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From Home Furnishing Business

Vintage Delights

By Home Furnishings Business in on March 2007 Old World. New World. Down under. Who€™s on top?

Wine lovers everywhere.

Never in history has there been so much choice among grape varietal and wine for enthusiasts. This issue€™s recommendations skew toward New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc€”a nod to warmer weather and to a region that€™s put Sauvignon Blanc back on the white wine world map.

Each reflects average retail; expect to pay two to three times in a restaurant.

Everyday bargains:

2005 Osborne Solaz Blanco: This Spanish producer is renowned for Rioja, sherry and port wines but here€™s a simple, crisp white fashioned from 100 percent Viura grape that provides melon ball and granny apple flavors against sufficient acidity. A delightful spring and summer treat. ($8-$9).

2005 Bodegas Juan Gil Wrongo Dongo: Maybe the goofiest label ever minted but this black berry, black cherry, plum concoction fashioned primarily from the Mourvedre grape makes this Spanish offering a delight. ($8)

2006 Matua Sauvignon Blanc: Some enthusiasts might take a pass on this widely-available Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, zeroing in on its screw-cap. That would be a big mistake. Everything you€™d expect from the signature grape of Kiwi is here. Don€™t pass up this crisp white at the price. ($11-$12).

2003 Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz: The Australian€™s have claimed the Syrah grape as their own€”though the French might beg to differ. But there€™s no argument this is a flat out beauty at the price with gobs of black cherry, cracked pepper and anise. ($13).

Super Premium:

2006 Lawson€™s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc: What distinguishes this New Zealand offering from what follows is just a hint of herbal edge. Here€™s another in a long line of Kiwi winners with this grape. ($15)

2006 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc: This New Zealand producer simply seems to own this varietal. From the Marlborough region, this winery delivers top-flight grapefruit, lime and peach that begs for shellfish. ($17).

2004 Hess Collection Chardonnay: This Napa Valley producer is ubiquitous at the fighting varietal end but its mid-tier in most years is where real value resides. Hess hit a home run with its €˜04 vintage. Layers of creamy, complex tropical fruit alongside melon and lemon hints. ($20).

2004 Louis Sipp Gewurztraminer: This French producer from Alsace is synonymous with value. This exotic grape thrives in its hands, sporting spice, tropical fruit and citrus flavors. ($20).

Luxury Class:

2003 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon: A fabled Napa Valley, California producer back in full stride, here€™s full-bodied currant, cassis, clove, cedar, vanilla and toast. ($40)

2003 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages: California€™s answer to Bordeaux, this Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine pumps currant, plum, blue berry, black cherry and blackberry against sturdy tannins. The name hails from its five-variety blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. ($75).

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