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By Michael Dresser | November 28, 2001
2000 Geyser Peak Chardonnay, Sonoma County ($12). Just when I was about to swear off California chardonnay, along comes this superb value from the highly reliable Geyser Peak winery. The Geyser Peak winemaking team seems to grasp the notion that fruit, rather than oak, is the point of a wine. Lush flavors of apple, lemon, tropical fruit, nuts and melon predominate - without going over the top. The oak influence is subtle, and the wine finishes with crisp, refreshing acidity. In terms of complexity, it blows away many a $20 California chardonnay.
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January 28, 2014
From: Sonoma County, Calif. Price: $24 Serve with: Duck breast, rack of lamb This is a smooth, suave, sophisticated merlot from a highly commercial winery that I can't help admiring. This is an ideal restaurant red - full-bodied enough to match with serious food, but perfectly ready yo be drunk now. It offers intense black cherry fruit, with subtle herbal notes, and admirable persistence and finish. It just goes down real easy. -- Michael Dresser
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FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | December 7, 1994
This unfiltered, barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc packs a lot of complexity and flavor into one very reasonably priced dry white wine. You can find nuances of pear, peach, honey, nuts, sweet oak and herbs in a wine soft-textured wine with a long, satisfying finish. It's as weighty as most chardonnays, but will complement a wider range of foods.
TRAVEL
By Stephanie Citron | December 6, 2013
There isn't much that goes on in Baltimore that doesn't include Tom Noonan. The president and CEO of Visit Baltimore is responsible for promoting the region and all of its venues as a destination for conventions, meetings, leisure travelers, day-trippers, and even family reunions. But being Charm City-centric doesn't mean that Noonan doesn't ever get out of town - quite the opposite. As a leader in the tourism industry, he also works with national organizations that teach travel marketing, a role that takes him to destinations far from Baltimore.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | February 21, 1996
Souverain continues to offer consistently fine value with this rare example of a moderately priced California chardonnay with character. It beautifully integrates flavors of apple, spices and vanilla with toasty oak that doesn't get out of hand.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | September 27, 1995
Longtime readers of this feature have probably noticed a pattern here: another year, another Marietta rave. No, the winemaker is not my cousin, it's just that Marietta Old Vine is one of California's greatest wine values. Supplies of this wine can get spotty, but astute wine merchants buy every case they can of this full-bodied, meaty red wine with concentrated blackberry fruit and delicious herbal overtones. Ignore the lack of a varietal name or vintage -- this wine should be stockpiled by the case, especially if you can find a retailer who will come close to the $6.46 a bottle price advertised in D.C.
FEATURES
By San Francisco Chronicle | September 13, 1991
Life Alert, the company that puts the "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercials on late-night television, has been sued for deceptive advertising by eight California districtattorneys.The $2 million lawsuit filed Wednesday in Sonoma County Superior Court claims that the maker of emergency medical alert systems uses high-pressure sales tactics and misleading ads to bully old people into buying its products."One 80-year-old woman was subjected to a six-hour sales presentation," said Jeffrey Holtzman, a deputy district attorney in Sonoma County.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | May 31, 2000
1997 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($18). It isn't inexpensive, but this cabernet sauvignon stacks up well against others in its price range and should be broadly available. It displays an appealing cigar box aroma, along with intense black currant, black cherry, smoked meat and mint flavors. In structure and weight, it bears a resemblance to a good Bordeaux. If you're looking for a white wine to precede this moderately complex red, Benziger's 1998 sauvignon blanc from Sonoma County is a fine value at $12.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2010
From: Sonoma County, Calif. Price: $18 Serve with: Barbecued ribs, spicy pasta Not for the faint of palate, this well-made Gallo product is a big red wine with a heady alcohol level but even more fruit. It boasts lush, ripe flavors of blackberry, wild berries and chocolate — kind of like a vintage port without the sweetness. It's a real mouthful that stacks up well against more exalted names. — Michael Dresser 2008 Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel From: Sonoma County, Calif.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | August 15, 2001
1999 Murphy-Goode "Liar's Dice" Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($19). This full-bodied, rich, creamy-textured zinfandel is a fine example of why Sonoma County is to zinfandel what the Napa Valley is to cabernet sauvignon. It displays lush flavors of blackberry, herbs and smoked meat and a long, satisfying finish. You can serve this wine with hearty pasta dishes, risotto, red meat or pizza. Murphy-Goode continues to be one of California's finest performers in its price class. While its wines aren't cheap, they offer consistent value.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | July 24, 2013
A former security guard at Greater Baltimore Medical Center was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison for attempted rape after he burglarized a Towson apartment last year, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said Ricky Bostic, 44, broke into a residence on York Road on May 24, 2012, and sexually assaulted two women in separate rooms of the home. Baltimore County police recovered fingerprints, DNA and a camera with pictures of one of the victims taken before she awoke. Investigators also recovered one victim's property at Bostic's Towsontown Court apartment, prosecutors said.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013
2009 Ferrari-Carano Tresor From: Sonoma County, Calif. Price: $50 Serve with: Prime rib, rack of lamb Yes, it's expensive, but if you are looking for a special-occasion red wine that you can drink with pleasure now, this is a fine choice. It's a Bordeaux-style blend of exceptional elegance and style. It's complex and rounded, with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, vanilla and chocolate. It's structured to age well but there's really no need to wait. -- Michael Dresser
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 26, 2011
This is not a wine for people with delicate Euro-palates. It's a full-throated, concentrated, ripe (15.5 percent alcohol) red zinfandel with a distinctive old-vines character. It offers deep blackberry fruit, hints of chocolate, coffee and herbs and more than a suggestion of vintage port minus the sweetness. Despite the high alcohol, there's no "burn" in the finish, and it goes down as smoothly as its starts. 2007 St. Francis "Old Zines" Zinfandel From: Sonoma County, Calif.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 26, 2011
Here's an intense, no-holds-barred sauvignon blanc that isn't for folks who are ambivalent about this bold white varietal. It's very dry, intensely herbal and fresh. There's a complex mix of flavors of figs, grass, lime, minerals and smoke. Wisely bottled under a screw cap. Best drunk over the next year. From: Sonoma County, Calif. Price: $19 Serve with: Shellfish, Creole dishes
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2010
From: Sonoma County, Calif. Price: $18 Serve with: Barbecued ribs, spicy pasta Not for the faint of palate, this well-made Gallo product is a big red wine with a heady alcohol level but even more fruit. It boasts lush, ripe flavors of blackberry, wild berries and chocolate — kind of like a vintage port without the sweetness. It's a real mouthful that stacks up well against more exalted names. — Michael Dresser 2008 Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel From: Sonoma County, Calif.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | February 14, 2007
2004 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($24) This winery is not the industry leader it was back in the 1980s, but this cabernet sauvignon is a strong showing for the brand - now part of Australia's Foster's Group empire. It's a lush, full-bodied red wine with impressive length and complexity. The flavors are typical California cabernet: black cherry, black currant and hints of vanilla. It's drinkable now but will repay five to 10 years of cellaring. Serve with beef, lamb.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | July 27, 1997
1995 Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($16).Thanks to Baltimore political writer Frank DeFilippo for this excellent recommendation of a big but graceful zinfandel with generous black-raspberry and black-pepper flavors. It offers impressive complexity and length without becoming overpowering, as Sonoma zins have been known to do. Supply is limited, so buy it now.Pub Date: 7/27/97
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER and MICHAEL DRESSER,SUN REPORTER | November 2, 2005
There's a racy, wild-berry nuance to this wine that lifts it out of the ranks of the ordinary. An imaginative blend of merlot, sangiovese, zinfandel and grenache, it delivers vibrant flavors of black cherry and spices. It's a medium- to full-bodied wine that is well-suited for immediate consumption. SERVE WITH // grilled steak or lamb, pasta or pizza
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