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Los Angeles Times Magazine Critics' Choices for 1986 : WINNING WINES

November 02, 1986|ROBERT LAWRENCE BALZER

MERLOT (29 wines tasted) Price Rating JAEGER INGLEWOOD VINEYARD 1981 NAPA VALLEY $12.75 16.1 Produced and bottled by Jaeger Family Vineyards, St. Helena. Rich, lovely bouquet, with hints of cassis, incense of oak in background, light tannin. MARKHAM 1983 NAPA VALLEY $10 16.1 Made and bottled by Markham Winery, St. Helena. Soft, well-made wine, pleasant berryness in rounded bouquet, subdued oak. NEWTON VINEYARD 1982 NAPA VALLEY $12.50 15.9 Produced and bottled by Newton Vineyard, St. Helena. Deep ruby color, full-flavored gentle varietal, touch of mint; good for aging. BOEGER 1983 EL DORADO $12.50 15.8 Produced and bottled by Boeger Winery, Placerville. Good fruity wine, suggesting pears; clean, well-balanced, fine claret. STERLING VINEYARDS 1982 NAPA VALLEY $11 15.8 Grown, produced and bottled by Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga. A full bouquet blending oak and fruit with rich intensity, velvet smooth. DUCKHORN 1984 NAPA VALLEY $16 15.7 Produced and bottled by Duckhorn Vineyards, St. Helena. A fine ruby, round, full flavors, rich depth; tannins suggest good aging. DUCKHORN-THREE PALMS VINEYARD 1984 NAPA VALLEY $18 15.6 Produced and bottled by Duckhorn Vineyards, St. Helena. A wine of great depth; rounding of oak pleasing. CLOS DU VAL 1982 NAPA VALLEY $12.50 15.5 Produced and bottled by Clos du Val Wine Co. Napa. A complex, delightful wine; full flavor, round, well-balanced. FRANCISCAN 1983 NAPA VALLEY $8.50 15.4 Produced and bottled by Franciscan Vineyards, Rutherford. A gentle varietal character, oak evident; spicy fruit, intriguing. STRATFORD 1983 CALIFORNIA $8.50 15.3 Made and bottled by Cartlidge, Moser & Forsyth, Calistoga. A lovely bouquet of mixed berry and vegetal scents; oak finish. PINE RIDGE 1983 NAPA VALLEY SELECTED CUVEE $13 15.1 Produced and bottled by Pine Ridge Winery, Yountville. A cedar-ish pungency of bouquet; rich, long flavors bring elegance. RUTHERFORD HILL 1982 NAPA VALLEY $11 15.0 Produced and bottled by Rutherford Hill Winery, Rutherford. A delicate berryness in this well-made wine; hints of violets. Alphabetical listing of others tasted: Buena Vista 1983 Carneros Private Reserve $14 Davis Bynum 1982 Sonoma County Reserve $12 Carneros Creek 1982 Napa Valley $10.50 Chateau Ste. Michelle Washington State $12.50 Chateau Petrus 1983 Pomerol $225 Clos du Bois 1984 Sonoma County $10.50 Firestone Vineyard 1982 Santa Ynez Valley $6.50 Geyser Peak 1983 Alexander Valley $8 Gundlach-Bundschu 1983 Sonoma Valley Rhinefarm Vineyards $12 Inglenook 1983 Napa Valley $11.50 Charles Krug 1982 Napa Valley $7.50 Louis M. Martini 1983 North Coast $6 Louis M. Martini 1982 Russian River $10 Santa Ynez Valley Winery 1982 $7.50 Sebastiani 1984 Sonoma-Mendocino $6.50 Shafer Vineyards 1984 Napa Valley $10 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1982 Napa Valley $13.50 GEWURZTRAMINER (37 wines tasted) Price Rating WENTE BROS. 1985 ARROYO SECO $7.50 16.8 Grown, produced and bottled by Wente Bros. Winery, Livermore. Engaging true varietal bouquet with tangy, grapefruit zing; refreshing. BUENA VISTA CARNEROS 1984 SONOMA COUNTY $7 16.0 Produced and bottled by Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma. Golden wine with flowery nose, sweet-edged flavors; well-balanced wine. FETZER 1985 CALIFORNIA $6 15.5 Produced and bottled by Fetzer Vineyards, Redwood Valley. Crisp, sweet-edged wine with intriguing litchi-nut tastes. INGLENOOK 1984 NAPA VALLEY $7.50 15.5 Produced and bottled by Inglenook Vineyards, Rutherford. Good varietal character; a wine in the Alsatian dry style; clean finesse. CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE 1984 WASHINGTON STATE $7.50 15.4 Vinted and bottled by Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, Wash. Pleasing, tart wine of opulent bouquet, with good varietal character. DELOACH VINEYARDS ESTATE-BOTTLED 1985 RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY $7 15.4 Produced and bottled by DeLoach Vineyards, Santa Rosa. Crisp, lemony with a little spritz, sharp finish, slightly bitter. MONTEREY VINEYARD 1984 MONTEREY COUNTY $6 15.4 Produced and bottled by The Monterey Vineyard, Gonzales. Clean, straightforward varietal wine; good balance, smooth finish. PARDUCCI 1985 MENDOCINO COUNTY $7 15.4 Produced and bottled by Parducci Wine Cellars, Ukiah. Marvelous varietal character with the zest of grapefruit; crisp, balanced. J. PEDRONCELLI 1984 SONOMA COUNTY $5.50 15.3 Made and bottled by J. Pedroncelli Winery, Geyserville. Delicate litchi-nut tastes, in a silky-smooth, long and lovely wine. RODNEY STRONG 1985 SONOMA COUNTY $6.75 15.3 Produced and bottled by Rodney Strong Vineyards, Windsor. Good fruity bouquet in California sweet-edged style, with finesse. BARGETTO 1985 SANTA MARIA VALLEY $6.75 15.2 Produced and Bottled by Bargetto's Santa Cruz Winery, Soquel. Easy sipping wine, with obvious residual sweetness; well-made. GIUMARRA VINEYARDS 1984 CENTRAL COAST $5 15.2 Produced and bottled by Giumarra Vineyards, Edison. Clean, good varietal wine with dry finish; excellent value. MONTICELLO 1984 NAPA VALLEY $7.50 15.2 Produced and bottled by Monticello Cellars, Napa. Clean, fruity wine, with forward zest, grapefruity tang and sweet finish. ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS 1985 ALEXANDER VALLEY $6.50 15.1 Produced and bottled by Alexander Valley Winery, Healdsburg. Clean, with spicy rose petal bouquet; flavorful and well balanced. PAT PAULSEN VINEYARDS 1984 SONOMA COUNTY $7.50 15.1 Produced and bottled by Pat Paulsen Vineyards, Cloverdale. Dry and tart, from mature fruit, giving good balance and flavors. CHATEAU ST. JEAN FRANK JOHNSON VINEYARD 1985 RUSSIAN RIVER $8 15.0 Produced and bottled by Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood. Lovely wine with delicate litchi taste, silky body; splendid varietal. Alphabetical listing of others tasted: Almaden 1984 San Benito County $6 Beringer 1984 Sonoma County $6.50 Callaway 1985 California $5.50 Chateau St. Jean 1985 Alexander $8 Clos du Bois 1985 Alexander Valley Early Harvest $9 Felton Empire 1984 Mendocino Talmage Town $7 Firestone Vineyard 1984 Santa Ynez Valley $6.50 Ernest & Julio Gallo 1984 California $3.50 Grand Cru Vineyards 1984 Alexander Valley $9.50 Gundlach-Bundschu 1985 Sonoma Valley $7.50 Hacienda Wine Cellars 1984 Sonoma County $7 Hacienda Wine Cellars 1985 Sonoma Valley $7 Kenwood Vineyards 1984 Sonoma Valley $6.75 Louis M. Martini 1984 Napa Valley $6 Joseph Phelps Vineyards 1984 Napa Valley $8 Rutherford Hill 1984 Napa Valley $7.50 Sebastiani 1985 Sonoma Valley $7.25 Smothers 1984 Sonoma County $7.75 Ventana Vineyard 1984 Monterey County $6 Winery Lake 1984 Los Carneros $7 LATE-HARVEST GEWURZTRAMINERS (4 wines tasted) Price Rating CHATEAU ST. JEAN SELECT LATE HARVEST 1983 ALEXANDER VALLEY (10ths) $14 17.5 Produced and bottled by Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood. Full elegance of botrytised grapes, giving rich honeyed taste; superb! CHARLES LEFRANC 1984 SAN BENITO COUNTY $10 17.2 Produced and bottled by Charles Lefranc Cellar, San Jose. Heavenly bouquet suggesting honey and apricots; rich dessert nectar. Others tasted: Balverne Vineyard 1983 Pepperwood Chalk Hill $8 Mirassou 1983 Monterey County $7 PRODUCED BY GRICEL CRISTINA SANABRIA AND JAMES WILLETT

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