Slowly but surely, California is producing excellent wines from Rhone varietals such as Syrah. What a find this release from Marietta is. Tight and firm, with a rich, focused core of plum, black cherry, earth, anise and wild berry. Long, intricate afterta —James Laube
From a winery that—s been cranking out solid values for a few years now comes this outstanding Chardonnay. Tastes more complex and sophisticated than it smells, with a tightly wound core of pear and nectarine and a rich buttery aftertaste that's long an —James Laube
From one of Washington state—s most consistent wineries comes this outstanding Cabernet. Rich, ripe and focused, layering its currant, plum and vanilla flavors with hints of pepper and bay leaf that sneak in on the long, supple finish. Fine-grained tann —Harvey Steiman
From a winery with a track record for top-flight Cali Cab comes this outstanding '95. Smooth, rich and polished, with pretty black cherry, currant, chocolate, anise, sage and cedar notes. Finishes with a complex aftertaste and firm tannins. Best from 2001 —James Laube
From New Zealand comes this moderately-priced Sauvignon Blanc. Light, bright and zingy, this is appealing for its pure apple, citrus and pear flavors that linger on the bright finish. Drink now. 4,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman
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