margheria, Langhe, Piedmont (14% abv., $29.99, Du Vin Fine Wines): Ruby core and rose rim with a bit of sediment, this wine gives off aromas of tar, damp earth, vanilla, meat, and hints of roses. A powerful wine whose fine, mouth-coating tannins provide a solid structure for a tart, herbaceous, and savory flavor profile. Conclusion: will continue endure in the cellar because of its acid and tannin levels but what fruit is there will continue do dissipate. Only a few more years before this is over the hill.

RED 9/23/12  2001 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (14.5% abv., $75, Alameda Babe Ruth auction item): A deep garnet to purple color, almost opaque, this is an intense wine with youthful aromas of cherries, chocolate, sweet spice, and oak. Lean and elegant in the mouth, filled with flavors of cherry cola, cassis, and chocolate syrup, all backed up with fine, integrated tannins. Conclusion: This is a well-made, delicious wine the several more years of life left in the bottle. If only we had another to enjoy down the road.

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