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Mountfair Vineyards, 2009 Engagement, Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot blend from Virginia. Less than 13% alcohol. Less than two years in oak. Has a “twang” to it, but it finishes nicely. $25, Fritz Repich is the winemaker, came from the high tech industry. Wine is a passion. Really like the way it feels in my mouth.

Number 2, Jordan Harris from Tarara Winery is back. Casanova from the Commonwealth Collection. Grapes from the Neveah Vineyard (heaven spelled backward). Blend of  60% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauv, 10% Cab Franc… $50. It’s pricey, but this really shines. Nice wine. Long finish, pronounced fruit characteristics. Another Virgina wine.

2006 Barboursville Octogon red blend, served in a decanter. $40, “Old World” style… Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc. I picked up a little bitterness, it’s from Virginia’s Monticello region.

Number 4 is a wine from the Republic of Georgia. 2007 Chateau Mukhranu “Saperavi”. Heavily tannic. Saperavi is the grape varietal, one I had not heard of before now. Retails for $19, will be released in August in New York and D.C. This one didn’t grab me, but I always enjoy trying something new.

Rachel Martin from Boxwood Winery comes with their ’09 Boxwood, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Made with punch down and pump overs. Aged in 100% French Oak from five different cooperages. 100% estate fruit. To me it’s overly oaked, bitter. Fruit is dry farmed. $25 retail, with the tannins present hopefully it will soften over time.

On to wine number 6, “Arbourious” 2009 Russian River Red from Old World Winery. Arbouriou is the grape, oriented in southwest France. Very fruit forward, almost sweet, just bottled a month ago, will be released next spring at $55.  If you’re looking for a wine made from a grape you’ve probably never heard of this is the one.

Sivas-Sonoma Old Vine 2009 Zinfandel. Nice jammy in your face Zin. $16 suggested retail. This is one I would buy without hesitation. It’s from the Don Sebastiani family. Alcohol is 14.9%. This is a winner. Jump on it.

New Zealand Malbec, 2009 Hawkes Bay from Decibal Winery. American winemaker spends most of his time in New Zealand. $18 retail. First New Zealand Malbec I’ve tasted and I like it. 50 cases total production. Daniel Brennan is the winemaker.  12.7% alcohol.

The 9th wine is from Rodney Strong, the 2008 Alexander’s Crown single vineyard Cab Sauv. $75, less than 1,000 cases produced. Clone 7 is the primary grape. What it lacks on the nose it more than makes up for on the palate. This is a beautiful Cabernet. 15.5% alcohol, but it doesn’t seem like  it.

Chateau Edmus 2007 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 85% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc blend. 13% alcohol. Vines average 35 years old. A bit of French “funk” on the nose… $30 retail, a bit too earthy for me, but I think age will improve it.

Virginia Veritas Vineyard ’09 Petit Verdot. They intended it for blending, but were so pleased with the fruit they made a single varietal with it. 198 cases produced it sells for $30. The fruit really shines through and owner Andrew Hodson says it should age well for 10 years. Very nice example of Petit Verdot.

Our final wine is Loriñon Reserva 2006, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha. A really pretty nose… beautifully balanced, plenty of fruit and the finish is exceptional. Retail price is $19 and I think it’s a no-brainer. Really like this wine.

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