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On more than one occasion I’ve written about my wine buddies on the blog and our frequent gatherings to try new wines, themed nights, blind tastings, and enjoy the good conversation and great wine.

A couple of the guys have job situations that have them out of the community for awhile so it’s always great when we can get the band back together. We were able to do that Friday night and had a dynamite lineup.

FriulanoLivio Felluga 2011 Friulano – I have to admit, this was my first Friulano and I loved it – so did the guys.

The Friulano region is as far north and east as one can travel in Italy. The wine is yellow-ish with fresh apple and citrus notes. I loved the rich mouth feel and balance. It has a hint of almond and even a bit of a grassy thing going on.

The Livio Felluga is the name to look for too. The Felluga family brough Friulano back after WWII, according to the winery website. Wine Enthusiast gave this vintage a great 90 points.

Livio Felluga 2011 Friulano, $26, Trade Sample, can find it higher and lower in the $20-range, Highly Recommended.

Turley 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel – The wine guys and I have had plenty of Zin but never Turley. That’s going to change!

2008-turley-zinfandel-old-vinesThe Turley old vine was our first red of the evening but might have been the best wine of the night. Simply put- it was stunning Zin.

Dark ruby red, spicy nose, incredible balance from tip of tongue to lingering finish, it was stylistic and silky with a rewarding finish. It had raspberry and pepper and all things that make Zin so alluring.

It’s an alcohol bomb but doesn’t taste like it at a whopping 15.6 percent.

Robert Parker gave this wine a stingy 89 points. Steven Tanzer a point lower at 88. It’s every bit that good and maybe better.

Turley 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel, $39.99, Very Highly Recommended.

toroSan Roman 2006 Toro – This is good as Spanish wine gets at a reasonable price point. I’ve had this wine on two or three previous occasions and it never disappoints.

This is a bold, muscular, in-your-face red wine that still has balance. Think smoke, tobacco, chocolate, and leather for this wine that is only seven years old. The critics all rave at 93-94 points.

Blackberry and dried fruit might best describe the palate. It’s big dry wine. We were enjoying this with shortribs which had spent the day in a crock pot. It was an awesome pairing.

San Roman 2006 Toro, prices all over from $30-$50, Very Highly Recommended.

Achaval Ferrer 2010 Quimera – This Argentinian blend from one of the country’s top producers just rocks. The wine is a unique blend of 31 percent Malbec, 20 percent Merlot, 27 percent Cab Sauvignon, 18 percent Cab Franc, and 4 percent Petit Verdot.

achaval-ferrer-quimera__92820.1359816257.1280.1280It’s something new from the winery and fits the description, often over-used, as a Bordeaux blend. These vineyards are 3,000 feet above sea level and represent some of the best regions in Mendoza.

It gets the classic treatment of new French oak, 40 percent, and is a reasonable 14 percent alcohol.

Plum, chocolate, and a hint of oak makes it a great wine with steak. We were sipping while tasting bites of a grilled ribeye and it worked great. It was not quite as big a wine as I had anticipated but certainly a good way to taste Argentina beyond all the mid-teen priced reds.

Achaval Ferrer 2010 Quimera, SRP $56, Trade Sample, Highly Recommended.

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