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Corkscrew - Memorial Day Grilling

The right libations for your Memorial Day cookout.

They say variety is the spice of life, but really it's cayenne pepper. Sprinkle enough of this pungent, piquant seasoning on anything and watch mouths water and tears run. But it's worth it – adding spicy sauce or pepper to a half-pound burger imparts excitement to an otherwise dreary clump of meat. And Memorial Day is definitely the unofficial raw-meat-on-the-grill-day. But its unofficial side dish isn't the ghastly, mayo-laden potato salad; it's alcohol. The after-effects of spice need something that will quell the fire when your mouth feels like blacktop on a summer Florida day. But should you choose red, white or brew to ease your pain?

Back when I only knew about Bud, Miller and Milwaukee's "Beast," food and beer pairing wasn't my goal. As I aged (read: could afford), I discovered the beautiful world of craft beers, whose sharp, clean yet sweeter wheat brews toned down my atomic hot wings. But no matter how refreshing a beer tastes going down, an entire day of it still leaves me feeling like someone blew up a balloon in my stomach.

So I stick with perhaps the original "tastes great, less filling" beverage, wine.

Essentially, for anything to meld with strong spices, a spoonful of sugar helps the pepper go down. This goes for wine and beer. Wine has the natural fruit acids and tannins that help harmonize and tame strong seasonings, especially on protein-laden grill goodies. Lighter whites, such as riesling and pinot gris/grigio, refresh the palate and pair nicely with seafood items like fiery fish or shrimp. Dry rosés, far from the syrupy, inane rep they're battling, help quench the thirst built up under a sweltering sun, but also drink nicely with peppery items.

And then there's the king of bland: the hot dog. If I had my druthers, every American would drink rosé with their nitrate-laden "beef' franks, if only to drown the flavor.

With burly barbecued vittles, think bold and beautiful reds. Also think that the wine should match the sauce on the meat, rather than the meat itself, since the sauce becomes the dominant taste component. The zesty smoky-sweet stuff we slather on beef or chicken is far from wimpy, so your wine shouldn't be, either. Think something that sings with berries, with plenty of pepper and spice (not tannic and oaky), to stand up to all that brawn. Zinfandel and syrah/shiraz are considered classic BBQ wines because they have lots of fruit and peppery spice, without too much oak and tannin to cloud flavor. But if you're feeling exotic, pop open a smoky Spanish Rioja or California tempranillo (the grape in Rioja). For those wanting to stay in their comfort zone, medium to full-bodied merlots are also good matches for BBQ fare – especially mild brats and delicious, full-flavored sausages.

A quick tip for the barbecue set-up: Since wine glasses just feel wrong when hanging at a barbecue, it's fine to use plastic cups. But avoid Styrofoam – all you'll taste is wine-scented Styrofoam.

Recommended Wines

Pink Criquet 2006 Bordeaux Rosé (France) Soft raspberry and strawberries with firm acidity and a gorgeous finish. A hint of plum and mint make it interesting. Sw = 1. $15. 3.5 stars

Gravity Hills Tumbling Tractor 2004 Zinfandel Paso Robles (California) Fragrant jammy blackberries waft up to the nose, and the mouth experiences bold cherry, with a creamy vanilla elegance. A tiny bit spicy, with white pepper, tobacco. Great with grilled items. Sw = 2. $15. 4 stars

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Riesling Cold Creek Vineyard (Washington) Slightly sweet, with tart tangerine and citrus. Stainless steel aftertaste that's kind of cool. Sw = 4. $14. 3.5 stars

Sweetness (Sw) rating is out of 10, 10 being pure sugar. 1(star) rating is out of 5, 5 being wine nirvana.




420 Atlanta
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More By This Writer

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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...

| more...
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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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  string(3911) "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@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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  string(4157) "    A look at what people are drinking   2009-08-19T08:00:00+00:00 Corkscrew - Peeking behind the curtains   Taylor Eason 1223731 2009-08-19T08:00:00+00:00  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.             13030376 1282765                          Corkscrew - Peeking behind the curtains "
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Wednesday August 19, 2009 04:00 am EDT
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Article

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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