I have a couple of really great wines for review this week. One is a little harder to find than the other but both are worth the effort.

Tikal 2008 Patriota – Bonarda and Malbec have long been the foundation of Argentina’s winemaking. Winemaker Ernesto Catena is the son of a legendary Argentinian winemaker and he’s doing some awesome wines under the Tikal label.

I’ve been a huge fan of Bonarda since I first discovered it in 2006 in a small wine bar on a side street in downtown San Francisco. This blend is one of the best bottles I’ve ever had – particularly as a blend.

It has cherry, raspberry and it’s a big, supple wine. This wine would work with grilled or smoked meats. The second the juice hits your palate you’ll know the richness of this wine is something special. It’s one of my favorite wines in recent months. It’s widely available in better wine shops.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave the blend 92 points. (Tikal 2008 Patriota, $19.99, Highly Recommended)

Claudia Springs 2007 Zinfandel – I visited the winemaking operation of Claudia Springs in January and met winemaker Bob Klindt and his wife Claudia. I came away really impressed with the Claudia Springs Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. This wine is a blend from three different Zin vineyards. There is a wonderful black pepper finish to this wine that you expect but don’t always find.

On the front of the palate it has cedar, cranberry, and currant. I like the dusty feel in the mouth. They only made 292 cases of this wine so it’s not going to be easy to find. They do have several single vineyard bottlings as well.

Bob and Claudia don’t make a lot of wine, but if you see Claudia Springs – buy some! (Claudia Springs 2007 Zinfandel, Mendocino County, $24 Highly Recommended)

Here is a link to some material from my January trip. It includes a video with Bob talking about his winemaking.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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