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Bringing Sand to The Beach


RaisaB
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I am flying to Paris Thursday and want to bring some wines to a gentleman who owns a couple of restaurants there. He has always been very generous to me whenever I visit. He is not French but Australian and very much a wine aficionado.

Can someone suggest a couple of bottles I may take? I was thinking a Zin and a Petite Syrah, Or maybe a California Cabernet? I would like to keep both bottles around $25 a piece, any suggestions? Merci Bien!

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Hartford Russian River Valley Zinfandel is around $25 (maybe a little more depending on where you buy it) or an Elyse zin or Storybook Mountain or Seghesio Old Vines are all going to be around that same price point. Any would be good ambassadors for a fine quality, very American wine.

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I have long been partial to some Washington state wines. I have brought Leonetti Merlot ('94) to Christian Constant and Santi Santimaria as well as many, manyclients/friends who I do business with in Europe. A bottle or two of American wine is a gift that I have given for over 20 years there. Both Constant (formerly 2 Michelin stars in Paris) and Santimaria (3 star El Raco de Can FAbes) asked where they could buy more after drinking a glass. My experience is that many Europeans know CA cab and that only names like Mondavi, BV, Beringer, perhaps Caymus. Still, I am partial to some Washington state wines, in part for value. 2002 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Blend is a particularly good wine. http://www.columbia-crest.com/ is the Wine Spectator's opinion on it. Regardless of their opinion I should note-I have bought this wine for a number of years because I like it. Coincidentally this particular wine is their #33 wine of the year and was given 93 points. (For others reading this: again, I have been buying and drinking it for three or four years before I ever saw a review-so please let's not get into the stuff about ratings which are only one of many sources for me. I note this for a kind of credibility for someone who may not be familiar with it and has no opportunity to taste it to be able to judge for herself.) Wegman's in Sterling had it a couple of weeks ago for about $32. Most years there are only a handful of six bottle cases that come into D. C. If you can find it I would bring that. It will speak for itself.

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I have long been partial to some Washington state wines.  I have brought Leonetti Merlot ('94) to Christian Constant and Santi Santimaria as well as many, manyclients/friends who I do business with in Europe.  A bottle or two of American wine is a gift that I have given for over 20 years there.  Both Constant (formerly 2 Michelin stars in Paris) and Santimaria (3 star El Raco de Can FAbes) asked where they could buy more after drinking a glass.  My experience is that many Europeans know CA cab and that only names like Mondavi, BV, Beringer, perhaps Caymus.  Still, I am partial to some Washington state wines, in part for value.  2002 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Blend is a particularly good wine.  http://www.columbia-crest.com/  is the Wine Spectator's opinion on it.  Regardless of their opinion I should note-I have bought this wine for a number of years because I like it.  Coincidentally this particular wine is their #33 wine of the year and was given 93 points.  (For others reading this:  again, I have been buying and drinking it for three or four years before I ever saw a review-so please let's not get into the stuff about ratings which are only one of many sources for me.  I note this for a kind of credibility for someone who may not be familiar with it and has no opportunity to taste it to be able to judge for herself.)  Wegman's in Sterling had it a couple of weeks ago for about $32.  Most years there are only a handful of six bottle cases that come into D. C.  If you can find it I would bring that.  It will speak for itself.

I agree that the Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Blend would be an excellent choice. I'd also suggest that a Zinfandel would be a good bet since it is the quintessental "American wine". I'd suggest that you try one of the Rosenblums, either the Rockpile Rockpile Road Vineyard if you can find it, or the Paso Robles Richard Sauret Vineyard. both are excellent (both the 2002 and the 2003 vintages) Another choice would be the 2002 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County Sonoma (thier Sonoma County Old Vine is a little more expensive but very good) or for a little step up in price their 2002 Zinfandel Alexander Valley Home Ranch. You could also try some of the less expensive Ridge Zins, like the 2003 Lytton Springs but it is outside the $25 window. As to Cabs, the Worthy Sophia' Cuvee is an excellent suggestion but also think about the 2003 Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. I've had all of them and for the price they are excellent.

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Go with a Ridge.

I'm not sure that I agree. The currently available vintage of Ridge zins that're on the shelf are often too young and tannic for immediate enjoyment. Same with some of the Rosenblum individual vineyards. Unless you're buying something for your friend's wine cellar, you want to get him something that's drinkable now.

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I think that it would be more fun to provide him with a different take on varietals he should be familiar with. In this vein, I would recommend going with a great California Merlot (OK, might be tough to find at $25), a good California Syrah (not Petite Syrah), as this would provide a contrast in styles between California Syrah, the French Syrah, and Aussie Shiraz.

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I'm not sure that I agree.  The currently available vintage of Ridge zins that're on the shelf are often too young and tannic for immediate enjoyment. Same with some of the Rosenblum individual vineyards. Unless you're buying something for your friend's wine cellar, you want to get him something that's drinkable now.

The Three Valleys (72% Zin) would fit her criteria and is plenty drinkable now, but I think that it all comes down to how you like your Zin.

Personally, I like my Zin the way I like my dogs and my coffee - black and nasty :lol:

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Thank you for all your replys. Has anyone heard of a Vineyard by the name of Earthquake? We had a bottle of their Cabernet S. last night and it was very good. The strange thing is the alcohol % on this is 15.9.

It had great nose, body, and oh I just don't know how to describe tastes. Anyways these are the same people who make Seven Deadly Zins and they also make an Earthquake Zin. I am leaning towards taking a bottle of the Cab , but any opinions on the Zin (earthquake) would be appreciated.

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I think that it would be more fun to provide him with a different take on varietals he should be familiar with.  In this vein, I would recommend going with a great California Merlot (OK, might be tough to find at $25), a good California Syrah (not Petite Syrah), as this would provide a contrast in styles between California Syrah, the French Syrah, and Aussie Shiraz.

I agree with this idea. Every year I attempt to bring something uniquely "american" (read Zinfandel) to France and it never seems to turn out well. Everyone is polite but I am not sure the point is made. My best luck has been when I serve a dinner here with both a California and French of the same basic type, served blindly of course.

Now this man is Australian, so he probably does not need to be convinced that wine is indeed made outside of la belle France.

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I agree with this idea.  Every year I attempt to bring something uniquely "american" (read Zinfandel) to France and it never seems to turn out well.  Everyone is polite but I am not sure the point is made.  My best luck has been when I serve a dinner here with both a California and French of the same basic type, served blindly of course.

Now this man is Australian, so he probably does not need to be convinced that wine is indeed made outside of la belle France.

I would think Syrah would be a good idea also, if I could find an American one that I liked! To my tastes, they all taste like perfume! I would be embarrased to bring a SYrah to France. Th US has it's share of wonderful wines but IMO Syrah is not one of them.

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Thank you for all your replys. Has anyone heard of a Vineyard by the name of Earthquake? We had a bottle of their Cabernet S. last night and it was very good. The strange thing is the alcohol % on this is 15.9.

It had great nose, body, and oh I just don't know how to describe tastes.  Anyways these are the same people who make Seven Deadly Zins and they also make an Earthquake Zin. I am leaning towards taking a bottle of the Cab , but any opinions on the Zin (earthquake) would be appreciated.

I think you are talking about wines made by Michael & David Phillips. There is an Earthquake Vineyard that produces grapes used by Turley and others. But is is much more expensive. The Phillips make several "Earthquake" wines, including a Petit Syrah, and it is in the price range you are looking at. I've never tried any so I can't comment on them.

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I would think Syrah would be a good idea also, if I could find an American one that I liked! To my tastes, they all taste like perfume! I would be embarrased to bring a SYrah to France. Th US has it's share of wonderful wines but IMO Syrah is not one of them.

I'm sorry, but that is simply silly. There are many very fine Syrahs being made in the US. Sine Qua Non and Martinelli make fabulous examples, as do Carlisle, Ojai, and Pax Cellars. I would take any of these over the finest Zinfandel you put in front of me.
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I think you are talking about wines made by Michael & David Phillips.  There is an Earthquake Vineyard that produces grapes used by Turley and others.  But is is much more expensive.  The Phillips make several "Earthquake" wines, including a Petit Syrah, and it is in the price range you are looking at.  I've never tried any so I can't comment on them.

Yes that is the one. I bought a bottle of it last night at Corks & Fork Wineshop here in Gainesville. (BTW they are having tastings of it this week so if you live nearby, please do visit the shop. It is located at Atlas Walk in the Gateway Shopping Center. They always have quite a few free tastings, excellent prices and lovely Proprietors). The wine was excellent. I am not a fan of Zin for the most part, that is why I ask, I may just have to open that one tonight. The prices on these were 29.99 at the store and I think I received an additional 15% mixed case discount.

I'm sorry, but that is simply silly.  There are many very fine Syrahs being made in the US.  Sine Qua Non and Martinelli make fabulous examples, as do Carlisle, Ojai, and Pax Cellars.  I would take any of these over the finest Zinfandel you put in front of me.

I bought half a case of Shotfire Ridge Shiraz last night. It is Australian, but that is the style I like. If I find an American syrah, in the same price range, that tastes good, well I may change my mind. I can't say I have tried any of those you quoted as I haven't bought any American Syrahs in years, but have had some at friends houses and have never been impressed enough to ask the name.

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I bought half a case of Shotfire Ridge Shiraz last night. It is Australian, but that is the style I like. If I find an American syrah, in the same price range, that tastes good, well I may change my mind. I can't say I have tried any of those you quoted as I haven't bought any American Syrahs in years, but have had some at friends houses and have never been impressed enough to ask the name.

OK, so you like Shiraz/Syrah that tastes like cough syrup. The examples that I gave have more spice than you will find in the fruit bomb Aussie style that you like. The most frustrating thing about all American wines is that they are so difficult to find at a reasonable price. For under $25, I do not know of a single American made wine that I would take over any number of bottles from France or Spain for less than $15. If you want to say that American Syrah under $25 is less than enjoyable, I would agree with you, and say the same about Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Since this is a style that you like you might want to check out Possum Hill (it is from Australia, and is the pure definition of a fruity Shiraz).

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Yes that is the one. I bought a bottle of it last night at Corks & Fork Wineshop here in Gainesville. (BTW they are having tastings of it this week so if you live nearby, please do visit the shop. It is located at Atlas Walk in the Gateway Shopping Center. They always have quite a few free tastings, excellent prices and lovely Proprietors). The wine was excellent. I am not a fan of Zin for the most part, that is why I ask, I may just have to open that one tonight. The prices on these were 29.99 at the store and I think I received an additional 15% mixed case discount.

I bought half a case of Shotfire Ridge Shiraz last night. It is Australian, but that is the style I like. If I find an American syrah, in the same price range, that tastes good, well I may change my mind. I can't say I have tried any of those you quoted as I haven't bought any American Syrahs in years, but have had some at friends houses and have never been impressed enough to ask the name.

For info on Earthquake and their wines:

http://www.lodivineyards.com/wineseqk2.htm

I like the Shotfire Ridge shiraz also. I like the 2003 Altos de Luzon from the Jumilla region of Spain more in the same price range. Paul Bros. on Wisconsin in Chevy Chase has it for $13.99 which is a great price. For cough syrup there is no better than Marquis Phillips although I don't like the '04's as much as the '03 Shiraz.

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OK, so you like Shiraz/Syrah that tastes like cough syrup.

Cough syrup?! Why sir my feelings are hurt! I haven't tasted any of the more expensive American Syrahs, why waste my money on something I probably won't like? I am not averse to spending alot of money on a bottle but it has to fit MY tastebuds. Now if you would like to buy me a glass of your favorite American Shiraz, well I will be more than happy to oblige and drink it. But will your sensibilities be hurt if I don't agree with your tastes? :lol:

I prefer a Chateauneuf du Pape or a Cornas to an Aussie Shiraz. I like Peter LehamnnShiraz from Australia, but the GOOD American Syrah has eluded me thus far.

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I prefer a Chateauneuf du Pape or a Cornas to an Aussie Shiraz.
I would rather drink French Syrah to American or Australian, my original point was that providing your friend with a decent American Syrah to compare to the Aussie or French versions I am sure he is used to would be interesting.

By the way, CdP is primarily a Grenache blend. As for Cornas, if you can find Tardieu-Laurent's, you should buy it.

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I would rather drink French Syrah to American or Australian, my original point was that providing your friend with a decent American Syrah to compare to the Aussie or French versions I am sure he is used to would be interesting. 

By the way, CdP is primarily a Grenache blend.  As for Cornas, if you can find Tardieu-Laurent's, you should buy it.

I may have a bottle of it downstairs. I really enjoy Eric&Joel Durands though.

I am off to PAris tomorrow, so Various types are very easy to find. :lol:

Thanks. (BTW, do you really think it tastes like cough syrup? :huh:

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I may have a bottle of it downstairs. I really enjoy Eric&Joel Durands though.

I am off to PAris tomorrow, so Various types are very easy to find.  :lol:

Thanks. (BTW, do you really think it tastes like cough syrup? :)

Cough syrup maybe a bit harsh :huh: (I'll reserve that for Marquise Philips), but it is too syrupy for me.

I have not had the Durand Cornas, but they make a mean St. Joseph.

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Is this an Aussie SHiraz? Or a South African? You live down the street, have you been to Cork & Fork? I must have you over!

California. Steve Edmunds is a small negociant that sources great Syrah and keeps alcohols and fruit levels restrained.

I went into C&F right after it opened and thought the markups very high (they sell a couple of my wines). I heard a rumor later that the initial prices were the result of an accounting mistake, but I haven't re-entered to check.

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California.  Steve Edmunds is a small negociant that sources great Syrah and keeps alcohols and fruit levels restrained.

I went into C&F right after it opened and thought the markups very high (they sell a couple of my wines).  I heard a rumor later that the initial prices were the result of an accounting mistake, but I haven't re-entered to check.

Yes, his prices are alot lower. Especially with his specials every week. I think he is doing a great thing in our area with his wine tastings and dinners.

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