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I enjoyed two interesting wines with guests Saturday that often scare me off. Most Califorinia (not all) white blends are often too rich, and a tad to softn (sometimes sweet) for my palate. The other was a Chilean Carmenere. I’ve certainly tasted many Carmenere wines but most were a little rough around the edges.

These two wines may change my mind about pre-conceived notions!

carmenereCarmen 2010 Gran Reserva Carmenere – Delicious, rich raspberry and a smooth-mouth feel start to finish is what I’ve been looking for in Carmenere. Carmen delivers!

For my palate, it was pretty juicy wine but also dry and earthy. Good minerality and tannins. It definitely had a pepper finish that made it work well with a char-grilled ribeye. Too many Chilean wines have that ‘green taste” … green peppers if you will, and I’m not a fan.

Carmen 2010 Gran Reserva Carmenere, around $15 – trade sample, Highly Recommended.

FRN_Equilibrium_medFranciscan 2012 Equilibrium – This white wine comes from a great Napa producer and really delivers a delightful and well-balanced glass of wine.

Many of the California white blends I’ve had lately seemed out of what with 3-5-7 white grapes. Franciscan sticks with primarily Sauv Blanc, then throws in a little Chardonnay and Muscat to soften and round the rough spots. It works!

There is easy-to-spot white peach and great balance. This would be a wonderful match for those who enjoy spicy foods. I actually served it with a peach and mozzarella summer salad and it was spectacular.

Franciscan 2012 Equilibrium, SRP $23, trade sample, Highly Recommended.

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