2015 Laissez Faire Red

2015 Laissez Faire Red

88 points Medium ruby with youthful red fruits and Red Vine aromas giving way to a pinch of cardamom. The soft, mid-light palate has but a trace of tannin followed by moderate acidity. A no fuss, no frills wine. (MW, February 2017) Price $16 Varietal: Red Blend Region: Snake River Valley AVA Alcohol: 14.1% Producer: Cinder

Get Schooled

Get Schooled

Perhaps you’ve recently had an “Aha!” wine—the swirl, sniff, and sip that paused the spinning world. Maybe you’ve long ago fallen down the wine rabbit hole, and then started following the wine event calendars at your local wine shops. Or maybe you have ten years of wine geekery under your belt, and have participated in a monthly wine tasting group for a few years, where you endeavor to explore a specific varietal or region each gathering. Regardless of your experience level, take another…

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2013 Château Buisson-Redon Bordeaux

2013 Château Buisson-Redon Bordeaux

83 points Medium ruby with Old World charm in the form of slate, dried herbs, fresh raspberry, and an echo of leather. With moderate alcohol, the medium-minus body gives way to firm, underripe tannins and a tart finish. (MW, January 2017) Price $10 Varietal: Red Blend Region: Bordeaux Alcohol: 12.5%

2014 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

2014 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

88 points Juicy and plush with plum and spiced blueberry. Fine, ripe tannins contain a gentle string of acidity through the chewy core. A dusting of cocoa powder adds to the palate. A crowd pleaser, though falling short on dimensionality. Drink now—2020. (MW, January 2017) Price $24 Varietal: Red Blend (Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Blaufrankisch, and Malbec) Region: Columbia Valley, WA Alcohol: 14.1% Producer: Owen Roe

2012 Luna Beberide Art

2012 Luna Beberide Art

92 points Medium violet with compelling aromas of slate, spiced blueberry, anise, and mint followed by a wisp of smoked jerky, adding allure. With svelte body, a density of flavor persists, followed by unflagging, gravelly tannins. A stimulating experience. Still wound tightly. Drink now—2022+. (MW, December 2016) Price $55 Varietal: Mencía Region: Bierzo, Spain Alcohol: 14%

2012 Avalon Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Avalon Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

88 points Dense purple with glass staining power. Plush plum declaratively takes center-stage, while a hint of raspberry and graphite linger in the background. Medium-plus in body with medium acidity, and firm, fine-grained tannins. Black cherry and barrel spice on the palate give way to a slightly misaligned finish, with alcohol overstaying its welcome. (MW, December 2016) Price $20 Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation: Napa Valley Alcohol: 14.5%

The Sandbox

The Sandbox

“He walked in, pulled out a roll of hundreds, and flipped me two,” gnarled the no-nonsense owner of a boutique wine shop. He had been paid by the largest distributor in the state for bringing in ten cases of wine. This is illegal. In his case, a customer requested the cases for a special event—he had no intention of stacking* them in his store. In fact, he thought the wine was shit. He also didn’t know he’d get the payout. From the perspective of…

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In-smell

In-smell

I have a bias. I’ve long held this inclination, but have recently worked to expand my awareness. New in . . . sight has affirmed my bias—no more shame. I care way more about the aromatics of a wine than any other factor. From the nose we can gauge nuance, complexity, layers, intrigue, depth, density, purity, specific aromas. . . you get the point. However, as a rather new industry-insider, many around me have emphasized the importance of wine’s texture and mouthfeel. Why?…

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Tasting the Bella Vida

Tasting the Bella Vida

Three wines. Each providing a thumbprint and insight into a winemaker’s style. All under one roof. A tour of the Willamette Valley typically provides the curious connoisseur an experience with Pinot Noir, soils and AVA variations, winemaking style, and brand image. The preeminent role of site, however, leaves the taster wondering what effect the winemaker had in comparison to the plot of land and farming that raised the grapes. Enter Bella Vida Vineyard. Located in the rust-hued hills of Dundee,…

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How to Lose a Sale

How to Lose a Sale

Step one: Pull the cork on your winery’s award-winning Pinot Noir. Step two: Fail to test the wine for flaws prior to pouring or test the wine and fail to notice flaws. Step three: Pour two-thirds of the bottle to other tasting room guests (title shift, “How to Lose a Silly Number of Sales”). Step four: Pour award-winning wine, while gloating over the award. Step five: Fail to acknowledge a flaw (cork taint, aka TCA) when guest, backed by group of four other tasters,…

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