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Randall Murray: Several new wine released into market fresh off the vine
0504WINE-Chardonnay
Artesa brings this supple white chardonnay to the marketplace from the Napa Valley, part of the Carneros region, which is famous for producing great chards and pinot noirs.

With apologies to every poet who ever lived:

Spring has sprung, so have new wines.

You gots your favorites and I gots mines.

Were you expecting Robert Frost?

Anyway, this is the time of year when wineries are releasing new wines and waving them in front of critics such as yours truly. I’ve come across some really nice wines in the past two months and want to share news of them with you. I have been assured that all are available in Georgia, but some may be harder to find locally than others.

First, however, I want to mention at the end of this column is information on how to contact me. I really enjoy getting questions or comments from readers. So feel free to shoot me an email.

Now for the wines.

RED

* Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Might as well start with the biggie. I hated to open this giant, but in the interests of science, I made the sacrifice.

If you wonder why Napa Valley has the cred it has, this stellar, Bordeaux-style red will tell the story. Made with fruit from legendary vineyards and handled with oodles of TLC, this offering from a Napa legacy producer is bloody near perfect and worth the big price tag of $170. It needs another two to three years in bottle to be ready and probably will age nicely for another eight to 10 years.

* Leese-Fitch Merlot 2014

Back to the sensible price point, this is one in a series of blended California wines that tumble nicely into my “value wine” category.

Made with a blend of merlot, syrah, renache, zinfandel and barbera from vineyards in Lodi and Paso Robles, it’s full of fruity flavors. But you’ll find sufficient tannins to make it a nice food wine. There’s a touch of spice from the zinfandel and syrah.

It really is a well-made wine and a good buy for $14.

WHITE

* Artesa Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2013

Artesa brings this supple white from the Napa Valley, part of the Carneros region, which is famous for producing great chards and pinot noirs.

Artesa is owned by the Codorniu Raventos wine-making family from Spain. Not only does Artesa produce stellar wines, the facility is a beautiful destination for a Napa Valley visit.

The wine reminds me of a cold green apple, with a light acid backbone. It is a great food wine or to sip on a nice spring afternoon while pondering the state of the world. It costs about $44.

* Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2014

I spent some time in this lovely area of Oregon a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed the half dozen or so wineries we visited. Then I took a nap.

Oregon does pinots, both noir and gris, to near perfection. And this crisp but fruity white really stands out. No oak is applied; it’s fermented in stainless steel to preserve the subdued fruit flavors.

Looking for a terrific seafood wine? Put on the brakes. This is it and costs about $18.

SPARKLING

* Ruffino Sparkling Rose

There is something enchanting about a pink sparkling wine. That is, if it’s a good one and not some terrible iteration of cold duck.

This pink cutie is just plain fun to drink. It will never be confused with the Taittinger Brut Pink Rose Champagne. But it also does not cost $90.

The Ruffino is made primarily with the Glera grape — used in the production of Prosecco — with a soupcon of pinot noir blended in for the light pink hue. It is not bone dry, with a sweetness level of an extra dry wine.

It is great with snacks, or you might want to pair it with something spicy hot. Or you could just sit on the porch and watch the sun go down while you sip. It’s about $15.

FAITHFUL HOUND FOLLOW-UP

Last fall, I mentioned a great South African red called Faithful Hound from Mulderbosch and got an email from a reader who wanted to know where to find it. I directed the reader to Venus Wine in Buford. They did not have it in stock but promised to look into getting some.

Of course, I discarded the email, so I hope the reader gets this message. Faithful Hound is now available. So give owner Jim Luttgens a holler and take a few bottles home.

Randall Murray is a Gainesville-area resident. Have a question about wine? He can be contacted at murrwine@aol.com. His column appears on the first Wednesday of the month and on www.gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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