Hayman & Hill 2002 Monterey County "Reserve Selection" Shiraz-Viognier ($11.99)
Spanning three continents in its marketing if not its style, this California wine adopts the Australian name "Shiraz," while emulating the practice of the French Northern Rhone by using a splash (7 percent) of white Viognier to "lift" the hearty red with the white grape's aromatic flavors. The result, sadly, is a bit spoiled by a whack of new oak that brings to the nose an unfortunate impression of freshly sanded wooden floors. Inky blackish-purple with a day-glo violet edge, the wine's woody, almost resinous oak aromas are less than appealing, but the flavor redeems the wine with bright and forward red-berry flavors and crisp acidity, with oak present only as a spice. US Importer: (Jan 3, 2006)
FOOD MATCH: A rare pan-seared flatiron steak helps bring the wine around, showcasing its fruit while diminishing that markedly oaky aroma.
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