($10; 63% riesling, 16% sauvignon blanc, 13% roussanne and 8% marsanne) Light yellow. Fresh citrus and pear aromas, with bright mineral and floral nuances adding complexity. Fresh lemon and lime on the palate, with a brisk, gently herbaceous character. Finishes clean and lively, with good persistence. Excellent value here.
($16) Light straw. Zesty lemongrass and mineral aromas convey clarity and energy. Peppery citrus and pear flavors are given focus by juicy acidity. A clean, brisk, light riesling with impressively precise minerality on the persistent finish. This would make a good aperitif or match to unadorned shellfish.
($16) Green-gold. Exotic melon, peach, lichee and tangerine aromas, with a deeper gingerbread accent. Fleshy citrus and pear flavors are quite bright, with a light hint of tarragon on the finish. I'd drink this on the young side.
($22) Pale yellow. Fresh melon, peach and pear aromas are brightened by minerals and quinine; not your typical dried-fruit roussanne bouquet. Fleshy melon and pit fruit flavors are gently supported by fresh acid and mineral notes. Fleshes out on the finish, which features a ripe honeydew quality and very good cling. This easy-to-drink wine would be great with spicy foods. But I would never have guessed roussanne.
($22) Light gold. Spicy peach and apricot aromas are complicated by citrus pith and white flowers. Dried pear and apple flavors display a nutty aspect, with late-arriving acidity lending energy. Finishes a bit tart but with good persistence. Less exotic than most viogniers, with more emphasis on citrus than exotic fruits.
($16) Greenish straw. Initially subdued on the nose, but aeration brought up smoky pear, apple and floral honey scents. Firm and youthfully dry, with deep pit fruit and yellow plum flavors braced by bright acidity. Fleshes out on the finish, picking up an earthy dried herb quality. I like the emphasis on qualities other than fruit here.
($29; tempranillo, grenache and souzao) Medium red. Initially restrained nose opened to display bright redcurrant and strawberry scents, plus hints of dried flowers and baking spices. Taut, sharply focused red fruit flavors are lifted by brisk minerality, which lends a bright, linear quality. Finishes crisp and clean, with good persistence and little weight.
($29; a blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre) Ruby-red. Vibrant strawberry and raspberry aromas display good purity and focus. Fresh and juicy, with lively red berry flavors and bright minerality. Finishes clean and persistent. Serve this with strongly spiced grilled meats.
($19) Deep red. Musky red berries and herbs on the nose, with subtle cracked pepper and woodsmoke accents. Lush, jammy raspberry and strawberry flavors possess very good depth and sweetness, with no rough edges to get in the way of immediate gratification. Expands on the back end, actually gaining in sweetness and finishing with a strong jolt of red berry liqueur. This packs an awful lot of pleasure for the buck.
($29) Dark red. Spicy raspberry and licorice aromas are underscored by energetic mineral and floral notes. Crisp, focused and pure, with bright red berry flavors, a lightly chewy texture and lift on the back. The raspberry note repeats on the long, juicy finish. Very seductive right now.
($19; a 50/50 blend of shiraz and grenache) Bright purple. Youthfully grapey on the nose, offering vibrant dark berry and cherry scents. Firm, restrained blackberry and cassis flavors display excellent focus and clarity, with fine-grained tannins giving the wine a firm structural underpinning. Finishes on a brisk, juicy note, with very good length. As usual, an excellent bargain.
($65; 70% grenache, 25% shiraz and 5% mourvedre) Ruby-red. Smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are expansive and pure, with fresh violet, cured meat and sassafras adding complexity. The red fruit flavors display good energy and thrust thanks to bright minerality, and are braced by youthfully firm tannins. The silky finish offers a good jolt of tangy redcurrant.
($29; shiraz with viognier) Ruby-red. Seductive red and dark berries on the nose, with deeper soy and dark chocolate notes. Fresh and juicy, with energetic blueberry and cassis flavors, a hint of violet pastille and dusty tannins. Firms up on the finish, taking on notes of licorice and plum preserve. Impressively persistent, sappy and really delicious now.
($35) Blood-red. Explosively perfumed scents of red and dark cherry accompanied by mocha, licorice, black cardamom and lavender. Sweet dark berry and kirsch flavors are firmed by solid tannins and brightened by floral pastille and white pepper notes. Clingy and impressively long, with a persistent bitter cherry note on the lightly tannic finish. A superb example of New World mourvedre.
($19) Dark ruby. Ripe plum and kirsch aromas are deepened by hints of espresso and dark chocolate. Fleshy dark berry and cherry flavors are framed by supple tannins, with notes of black tea and underbrush introducing a dryish quality to the wine. Finishes on a note of bitter cherry, with good length.
($65) Inky ruby. Explosive bouquet suggests redcurrant, cherry, licorice, black tea, rose and cracked pepper: very cabernet. Lush and almost sweet, with powerful red berry and cherry flavors and exotic smoked meat and incense notes. Gains flesh on the long, juicy finish, which displays outstanding clarity and persistence. Pretty compelling stuff.
($19) Bright purple. Impressively perfumed aromas of powerful dark berries and musky herbs. Fresh, spicy blackberry and cassis flavors are enlivened by tangy minerals and sweetened by a suggestion of floral pastille. Takes a slightly bitter turn on the chewy finish, leaving an impression of licorice. Serve this with something smoky.
($65) Inky violet. Vibrant, perfumed nose melds blackberry, cassis, kirsch, licorice and dried flowers. On the palate, this shiraz shows an intriguing mix of sweet dark fruit flavors and firmer earth and mineral notes, with big but supple tannins contributing structure. The palate-staining finish features notes of bitter cherry, cured tobacco and high-octane chocolate. Nothing obvious here.
($29; for 375 ml.) Bronze-gold. Flamboyant apricot and peach nectar aromas are complicated by smoked meat, sultana raisin and toffee. Thick orange marmalade and peach nectar flavors are brightened by crisp acidity and show an intriguing cherry pit quality. Surprisingly vibrant for such a massive, sweet wine. Finishes with a lush candied apple flavor and excellent persistence.
($20; for 375 ml.) Opaque black-ruby. Ripe plum and blackberry aromas are complicated by roasted coffee and licorice. Gentle and creamy in texture, with sweet dark berry flavors displaying a liqueur-like aspect but betraying no heat. A trace of warmth builds on the long, juicy finish, which features impressively pure blackberry and cassis. Delicious stuff. (Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, CA)