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Shiba Sommelier

2011 Quinta do Crasto Vinhas Velhas

Portuguese wines from the Douro make me smile. Lovely nose of black cherries, cinnamon, dried cranberries, figs, and sweet dates. Black and red cherries on the palate with lots of figs, baking spices, wood, and earth. Very nice!

4/5 bones

$$$

Touriga Nacional and other Portuguese red blend varietals

14.5% abv

Douro, PORTUGAL

2010 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin

Perched in a planter to protect my Burgundy! This wine needed some time to open. Initially restrained nose of delicate small red berries, raspberries, twigs, and hints of thyme and earth. Some jammier fruit on the nose after opening. Fuller, juicier strawberries and raspberries on the palate with florals and a hint of game. Got a lot better with time. 

4/5 bones

$$$

Pinot Noir

13% abv

Fixin (Burgundy), FRANCE

2010 Numanthia Termes

I often like to coordinate my hat with my wine. I also dig Numanthia wines from Toro, Spain. Dark chocolate-covered cherries, cocoa nibs, cedar, and jammy notes on the nose. Red cherries, cocoa powder, cedar, dark earth, and fruit leather on the palate. Great entry-level wine from Numanthia!

4/5 bones

$$

Tempranillo

15% abv

Toro, SPAIN

2013 Odfjell Armador Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc from Chile isn’t messing around. Loads of green pepper, grass, pepper seeds, lime, and tropical fruit notes on the nose. More capsicum and pineapple on the palate. Solid and intense. 

4/5 bones

$

Sauvignon Blanc

12.5% abv

Casablanca Valley, CHILE

2013 Il Falchetto Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG

Hmm… smells almost carbonic? Small red berries, ripe peaches, and nectarines with the REDDEST flesh possible on the nose. Great mouthfeel on this wine. Hint of pepper on the attack, yielding to dried cranberries and dried cherries on the palate. Interesting!

4/5 bones

$$

Brachetto

6% abv

Brachetto d’Acqui (Piedmont), ITALY

Esterlin Champagne Brut

Champagne seems like a good excuse to dress up like a medieval lady. Yeast, toasted bread, lemon, and white florals on the nose. Very strong lemon note on the attack on the palate. Yeast mid-palate. Lemon on the finish. Pretty typical. 

3/5 bones

$$

Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir

12% abv

Champagne, FRANCE

2009 Bodega del Desierto Pampa Malbec

Argentina knows how to do Malbec. Almost dusty, Rioja-like nose on this guy - purple fruit, leather, baking spices. Dark fruit and red fruit leather on the palate with cinnamon and clove. Nice acidity to balance the dark fruit. 

3/5 bones

$$

Malbec

15.2% abv

Patagonia, ARGENTINA

2009 Argatia Winery Xinomavro

The rest of the world’s got nothing on Greece when it comes to AWESOME grape names (and grapes themselves) - and Xinomavro is one of them. Meaty, fruity nose of blackberries, cranberries, ripe raspberries, cinnamon, and star anise. Lots of oak notes like a freshly whittled wooden box. Juicy red fruit on the palate with a hint of animal cooking over a spit - some smoked salt and cheese rind on the finish. 

4/5 bones

$$

Xinomavro

13% abv

MACEDONIA-GREECE 

2007 Hugel et Fils Gewurztraminer

This stuff is amazing. Outstanding nose of honeysuckle, white flowers, chestnuts, and Christmas dessert. Honey, chestnuts, and caramel on the palate along with candied lime peel and peach dessert. OUTSTANDING.

5/5 bones

$$

Gewurztraminer

11.5% abv

Alsace, FRANCE 

2010 Torbreck The Steading

I love Torbreck wines and their cool Aussie vibe. This one’s a GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) that’s all sorts of delicious. Smoky red fruit, purple flowers, and clove on the nose. Ripe and full red/purple fruit and fruit leather on the palate along with baking spices. Alcohol and acidity really carry this wine. 

4/5 bones

$$$

Grenache, Shiraz (Syrah), Mataro (Mourvèdre)

15% abv

Barossa Valley, AUSTRALIA