Yering Station 2004 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir ($17.99)
This ruby-color wine is on the dark side for a cool-climate Pinot, showing crimson glints against the light. Leafy and herbaceous, cola and "tomato skin" aromas add a whiff of oaky spice; some red-cherry fruit is present, but it's well in the background. The flavor is surprisingly more ripe and bright than the nose suggests, focused on fresh red fruit, crisp acidity and soft tannins. Interesting if under-ripe, reminiscent of California Pinot of a generation ago; but it shows promise, especially in the flavor and structure. US Importer: Epic Wines, Aptos, Calif. (May 27, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: Keeping things simple to present the wine against a complementary background, I served it with medium-rare pan-seared grass-fed local rib eye, a fine match.

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