Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.
• Helfrich Gewurztraminer 2009 ($15, sample): Too much gewurztraminer tastes like riesling these days, which means sweet and not very interesting. That's not the case with the Helfrich, a leading Alsatian producer. It's spicy, almost clove-like; sweet but balanced; and has an impressive mineral finish.
• Natura Chardonnay 2009 ($12, sample): This Chilean white is made with organic grapes, and isn't bad for what tastes like warm climate chardonnay. Look for tropical fruit at the back, and more oak than it probably needs.
• Segura Viudas Brut Rose NV ($10, sample): This is one of the best-made $10 Spanish sparkling wines that I've had in years -- which is saying something, given the quality of $10 cava. So what's it doing in a mini-review? Limited availability, of course. It's fruitier and less closed than most Spanish bubblies, and somehow has a few French-like qualities. Highly recommended.
• Saintsbury Carneros Chardonnay 2008 ($20, sample): Screwcap. Fresh acidity. Bright pear fruit. Proper amount of oak. In other words, everything too many California chardonnays aren't. And yes, it's a value, even at this price.__________________________________________________________________________________
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