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Top 10 wines in the US press

J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Red, Paso Robles 2012 

The Detroit News’ Sandra Silfven has this week chosen two commemorative bottles recently released to celebrate forty years of winemaking from Californian producer Jerry Lohr.

She writes, “The heavy, ornate bottle and the blended red inside are a tribute to Jerry Lohr and his family, and their dream of what could be in Paso Robles and other parts of the Central Coast appellation.”

Describing the wine, she writes, “This blend is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Petite Sirah, finished with Merlot and Malbec. It’s a fitting blend considering Jerry’s first wine was a 1974 Petite Sirah.

“This wine has ripe, generous dark fruit, the acidity for balance, the infusion of oak, the nice lift of alcohol –14.66% abv. Aromas are amazing: dark berries, cherries, black pepper spice, dark chocolate, espresso. In the mouth, tannins are ever so supple, and the well-sculpted fruit is infused with oak and braced with firm acidity.”

J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc, Arroyo Seco 2013

The second choice, this time white, from Silfven is the Pinot Blanc 40th anniversary offering. According to Silfven, “Pinot Blanc was one of the original 11 varieties planted by Jerry Lohr at his Arroyo Seco estate vineyard.

“It was one of the first white wines made by Lohr in 1975, though it was later determined the original planting was really Melon de Bourgogne. So in 2009, Lohr replanted a small vineyard to the true Pinot Blanc clone.”

She describes the 2013 vintage as “a wine of great richness with a creamy palate of apricot, nectarine, lemon, melon and honey.”

Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc, Walker Bay 2014

Rebecca Murphy of Dallas News picks out this South African wine for her weekly . Giving a brief history of the winery, she writes that “Southern Right wines are named for the Southern Right whales often visible from the winery’s vineyards about two miles from Walker Bay in South Africa.

“Sauvignon Blanc is the only white wine they make,” she reveals.

On the wine itself, Murphy writes, “It is a delightfully delicate yet flavourful wine balancing bright citrus and peach fruit with chalky mineral and light herbal notes. It is light but with supple roundness on the palate and a zesty acidity that leaves your mouth ready for more.”

She recommends pairing it with a goat cheese or a chilly gazpacho.

Coté Mas Sud de France Blanc Méditerranée 2014

“The Coté Mas Sud de France Blanc Méditerranée is a great choice any time, but especially for warm weather meals,” according to Dennis Sodomka writing for the Augusta Chronicle. 

“It is a nicely-made wine at a good price from a region not well known for great wine.”

On the region, he writes, “Languedoc in southern France is the single largest wine-producing region in the world, responsible for a third of France’s production. But for years the emphasis had been on quantity rather than quality,” he argues.

“The Domaines Paul Mas company has been among the leaders in bringing quality back to Languedoc,” Sodomka says, “as many winemakers look to raise the level of their wine.”

The wine, according to Sodomka, is “a beautiful medium lemon colour in the glass, with powerful aromas of citrus and grapefruit. The first sip brings out similar tastes of citrus and grapefruit. As you keep drinking the wine you pick up notes of tropical fruit. The wine is fruit-forward, but with good acidity to create a balanced, food-friendly wine.”

The wine is a blend of 35% Grenache Blanc, 25% Vermentino, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Sauvignon Blanc.

Underwood canned wine series, Oregon 

Michele Parente of the San Diego Union-Tribune goes out of her comfort zone with the now-famous canned wines from Oregon producer Underwood, featuring rosé, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

She writes, “Underwood’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and rosé aren’t dumbed-down novelty wines. They’re what they’d put in glass, and do, just more portable.”

The “frisky, fruity and light-bodied” wines are “perfect for camping, backyard barbecues, picnics or anywhere you’d bring cans of beer or soda.”

“The Pinot Gris and rosé, in particular, are can-tastic on their own,” Parente writes.

Seghesio Pinot Grigio 2013

Peg Melnik, writing for the Press Democrat, chose this “tasty wine with aromas and flavours of peach, melon and mineral” to commend this week.

Its crisp acidity gives it lift and makes it a great summer quaff. Balanced and refreshing. This pinot grigio has recently been seen on the wine list at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill.

Landmark “Overlook” Chardonnay Sonoma County 2012

Melnick also took the oppurtunity to praise this “layered Chardonnay with a range of flavours” including pear, quince, apricot.”

She writes that the wine has a “round… full-bodied” texture. “This sophisticated chardonnay is a steal for the price. It has recently been seen on the wine list at Monti’s restaurant in Santa Rosa,” she says.

Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal tasked herself with finding some reasonably priced American Pinot Noir, and came up trumps with the following wines; just two of several she highlighted.

She writes, “The 2012 vintage was a great success story for Oregon vintners, and this basic bottling from Rex Hill is an excellent example of the concentration and lushness emblematic of the year.

“Full-bodied and rich, it is marked by notes of dark fruit, earth and even a bit of a tobacco,” she enthuses.

Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013

Next, Teague chooses this bottling from winemaker Dave Keatley, who she explains was “one of many Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir producers pleased with the outstanding quality of the wines from the 2013 vintage.”

On the wine, she writes, “this wine is a vibrant example of the year – elegant and supple with bright red fruit aromas and a fine mineral thread.”

Rosenberg Estates The Buzz Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon California 2006

And finally, Gil Lempert-Schwarz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes on this incredibly good value $5.99 Merlot/Cab Sav blend from Creek Valley California.

On the nose, he writes that there is “an impressive onslaught of creme de cassis, boysenberry sorbet, crushed ripe bing cherries, tobacco box, cedar and tonnes of vanilla and oak references with underlying soft black fruit crush compote, herbs de Provence and earth-driven minerals.”

On the palate, Lempert-Schwarz is equally complementary. He writes, “The wine coats the palate with delicious, juicy black forest fruits, crushed black currants, hints of eucalyptus leaf, loganberry, subtle oak notes and lots of chewing tobacco, minerals and black wine gums.

“The mid-palate is well-defined with supple soft tannins and layered black fruits, going into a plump and rather concentrated finish with notes of cassis and spice box that lasts for a good half-minute.

“It is a huge wine that does not disappoint, especially considering the price,” he concludes.

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