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2018 Giornata Fiano - Paso Robles, California

California winemakers have struggled over the decades to properly blend traditional Italian grape varieties with California sunshine. The results have often been tepid — or at least overripe. But Brian and Stephy Terrizzi, 2016 Chronicle Winemakers to Watch, are nailing the equation each vintage with their Giornata wines. From sultry Nebbiolo to inky Aglianico to juicy Barbera, these are wines of class and character, and their blends, Il Campo Rosso and Il Campo Bianco, are exceptional values.

“One of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles, Brian Terrizzi’s Giornata is dedicated to exploring the potential of Italian varieties in this part of California. They do a great job with all their cuvées, but I have a soft spot for their beautiful Fiano, a grape that I’d love to see planted more extensively in this region.” - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

The Fiano offers intense aromas of honey, almond and red licorice weave through fruit notes of melon, and orange peel. The structured palate balances firm acidity with flavors of honey and asian pear, finishing with saline minerality.

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2017 Big Basin ‘Dune and Mountain’ Pinot Noir - Monterey County, California

Since winemaker Bradley Brown founded Big Basin Vineyards in 1998, he’s been producing some of the Santa Cruz Mountains’ most refined, soulful wines. He excels in the modern, leaner style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that is becoming more commonplace in the region, but Brown is also one of the leaders in Rhone-style wines, especially Syrah, Grenache, and Roussanne.

“A gorgeous appellation-level wine, not to mention just flat out delicious. A wine of impeccable balance and total class, impossible to resist. A high percentage (85%) of whole clusters adds layers of aromatic nuance without pushing the wine into realm of greenness. Sweet red cherry, tobacco, mint, crushed flowers and mint are some of the many nuances that develop in the glass. There is so much personality and character here. In short, don’t miss it!” - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

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2014 Lafken Artisan Wines Cabernet - Alto Maipo, Chile

Lafken Artisan Wine is a small boutique estate located in Maipo Valley, south of Santiago. Proprietor Miguel Besoain is an enologist and wine entrepreneur. After graduating from the University of Burgundy, he spent ten years working on vineyards in France and Germany. In 2010 he returned to Chile with his wife Alexandra and children to continue a project he began in 1998, producing his own wine.

Miguel’s father administers the firm, while Miguel is in charge of the complete winemaking process. Their style involves small production, high quality wine made from grapes exclusively from their own organically grown vineyards.

The grapes for the Lafken Cabernet are 100% hand harvested, then cold soaked for 5 days in the winery. Fermentation occurs in small stainless steel tanks. Aging in 16 month old new French oak barriques allows fruitiness to be maintained while adding complexity. Black cherries, strawberries, and vanilla dominate the nose, while candied oranges and white pepper highlight these aromas on the palate. The wine offers a long, smooth finish with silky tannins.