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Pinots and Merlots and Cabs, Oh My!

Pinots and Merlots and Cabs, Oh My! Sometimes, while we're trying to follow wine's Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard (who probably drinks Vinho Verde - Portuagal's "Green Wine"), we realize that the vineyards, wineries and distributors out there are difficult to follow and can be infested with many dangerous beasts. Lurking in the shadows are scary Pinots, Cabs, Chardonnays, Flying Monkeys and many, many other unknown and often undrinkable creatures. There's an ocean of wine available and much of it is swill that is stuffed down the throats of the unsuspecting or uncaring wine shop.Luckily for you, dear wine drinker, we take our journey seriously and enlist as many intrepid Tin Men, Lions, Scarecrows, and truly helpful winemakers and wine rep's as we can during our process of picking wines for the shop. We're not, of course, the only wine shop who does this but rest assured we aren't angling for fancy vacations or meals paid for by the giant distributors and importers out there. This may be stupid but it makes it easy to say "No, No, No, No, No, Yes, No" to a series of wines poured for us for possible purchase. For example, over the last four days of tasting we've tried over 100 wines and bought a dozen or so of them. That's about the normal "hit ratio" and we're happy with it but that isn't to say we aren't delighted to find a string of good, affordable wines from one person. We just wish that could be the case all the time.In the meantime we'll just keep slogging through all the swill to find the gems!Several of those gems came in this week so perhaps consider asking us about the following and more:Stonecap Cabernet, Washington, $8 We can't say that this is a low production wine but we can say that it is well worth the money and is the pick of the bunch when it comes to Stonecap wines. It is full bodied without being big, with dark fruit and some hints of cocoa and espresso to round it out. Wellington Chardonnay, Sonoma, $12.50 - We've been looking for a well done CA Chard that has the buttery side many want with enough vibrant fruit to keep it lively and this complements the True Myth Chardonnay from Edna Valley ($12) nicely by providing a different take on the same theme.King Estate Pinot Noir, Oregon, $14 - A light, low alcohol Pinot with hints of Rose petal, geranium and ligtht red fruit - characteristics we only see from that state (well, you can get them in under ripe Pinots as well but that's a horse of a different color = an OZ reference - groan!)Terre Rouge Cabernet Franc, $21 - A Sierra Foothills Cab Franc that really shows off the underlying nature of this grape - showing those peppery notes along with just enough extra fruit to say California and not France.

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