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A Few Good Wines

'In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also as a great giver of happiness and well-being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary'. Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast

I really like red blends and I really, really like blends with Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel. I just ran across a great wine blog (Reverse Wine Snob) and read his recommendation for this wine. He was right on— it's a bold blend with beautiful flavors of  black cherries, blackberries and spice box with a subtle nose of mocha and nutmeg. It's a great value at 11.99 (I bought my bottles at Marketview Liquor).

A spectacular bottle of Pinot Noir always makes me happy and this bottle certainly put a smile on my face. It is definitely a splurge wine (I bought it at Bayfield Wine & Spirits) with a birthday gift certificate from Liz. It is about as close to a perfect California Pinot as you can get— lots of lush fruit, spice and earthiness. It has a beautiful acidity which balances the ripe fruit on the long and silky finish. Truly a special Pinot and one I hope to meet again.

Oh Kermit, let me count the ways I love you. When I was buying the wine for Good Thyme, Bill (my wine guy) gave me a book (Adventures on the Wine Route) to read about a wine importer from California who brought high quality, small producer wines to the United States. Not only was the book a pleasure to read, the wines he imports are a pleasure to drink. This is one of the first Kermit wines I bought for Good Thyme and it's still one of my favorites. This is a big, elegant wine with lots of dark fruit and spice flavor and has a lingering finish that will make you reach for another glass.

Another Kermit wine and another favorite. Marcel Lapierre made the most divine Morgon (a Cru Beaujolais) that I ever tasted. He passed away in 2010 and his son has taken over the winery— by the taste of things he's following in his father's footsteps. This is a young, light bodied Gamay with a heady nose of cedar, red cherry, earth and pepper. It's acidity is balanced by the wild strawberry, raspberry and prune flavors in your mouth. It's a truly refreshing wine— not too dear to drink on a Wednesday night but with enough structure and nuance to make me happy.

Okay, this is a seriously good wine. I have a thing for Washington wines and the Buty winery is one of my favorites. Every year, they make a limited production 'Beast' wine with the bits and pieces left over from their vineyards. It changes every year and 2009 was clearly a good year. This blend is Syrah, Cabernet and Malbec and it's a showstopper. The wine has aromas of vanilla and cedar followed by flavors of tart cherry, blackberry and licorice. Absolutely amazing.

Petite Sirah is typically used a blending grape but it's perfectly delightful on its own. Ironically, there is nothing petite about this wine— it's a big, gnarly, dark purple and deeply extracted wine. This wine needs to gather itself before you drink it, definitely let it sit in a decanter or open the bottle a couple of hours before you plan to drink it. It has plenty of dark, ripe fruit and roasted coffee flavors with firm tannins that would stand up nicely to a steak or roasted game. I bought this wine at Bayfield Wine & Spirits in Bayfield.

Another not so petite yet oh so lovely wine— this time it's a Petite Verdot from Argentina. This is one of the darkest purple wines I've seen for a while, it's almost black in the glass. There is some fruit in this wine but I'd say the predominant flavors are black pepper, spice, chocolate and fig. It had a remarkably soft, dense and velvety mouth feel and nicely integrated tannins. This wine definitely needs to be decanted in order to really shine, it's tight and kind of flat right out of the bottle. Bayfield Wine & Spirits carries this wine in Bayfield.

This is a great, easy drinking wine from a vineyard adjacent to the famous Chateauneuf du Pape appellation in Southern France. It's a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Grenache and it delivers on all fronts— aromas of cassis, spice and pipe tobacco with lush fruit flavors and soft tannins. The Rhone Report gave it a well deserved 90 points and I wholeheartedly agree with their assessment.

I need to learn to speak Italian— if only to correctly pronounce the lyrical names of some of my favorite wines. Who wouldn't like to have the words Valpolicella or Montepulciano roll off their tongue like a beautiful song? This wine is another blend— this time it's Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. It was aged in stainless steel and has a ton of bright, clean jammy fruit and spice flavors with a decent, but not overwhelming, acidity. This was another wine recommendation from The Reverse Wine Snob — he partnered Marketview Liquor in October and offered free shipping on his recommended wines. I am so glad I took a chance on this one, it's delightful.