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Corkscrew - Halloween sugar rush

Scary attempts mixing wine with candy



It's that time. Halloween tchotchkes pop out of the woodwork, costumed kids beg for candy at your door. Just for fun this year, plop down on a lawn chair with your plastic pumpkin filled with candy, grab a glass of wine and harang the SpongeBob and Monsters Inc. characters passing in the street.

But what to drink with Halloween candy? I can't say this was an easy question to answer, but it was a queasy one. Mixing various candy together with several types of wine in one stomach proved not a job for the diabetic or the weak at heart, but a necessary one to warn readers of the do's and don'ts.

Since there are no traditional guidelines when pairing candy with wine, we started with nothing but ideas and opinions. I didn't think any white wine would complement our selection of candy since white wines have too much acidity to match well with sweeter items. Sauvignon Blanc proved too acidic, but a slightly sweeter, less acidic Chenin Blanc surprised us by matching perfectly with cherry and watermelon Jolly Rancher chews.

You might ask what "matching perfectly" means. When wine and food complement each other, it's like a great couple. No flavor characteristic gets overshadowed by either party, and imperfections are balanced out. For instance, drinking a bold, tannic Cabernet with a salt-seasoned steak creates a wonderful flavor combo, since the salt suppresses the bitterness in the wine, allowing the fruit to show through.

The fruit in the Chardonnay, traditionally a difficult wine to match with food, shimmied up affectionately to the candy corns.

When we delved into the red wines, that's when the fun began. Reese's, with its chocolate and peanut butter coupling, proved the most difficult candy to mate, but the Oregon Pinot Noir came close, as well as the Argentinean Malbec. Mounds, the coconut item for the tasting, loved everything in the lighter red category. The fruity, California Merlot and the French Beaujolais tasted really spectacular with the dark chocolate coating and soft, sweet coconut. Cabernet Sauvignon also liked the dark chocolate of the Mounds.

Snickers was tough, because of the funky peanut addition. Salty peanuts are really best with beer, but add chocolate and "nougat" (whatever the hell that is), and you've got an alcoholic beverage dilemma. The best pairing, which still kinda sucked, was the California Cabernet. Even though the salt in the peanuts helped tame the tannins, the chocolate threw it off. If your candy of choice is Snickers, stick with sparkling wine.

So, if you want to be super-sophisticated in front of the little costumed tots, drink a sparkling wine or Champagne with the treats. The tart sweetness will balance out pretty much any candy — or any dish for that matter — making friends with all parties. The other adults will be wildly jealous as you savor every bite of your caramel-filled Milky Way.

corkscrew@creativeloafing.com


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Recommended Wines:
2001 Callaway Chenin Blanc ($8) Image Image Image Image Image Great value in a slightly sweeter, pineapple aroma wine. Chenin Blanc is a relatively unknown grape rising in popularity because it complements Asian and Indian foods so well. And it's great with Jolly Ranchers.

2001 Georges DuBoeuf Regnie ($14) Image Image Image Image Image Bigger than most Beaujolais and boasting more alcohol than most. Light on the tongue with plenty of cherry fruit and fun. This wine was a Mounds pleaser.

2000 Barnwood Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) Image Image Image Image Image The only way to describe this beautifully luscious wine is sexy. Big cherry flavor with a few tannins to bite back. It loves dark chocolate. Amazing value.??





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Article

Wednesday September 2, 2009 04:00 am EDT

This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, itís soft íní elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. 5 stars.  

Available by the bottle at 4th and Swift in...

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  string(3878) "This week, life threw a massive curve ball at Creative Loafing Media. Taken over by the NYC-based hedge fund to whom we owed a ton of money, each employee processed the news in a different way: sadness, optimism, relief. Me? I got shit-faced. On great wine. I figured if my family’s legacy is going down, I should consume voluminous amounts of quality juice. Fast. However, the questioned remained … which ones? So many choices, so little time to race and get to the promised land.

Obviously, I needed something high in alcohol. These sorts of wines emerge from hot areas, where the grapes grow fat with sugar and the resulting wine has more punch (sugar converts to alcohol in fermentation). Napa, Sonoma, Barossa Valley (Australia), Washington State (yes, there are areas where it isn’t miserably rainy), and a host of other delicious choices for the perfect Zen state of non-thought.
  
For this life-changing bender, I choice Barossa. And rosé. Turkey Flat Rosé, that is. I found it for $34 by the bottle at Mise en Place, one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, poured by one of my favorite sommeliers, Dave Madera. You see, it helps to be surrounded by your faves when the universe launches piles of steamy dogpoop at you.
  
No, I didn’t reach for the older vintages in my cellar (aged French Burgundies, Bordeaux, Italian reds), since I wasn’t celebrating, simply trying to ease the last 11 months out of my memory. I wanted comfy, casual friends around me in my time of need, not an austere, thought-provoking conversation. Rosé fit my bill — and Turkey Flat doesn’t send me to evil hangover land.

After Dave twisted the screwcap, the soft, fuzzy sensation descended within moments. Sipping wine is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open sky night — the sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, the shoulders relax, the vision gets a bit blurred, and I transition to an intensely mellow, floaty, smiley attitude. My belly warms to the occasion.

I’m at peace.  

An Interesting Tidbit … 

I’m announcing the beta launch of my new personal website, tayloreason.com. Within its wine-soaked webpages, you’ll find archives of all my columns, wine reviews from the last three years (any older than that you probably won’t find on the shelves, so why tease?), random trivia, local wine event listings, my Ramblings blog, and plenty more wine stuff like my consulting business. Coming soon: downloadable-to-cell-phone wine reviews so you can take them to the store with you, vinopedia (wine FAQ), and wine travel suggestions. 

Hell, and anything else I dream up — it’s a process. Check it out! The first five people to register for tayloreason.com win two glasses of personally selected wines on me at their favorite wine bar or restaurant. 

Recommended Wines 

Turkey Flat 2007 Rosé Barossa Valley (Australia) This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, it’s soft ’n’ elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. 5 stars. 
 
Tormaresca 2007 Neprica Puglia (Italy) A tasty, unique wine made by the esteemed Antinori family in Puglia, the heel of the boot. It’s a blend of unfamiliar grapes negroamaro and primitivo (a cousin of zinfandel) with a strong dose of cabernet sauvignon. One word describes it: robust. Dark fruit like blackberries and plum rub up against earthy leather and bittersweet chocolate. Relatively supple tannins and bright acidity make it a great value food wine. Sw=1. $9. 3.5 stars. 

Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5. Reach Taylor at taylor.eason at cln.com, on Twitter @tayloreason, and on Facebook."
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Obviously, I needed something high in alcohol. These sorts of wines emerge from hot areas, where the grapes grow fat with sugar and the resulting wine has more punch (sugar converts to alcohol in fermentation). Napa, Sonoma, Barossa Valley (Australia), Washington State (yes, there are areas where it isn’t miserably rainy), and a host of other delicious choices for the perfect Zen state of non-thought.
  
For this life-changing bender, I choice Barossa. And rosé. Turkey Flat Rosé, that is. I found it for $34 by the bottle at Mise en Place, one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, poured by one of my favorite sommeliers, Dave Madera. You see, it helps to be surrounded by your faves when the universe launches piles of steamy dogpoop at you.
  
No, I didn’t reach for the older vintages in my cellar (aged French Burgundies, Bordeaux, Italian reds), since I wasn’t celebrating, simply trying to ease the last 11 months out of my memory. I wanted comfy, casual friends around me in my time of need, not an austere, thought-provoking conversation. Rosé fit my bill — and Turkey Flat doesn’t send me to evil hangover land.

After Dave twisted the screwcap, the soft, fuzzy sensation descended within moments. Sipping wine is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open sky night — the sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, the shoulders relax, the vision gets a bit blurred, and I transition to an intensely mellow, floaty, smiley attitude. My belly warms to the occasion.

I’m at peace.  

__An Interesting Tidbit … __

I’m announcing the beta launch of my new personal website, tayloreason.com. Within its wine-soaked webpages, you’ll find archives of all my columns, wine reviews from the last three years (any older than that you probably won’t find on the shelves, so why tease?), random trivia, local wine event listings, my Ramblings blog, and plenty more wine stuff like my consulting business. Coming soon: downloadable-to-cell-phone wine reviews so you can take them to the store with you, vinopedia (wine FAQ), and wine travel suggestions. 

Hell, and anything else I dream up — it’s a process. Check it out! The first five people to register for tayloreason.com win two glasses of personally selected wines on me at their favorite wine bar or restaurant. 

__Recommended Wines __

__Turkey Flat 2007 Rosé Barossa Valley__ (Australia) This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, it’s soft ’n’ elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. ''__5 stars__''. 
 
__Tormaresca 2007 Neprica Puglia__ (Italy) A tasty, unique wine made by the esteemed Antinori family in Puglia, the heel of the boot. It’s a blend of unfamiliar grapes negroamaro and primitivo (a cousin of zinfandel) with a strong dose of cabernet sauvignon. One word describes it: robust. Dark fruit like blackberries and plum rub up against earthy leather and bittersweet chocolate. Relatively supple tannins and bright acidity make it a great value food wine. Sw=1. $9. ''__3.5 stars__''. 

''Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5. Reach Taylor at taylor.eason@cln.com, on Twitter @tayloreason, and on Facebook.''"
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Obviously, I needed something high in alcohol. These sorts of wines emerge from hot areas, where the grapes grow fat with sugar and the resulting wine has more punch (sugar converts to alcohol in fermentation). Napa, Sonoma, Barossa Valley (Australia), Washington State (yes, there are areas where it isn’t miserably rainy), and a host of other delicious choices for the perfect Zen state of non-thought.
  
For this life-changing bender, I choice Barossa. And rosé. Turkey Flat Rosé, that is. I found it for $34 by the bottle at Mise en Place, one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, poured by one of my favorite sommeliers, Dave Madera. You see, it helps to be surrounded by your faves when the universe launches piles of steamy dogpoop at you.
  
No, I didn’t reach for the older vintages in my cellar (aged French Burgundies, Bordeaux, Italian reds), since I wasn’t celebrating, simply trying to ease the last 11 months out of my memory. I wanted comfy, casual friends around me in my time of need, not an austere, thought-provoking conversation. Rosé fit my bill — and Turkey Flat doesn’t send me to evil hangover land.

After Dave twisted the screwcap, the soft, fuzzy sensation descended within moments. Sipping wine is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open sky night — the sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, the shoulders relax, the vision gets a bit blurred, and I transition to an intensely mellow, floaty, smiley attitude. My belly warms to the occasion.

I’m at peace.  

An Interesting Tidbit … 

I’m announcing the beta launch of my new personal website, tayloreason.com. Within its wine-soaked webpages, you’ll find archives of all my columns, wine reviews from the last three years (any older than that you probably won’t find on the shelves, so why tease?), random trivia, local wine event listings, my Ramblings blog, and plenty more wine stuff like my consulting business. Coming soon: downloadable-to-cell-phone wine reviews so you can take them to the store with you, vinopedia (wine FAQ), and wine travel suggestions. 

Hell, and anything else I dream up — it’s a process. Check it out! The first five people to register for tayloreason.com win two glasses of personally selected wines on me at their favorite wine bar or restaurant. 

Recommended Wines 

Turkey Flat 2007 Rosé Barossa Valley (Australia) This refreshing rosé blend made from grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and dolcetto (an Italian grape) smells like sweet, perfumey fruit. On the tongue, it’s soft ’n’ elegant, with cranberry, sweet cherry, ripe strawberries and fresh, lively acidity. Quite perfect, really. Perfect for any occasion, even happy ones. Sw= 2. $17 retail. 5 stars. 
 
Tormaresca 2007 Neprica Puglia (Italy) A tasty, unique wine made by the esteemed Antinori family in Puglia, the heel of the boot. It’s a blend of unfamiliar grapes negroamaro and primitivo (a cousin of zinfandel) with a strong dose of cabernet sauvignon. One word describes it: robust. Dark fruit like blackberries and plum rub up against earthy leather and bittersweet chocolate. Relatively supple tannins and bright acidity make it a great value food wine. Sw=1. $9. 3.5 stars. 

Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5. Reach Taylor at taylor.eason at cln.com, on Twitter @tayloreason, and on Facebook.             13030460 1283053                          Corkscrew - Get your drunk on "
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Wednesday September 2, 2009 04:00 am EDT
What to do during life transitions | more...
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Wednesday August 26, 2009 04:00 am EDT
My first Wineries that Wow entry is Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, a family-run business that has finally turned a corner. I haven't been impressed with them in years, until I tried this fantastic pinot noir from their estate vineyards. Elegant with lush, dark cherry earthiness, excellent tart acidity and ripe plum with a flirty, sweet raspberry and strawberry finish. Luscious and worth the... | more...
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  string(3905) "When I was a kid, I compared myself to everyone. One teacher called me “other-directed” and it wasn’t until my twenties that I realized that wasn’t a glowing compliment. I carried a bit of this into adulthood, and perhaps it shows up in my voyeuristic sneak peeks at what wine drinkers are sipping. As a wine writer, it’s good to have my sights on the scene, so I ask bars, restaurants and wine retail shops from time to time to reveal what you’re drinking. 

It appears that you guys, after an anything-but-chardonnay run, are migrating back to this classic white. Rathbun’s in Atlanta sees plenty of action in its Edna Valley Chardonnay. But co-owner Cliff Bramble reports an educated price variance in what people are choosing — in the under-$40-per-bottle category, people order a “chardonnay,” whereas in the upper price tier, customers request selections from specific wine regions — aka AVAs — like Carneros or Russian River. Same goes for other varietals like pinot noir or malbec, as in the delicious Terrazas Malbec from Argentina they pour by the glass. 

Vinocity Wine Bar in Atlanta constantly scours for quality, underpriced wines. Owner Ian Smith’s best sellers are Poppy Pinot Noir, Plungerhead Zin, Bloom Gewurztraminer and one of my favorites, Quivira Sauvignon Blanc. Looking pretty good there. 


In Tampa, Fla., Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits and Mise en Place Restaurant echo the chardonnay boon but also report an upsurge in rosé wine love. Kevin Pelley from Bern’s Fine Wines hopes, “Maybe Tampa is only 3 years behind other markets, not five.” Couldn’t come soon enough for this girl — regular readers of this column know my passion for the pink. 

The trends bode well, folks — keep drinking. 


Wineries That Wow

I’d like to introduce a new, semi-regular addition to my weekly Corkscrew column: Wineries That Wow. In this short segment, I’ll take an impressive/interesting/ground-breaking/cool winery and give you the lowdown on why you should like them too. This episode features Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, operated by the Cuneo Family for over 100 years in Sonoma County, Calif. I wanted to give these guys some props since I think they’ve finally turned a corner. For as long as I’ve been a wine writer (8 years) their wine has wallowed in mediocrity, but a couple recent sips of chardonnay and a pinot noir turned my frown upside down. 

The Cuneos recently completed construction of a new winery and maybe that has made the difference for Mark Lyon, Sebastiani’s winemaker for 30 years. He works with grapes sourced from all over Sonoma — one locale is the impressive and expansive Dutton Ranch — as well as 250 estate-owned acres in the cool-climate Carneros region where pinot noir and chardonnay love life. It’s from that delicious fruit that Mark crafts the eye-opening pinot I tasted. Hopefully all their wines will continue to improve, especially after a recent cash infusion from new owners, Foley Family Wines. Two families making wine together — I like the sound of that.  

Recommended Wines

Sebastiani 2007 Pinot Noir Carneros (California) Elegant with lush, dark cherry earthiness, excellent tart acidity and ripe plum with a flirty, sweet raspberry and strawberry finish. Luscious and worth the price. Sw=1. $28. 4.5 stars. 

Sebastiani 2006 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (California) Creamy and buttery but no overwhelming oak found in inexpensive chardonnays. Instead, tangerine, honeyed almonds, earthy vanilla and apricot rule the sip. Good value. Sw=2. $15. 4 stars. 

Sebastiani 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay Russian River (California) I was initially repelled by the funky opening whiff. But once it warmed in my glass, the true fruity and buttery notes emerged. Less crisp than most unoaked chards, it’s slightly sweet like a lemon bar baked with golden delicious apples. Sw=3. $17. 3 stars."
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It appears that you guys, after an anything-but-chardonnay run, are migrating back to this classic white. Rathbun’s in Atlanta sees plenty of action in its Edna Valley Chardonnay. But co-owner Cliff Bramble reports an educated price variance in what people are choosing — in the under-$40-per-bottle category, people order a “chardonnay,” whereas in the upper price tier, customers request selections from specific wine regions — aka AVAs — like Carneros or Russian River. Same goes for other varietals like pinot noir or malbec, as in the delicious Terrazas Malbec from Argentina they pour by the glass. 

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In Tampa, Fla., Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits and Mise en Place Restaurant echo the chardonnay boon but also report an upsurge in rosé wine love. Kevin Pelley from Bern’s Fine Wines hopes, “Maybe Tampa is only 3 years behind other markets, not five.” Couldn’t come soon enough for this girl — regular readers of this column know my passion for the pink. 

The trends bode well, folks — keep drinking. 


__Wineries That Wow__

I’d like to introduce a new, semi-regular addition to my weekly ''Corkscrew'' column: Wineries That Wow. In this short segment, I’ll take an impressive/interesting/ground-breaking/cool winery and give you the lowdown on why you should like them too. This episode features Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, operated by the Cuneo Family for over 100 years in Sonoma County, Calif. I wanted to give these guys some props since I think they’ve finally turned a corner. For as long as I’ve been a wine writer (8 years) their wine has wallowed in mediocrity, but a couple recent sips of chardonnay and a pinot noir turned my frown upside down. 

The Cuneos recently completed construction of a new winery and maybe that has made the difference for Mark Lyon, Sebastiani’s winemaker for 30 years. He works with grapes sourced from all over Sonoma — one locale is the impressive and expansive Dutton Ranch — as well as 250 estate-owned acres in the cool-climate Carneros region where pinot noir and chardonnay love life. It’s from that delicious fruit that Mark crafts the eye-opening pinot I tasted. Hopefully all their wines will continue to improve, especially after a recent cash infusion from new owners, Foley Family Wines. Two families making wine together — I like the sound of that.  

__Recommended Wines__

__Sebastiani 2007 Pinot Noir Carneros__ (California) Elegant with lush, dark cherry earthiness, excellent tart acidity and ripe plum with a flirty, sweet raspberry and strawberry finish. Luscious and worth the price. Sw=1. $28. ''__4.5 stars__''. 

__Sebastiani 2006 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast__ (California) Creamy and buttery but no overwhelming oak found in inexpensive chardonnays. Instead, tangerine, honeyed almonds, earthy vanilla and apricot rule the sip. Good value. Sw=2. $15. __''4 stars''__. 

__Sebastiani 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay Russian River__ (California) I was initially repelled by the funky opening whiff. But once it warmed in my glass, the true fruity and buttery notes emerged. Less crisp than most unoaked chards, it’s slightly sweet like a lemon bar baked with golden delicious apples. Sw=3. $17. ''__3 stars__''."
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It appears that you guys, after an anything-but-chardonnay run, are migrating back to this classic white. Rathbun’s in Atlanta sees plenty of action in its Edna Valley Chardonnay. But co-owner Cliff Bramble reports an educated price variance in what people are choosing — in the under-$40-per-bottle category, people order a “chardonnay,” whereas in the upper price tier, customers request selections from specific wine regions — aka AVAs — like Carneros or Russian River. Same goes for other varietals like pinot noir or malbec, as in the delicious Terrazas Malbec from Argentina they pour by the glass. 

Vinocity Wine Bar in Atlanta constantly scours for quality, underpriced wines. Owner Ian Smith’s best sellers are Poppy Pinot Noir, Plungerhead Zin, Bloom Gewurztraminer and one of my favorites, Quivira Sauvignon Blanc. Looking pretty good there. 


In Tampa, Fla., Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits and Mise en Place Restaurant echo the chardonnay boon but also report an upsurge in rosé wine love. Kevin Pelley from Bern’s Fine Wines hopes, “Maybe Tampa is only 3 years behind other markets, not five.” Couldn’t come soon enough for this girl — regular readers of this column know my passion for the pink. 

The trends bode well, folks — keep drinking. 


Wineries That Wow

I’d like to introduce a new, semi-regular addition to my weekly Corkscrew column: Wineries That Wow. In this short segment, I’ll take an impressive/interesting/ground-breaking/cool winery and give you the lowdown on why you should like them too. This episode features Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, operated by the Cuneo Family for over 100 years in Sonoma County, Calif. I wanted to give these guys some props since I think they’ve finally turned a corner. For as long as I’ve been a wine writer (8 years) their wine has wallowed in mediocrity, but a couple recent sips of chardonnay and a pinot noir turned my frown upside down. 

The Cuneos recently completed construction of a new winery and maybe that has made the difference for Mark Lyon, Sebastiani’s winemaker for 30 years. He works with grapes sourced from all over Sonoma — one locale is the impressive and expansive Dutton Ranch — as well as 250 estate-owned acres in the cool-climate Carneros region where pinot noir and chardonnay love life. It’s from that delicious fruit that Mark crafts the eye-opening pinot I tasted. Hopefully all their wines will continue to improve, especially after a recent cash infusion from new owners, Foley Family Wines. Two families making wine together — I like the sound of that.  

Recommended Wines

Sebastiani 2007 Pinot Noir Carneros (California) Elegant with lush, dark cherry earthiness, excellent tart acidity and ripe plum with a flirty, sweet raspberry and strawberry finish. Luscious and worth the price. Sw=1. $28. 4.5 stars. 

Sebastiani 2006 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (California) Creamy and buttery but no overwhelming oak found in inexpensive chardonnays. Instead, tangerine, honeyed almonds, earthy vanilla and apricot rule the sip. Good value. Sw=2. $15. 4 stars. 

Sebastiani 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay Russian River (California) I was initially repelled by the funky opening whiff. But once it warmed in my glass, the true fruity and buttery notes emerged. Less crisp than most unoaked chards, it’s slightly sweet like a lemon bar baked with golden delicious apples. Sw=3. $17. 3 stars.             13030376 1282765                          Corkscrew - Peeking behind the curtains "
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Wednesday August 19, 2009 04:00 am EDT
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Thursday August 13, 2009 09:40 pm EDT
image-1I walk in the door with sweat still dewing my face, having just transitioned from goosebumpy temps at the office, walking through roasting heat, then into a baking sauna doubling as my dark-blue vehicle. In 95 degrees, the air conditioning has little hope of keeping up and it groans under the stress. I refocus on positive thoughts, the contents of my fridge: ribeye steaks, homemade... | more...
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