Cosentino 2000 "The Novelist" California Meritage ($9.99)
This pale-gold wine's ripe aromas focus on white fruit, ripe melons and juicy pineapple. Tropical fruit and buttery oak come together on the palate with full body and a rich mouthfeel, bolstered by 14.5 percent alcohol, startlingly powerful for a white. It's made from 80 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 20 percent Semillon, but frankly seems more akin to a New World Chardonnay than a Bordeaux-style blend in flavor except for its saving grace, a crisp, steely acidity that provides a sturdy structure. US Importer: (Mar 8, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: This is the kind of big and strong white wine that needs a sturdy companion. I would avoid seafood or fish in favor of poultry, pork or robust cheese dishes. We paired it with a hearty vegetarian dish, cauliflower and penne pasta in a creamy sauce of strong Swiss Gruyere Reserve cheese laced with Dijon mustard.

WEB LINK: http://www.cosentinowinery.com/

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