Havens Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 1997, $9 VG
Nice acidity, rich flavor, and pretty nose [5/29].
Babich Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 1998, $7 VG
Interesting touch of orange [5/29].
Raymond Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 1997, $7 VG-
Somewhat reserved [5/29].
Lolonis Fume Blanc, Mendocino, 1997, $9 VG
Sweet muscat orange tone with a touch of bitterness, some legs [5/29].
Vino de Eyzaguirre Cabernet Sauvignon, Cachapoal, Chile, Reserva Especial, 1996, $5 G+
Muddy earth, over ripe fruit [5/29].
David Bruce Pinot Noir, Sonoma, 1997, $16 VG
Rich fruit, but a lot of vanilla oak in the nose. Maybe it will settle down in a few weeks, but right now it doesn't measure up to the '96 [5/29].
Chateau La Rogue Red Languedoc, Pic St. Loup, 1996, $9 G+
Blackberry and pepper earth in the nose, with the pepper much stronger on the palate. Quite sound, but lacking in fruit presently [5/29].
Francis Coppola Merlot, California, Diamond Series Blue Label, 1997, $11 G+
A typical inexpensive Coppola offering, well-balanced but light, with a nice nose [5/29].
Benziger Merlot, Sonoma, 1997, $12 VG-
Varietal nose, some chocolate on the finish [5/29].
Katherine Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, 1997, $7 G
Ultra-ripe, dark nose and nearly black color, coming across slightly turned on the palate [5/29].
Hogue Late Harvest Riesling, Columbia Valley, 1998, $7 VG-
Pretty, light, and sweet. Almost watery, but possesses a creamy texture and a touch of orange in the fruit [5/29].
Hardys Tawny Port, Australia, Whiskers Blake, NV, $8 VG
The Wine Spectator rated this a 94, which is absurd, but this is a nice tawny. Characterized by typical cherry fruit and caramel, a touch light, but sound, not revelatory [5/30].
Peachy Canyon Zinfandel, California, Incredible Red Bin 106, 1997, $9 VG
Yowza! This is the best ``affordable'' Zin I've had yet this year. Light, yet explosive cherry fruit and jazzy spice. Ah, a reprise of 1996! It reminds me of the Karly and Ravenswood Lodi. I have few words to describe it, but I know it when I see it. Drink up [6/1]!
Fritz Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek, 1997, $7 VG-
Lemon fruit in the nose, rich fruit with a slightly bitter edge [6/5]. The richness seems more texture than fruit [6/26].
Cline Viognier, Los Carneros, 1997, $10 VG
Toasty oak, vanilla and cinnamon in rich fruit. This is my first Viognier, and an interesting, complex quaff it is [6/5]. At home with a meal the experience was quite similar, although it took some time to show its form. It started lean and racey, then later rounding out and became more complex. Perhaps I overchilled it, although I had cooled it by quick-chilling, not refrigerating [6/18].
Byron Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, 1997, $12 VG
Oaky butter, racey fruit, not especially rich [6/5].
Bentivoglio Red, Toscana, 1995, $10 G+
Oak, earth, typical light fruit; quite dry [6/5].
Barranc Red, Priorat, 1997, $9 VG
Classic pepper, earth, and fat ripe fruit. A winner [6/5].
Penfolds Shiraz, Coonawarra, Bin 128, 1996, $16 VG-
Astringent, spicey orange rind tar and focussed fruit. Very unusual now, it might have future promise [6/5].
Penfolds Shiraz, South Australia, Bin 28, 1996, $19 VG+
Very dark color, vanilla oak nose, very sound fruit and tannins [6/5].
Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz, South Australia, Bin 389, 1996, $19 VG+
Nearly black in color, dark chocolate flavors added by the Cab, nice balance. A real pleasure [6/5].
Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, Bin 407, 1996, $19 VG-
Nice enough, but it seems to be missing something in the bottom compared to the Cab-Shiraz [6/5].
Husch Chenin Blanc, Mendocino, 1997, $6 VG
Sweet, thick, nice fruit, even a little sugary. Very pleasant [6/12].
St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 1998, $8 VG
Very unusual. A touch sweet with penetrating, jazzy, candy fruit flavors. Wine Spectator gave this a 91. I don't know about that [6/12].
St. Supery Chardonnay, Napa, 1997, VG-
Nice fruit, but vanilla oak overpowers. Might settle down in a couple of months [6/12].