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Rethinking Temecula

Robert Whitley on

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

Matanzas Creek 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley ($20) -- Matanzas Creek's track record with sauvignon blanc is solid and certainly won't be diminished by this beauty from the Alexander Valley in the 2016 vintage. For one thing, it exhibits remarkable complexity for a sauvignon (with a touch of semillon in the blend). On the nose, grassy notes emerge with hints of citrus and peach. On the palate, there's an additional note of fig. Well-balanced with excellent length, this is a sauvignon that will pair well with grilled fowl and Mediterranean tapas, or can simply be enjoyed as a summer quaffer. Rating: 93.

Tasting Notes

Lamole di Lamole 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy ($32) -- Chianti classico from top producers continue to lead the world in value. Great price for the quality in the Chianti district is at an all-time high, as this 2013 Riserva from Lamole di Lamole demonstrates so well. This is a rich, mouthwatering Chianti that exhibits impressive depth and complexity without losing the balance and elegance that are hallmarks of the best of them. Notes of black cherry and oak spice dominate. There is a lingering floral touch in the background, and smooth, supple tannins will allow for immediate consumption. Otherwise, it should do well in a properly maintained cellar for up to 15 to 20 years. Rating: 96.

Kettmeir 2015 Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige, Italy ($22) -- The French call the pinot bianco grape "pinot blanc," and they love to caress it with oak. The Italian pinot pianco, at least as expressed by Kettmeir, is fresh, crisp and clean and shows exceptional fruit purity along the lines of green apples and lime. Bone-dry but with good richness, it is an excellent foil for roast chicken and fish. Rating: 91.

Decoy 2015 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County ($25) -- What the world needs now is more everyday pinot noir that is affordable and tastes good. The 2015 Decoy fits the bill. This tasty gem offers bright cherry aromas, modest tannins and immediate drinkability. It goes down easy, and so does the price. Rating: 88.


Follow Robert on Twitter at @wineguru. To find out more about Robert Whitley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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