Bucko's New Releases

© 2006 by Randy Buckner
June 2006

Late Spring 2006 Releases

Hooray! Summer is here! It is time to reach for those light, white summer sippers and the fruity reds for our BBQ outings. Boo! Winter arrives for our Southern Hemisphere friends. It's time for you to blow the dust off of those Ports.

In addition to the usual wine reviews this month, you'll find evaluations of two olive oil samples - Portuguese and Italian versions to compare and contrast. Also included is a review of an Idaho vodka sample. As wine lovers, I know we all love fine food, as well as the occasional diversion from wine. Here is a link for some great vodka cocktails from Forbes magazine. Be patient - the recipes are presented in a slide show format:
http://www.forbes.com/foodwithwine/2005/03/16/cx_np_0316feat.html

Another 100 new and current releases are presented for your inspection. The dual rating system evaluates quality (the first number) and value (the second) on a 100-point scale. No wines scoring below 80 points are listed. All prices are the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Vendor prices are often less expensive. As always, enjoy a bottle with dinner tonight.

Cabernet Sauvignon wine glass

2002 Adelaida, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Viking Estate, Paso Robles, California, $75, 308 cases. This deeply-hued wine gives off aromas of blackberries, cassis, and cedar. Full and elegant on the entry, you'll find silky but firm tannins, lush fruit, and delightful balance; 90/88.

2002 Adelaida, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Viking/HMR Estate, Paso Robles, California, $45, 419 cases. Blackberries, cherry liqueur, cedar, and vanilla carry from the nose to the mouth, with just a touch of tomato leaf. Tannins are well managed; 86/85.

2002 Adelaida, Cabernet Sauvignon, San Luis Obispo County, California, $28, 1,616 cases. This deep ruby wine gives off aromas and flavors of black cherries, cigar box, cedar and vanilla. Medium to full on the palate, with moderate tannins; 85/85.

2003 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Meritage, Artist Series, Columbia Valley, Washington, $48, 1,370 cases. Deeply hued, the wine exhibits rich red and black fruits and dusty, spicy notes. Full and jammy in the mouth, the racy acidity gives a nice kick; 89/88.

2003 Clos Du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, $30, 28,000 cases. This deeply-hued wine displays aromas and flavors of cassis, warm spices, and a kiss of oak. Full, but not overblown, with well-managed tannins; 88/88.

2003 Columbia Crest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Two Vines, Columbia Valley, Washington, $8, 200,000 cases. Aromas of cherries, fresh sawn oak, dill, and cocoa highlight this light, balanced, simple wine; 83/83.

2003 Cosentino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, $45, 2,328 cases. Cosentino has it all singing in harmony here - black fruit, coconut, toasty French oak, silky smooth tannins and balancing acidity; 90/90.

2002 Dry Creek Vineyard, Meritage, Dry Creek Valley, California, $28, 6,800 cases. This deep ruby wine is well balanced in the mouth, with uncomplicated ripe black fruit, vanilla, and oak nuances; 85/85.

2003 Feather (Long Shadows), Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, $55, 437 cases. Almost black in the glass. This one is hard not to like. Aromas speak of ripe black cherries and dark chocolate, while the wine is full, dense, and elegant in the mouth. The tannins sneak up on the finish, demanding three to four years of aging. Randy Dunn was the guest winemaker; 90/90.

2002 Grgich Hills, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, $58, 12,100 cases. Aromas and flavors are reminiscent of cassis, truffle oil and French oak. Full and elegant on the entry, the tannins then give you a hefty punch - needs cellar time; 86/85.

2004 Hogue, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 19,924 cases. Juicy black cherries, vanilla, and cocoa carry throughout this middleweight offering. Tannins allow early consumption; 84/86.

2003 Kendall-Jackson, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vintner's Reserve, California, $18. Cherries, cola, cedar, and vanilla highlight this wine. Very well balanced and fruity, this easy drinker does itself proud for the price point; 85/87.

2003 Louis Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California, $17, 139,000 cases. Medium bodied, with moderate drying tannins, the aromas and flavors reveal blackberries, cherries, and barrel notes; 84/84.

2003 Mirassou Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, $10, 82,700 cases. Black currants, berries, and chocolate unfold in this simple but fruity wine. You can certainly do worse for ten bucks; 82/82.

2003 Penfolds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 407, South Australia, $25. A ruby/brick red in color, the wine gives off black fruit, mint, chocolate and dill spice scents. Sporting a backbone of moderate tannins and crisp acids, you'll find modest fruit flavors and a long finish; 85/85.

2004 Rosemount Estate, Cabernet Merlot, South Eastern Australia, $12. Tart plums, strawberries, and herbs cascade from the nose to the mouth, with juicy fruit flavors and soft tannins; 84/86.

2003 Snoqualmie Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Columbia Valley, Washington, $23, 1,200 cases. Deep ruby in color, the nose is an equal mix of red fruits, herbs, and new oak. Tannins are firm but tolerable, with oak spice dominating the flavor profile; 84/84.

2004 Sockeye, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, $12, 3,104 cases. This simple but quaffable light-ruby Cabernet delivers cherry cola and milk chocolate aromas and flavors. Drink now; 82/82.

2002 Valley of the Moon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley, California, $20, 3,000 cases. Well balanced in the mouth, the generous aromas and flavors express blue and black fruits, vanilla, and toasty oak; 87/87.

Chardonnay wine glass

2004 Adelaida, Chardonnay, HMR Estate, Paso Robles, California, $30, 144 cases. Lemon curd and vanilla beans waft from the glass. Very crisp on the palate, the flavors lean towards lemons and leesy notes, with judicious oak use; 86/86.

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $13, 225,000 cases. Very soft, creamy, and oaky, with lemon, spice and butterscotch conveyed throughout; 82/82.

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chardonnay, Canoe Ridge Estate, Columbia Valley, Washington, $20, 9,100 cases. Generous fruit flavors greet the palate in a nicely-balanced package. Apples, spice, and vanilla cream lead the charge. Tasty; 86/86.

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chardonnay, Indian Wells, Columbia Valley, Washington, $17, 20,000 cases. This one is soft, creamy, and spicy, with modest tropical fruit and vanilla notes delineating the wine; 84/84.

2004 Clos Du Val, Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California, $22, 11,700 cases. Pineapples, lemons, and oak are expressed on the nose, whereas toasted oak, butter, green apples and lemons prevail in the mouth. Full, balanced, and nice for the style; 86/86.

2003 Columbia Crest, Chardonnay, Grand Estates, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11, 225,000 cases. Light gold in color, the wine has apples, caramels, and loads of timber carrying from the nose to the palate; 82/82.

2004 Dry Creek Vineyard, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California, $18, 17,416 cases. Light gold, soft, and creamy, the aromas and flavors are defined by citrus and pear fruit, hazelnuts, and French oak; 84/84.

2004 Estancia, Chardonnay, Monterey, California, $12, 155,000 cases. Toasty oak, caramels, apples, and hazelnuts define the wine, all wrapped up in a crisp, balanced package. Nice for the style and price point; 84/86.

2005 Shingleback, Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $18, 2,416 cases. Golden straw in color, the wine is a soft, creamy middleweight that offers up lemons, melons, and toasty French oak; 85/85.

2004 Sockeye, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $12, 4,494 cases. Light, simple pear and oak nuances are presented - quaffable at best; 80/80.

2004 Washington Hills, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 3,913 cases. Apples and oak showcase this simple sipper; 81/81.

2003 White Heron Cellars, Chardonnay, Columbia Cascade, Washington, $10. This light gold wine has honey and dried fruit aromas. It is soft, round, and fruit forward; 84/85.

2005 White Knot, Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, Australia, $12, 12,000 cases. This unoaked Chardonnay has a light nose of citrus and white peaches, which repeat in the mouth. Delicate, round, and balanced; 83/84.

Chenin Blanc wine glass

2005 Dry Creek Vineyard, Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg, California, $11.50, 12,800 cases. Always an annual winner, this one continues that record. Tangerine and citrus peel aromas lead to full-bodied notes of green apples, limes, and grapefruit; 86/87.

2004 Snoqualmie Vineyards, Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, $7, 5,000 cases. Off dry, soft, simple, and fruity, with pear, lemon, and caramel notes; 80/80.

Gewürztraminer wine glass

2005 Hogue, Gewürztraminer, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 23,913 cases. Peach aromas prevail, with just a hint of spiciness. There is barely enough acidity to handle the 2.14 percent residual sugar; 82/82.

2005 Kenwood, Gewürztraminer, Sonoma County, California, $11, 550 cases. The wine is soft, sweet, and simple, with some lychee, honey and ginger root notes; 80/80.

2004 Okanogan Estate, Gewürztraminer, Okanogan Valley, Washington, $13, 190 cases. Sporting a typical Gewürzt nose, this wine is simple, viscous, off-dry, and ready to drink now; 81/81.

Merlot wine glass

2003 Clos Du Val, Merlot, Napa Valley, California, $25, 5,250 cases. Medium to full in weight, the aromas reveal black fruits, licorice and herbs. Flavors repeat on the palate, with a long, satisfying finish; 87/87.

2002 Cosentino, Merlot, Reserve, Napa Valley, California, $42, 676 cases. Black fruit, dark chocolate, toasty oak and vanilla highlight the nose. Full and generous in the mouth, the tannins and oak need 3-4 years to integrate; 86/85.

2003 Dry Creek Vineyard, Merlot, Dry Creek Valley, California, $18, 3,080 cases. Black cherries, plums, American oak, and spice are apparent on the nose and expand on the palate. Firm tannins need time; 84/84.

2004 Frei Brothers, Merlot, Reserve, Dry Creek Valley, California, $20, 47,400 cases. This middleweight Merlot shows nice balance, with black cherries, cedar, and vanilla spice delineating the wine; 86/86.

2004 Hogue, Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 36,373 cases. Cherries and black raspberries are presented in a straightforward package with drying tannins; 81/81.

2004 Reynolds, Merlot, South Australia, $10. The wine is simple, fruity, with a streak of mint to add interest to the cherry cola and clove notes. Drink now; 81/81.

2004 Stone Cellars by Beringer, Merlot, California, $8. The wine is very soft and simple, with modest tannins. Black cherries, rhubarb, and herbs define the wine; 80/80.

2004 Washington Hills, Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 4,852 cases. A simple quaffer for those grilled burgers on the deck, offering straightforward black fruit flavors and soft tannins; 80/80.

2003 Windy Point, Merlot, Yakima Valley, Washington, $18, 191 cases. Cherry and berry fruit lead off on the nose of this middleweight. The wine shows nice balance, supported by rounded tannins; 84/84.

Miscellaneous wine glasswine glass

2004 Adelaida, Viognier, Paso Robles, California, $30, 316 cases. Light gold in color, with tropical fruit and delicate floral notes on the nose. The wine is round, balanced, and fruity, but shows no typicity to me; 85/85.

2002 Cosentino, Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, California, $45, 498 cases. The nose displays a mix of chocolate, mint, black fruit and vanilla, which does an encore in the mouth. Tannins are firm but rounded, with tangy acidity giving zip; 86/86.

2003 Penfolds, Cabernet Shiraz, Bin 389, South Australia, $25. Black fruit, floral notes, leather, and anise define the wine, all riding on a backbone of tart acids and rounded tannins; 86/86.

2003 Penfolds, Old Vine Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre, Bin 138, Barossa Valley, Australia, $22. The nose is a pleasant mix of red and black fruits, cocoa, and light oak. Effusively fruity, the wine is well balanced and jammy; 87/88.

2004 Penfolds, Shiraz Mourvèdre, Bin 2, South Australia, $15. Black cherries, oak and Baker's chocolate delineate the nose, while the palate shows more pomegranate and berry flavors. The tannins are well managed, the finish crisp; 85/86.

2004 Rosemount Estate, Shiraz Cabernet, South Eastern Australia, $12. The wine is defined by straightforward mixed black fruit and spice. The soft tannins have a green edge to them; 82/82.

2004 Rosemount, Shiraz Grenache, Australia, $12. Here's a soft, uncomplicated drink that you can enjoy now for the berry, plum and modest oak flavors; 83/84.

2005 Rosemount, Traminer Riesling, Australia, $10. This is a simple, sweet, cookie-cutter wine, with lychee, apricot and tropical fruit notes; 82/82.

2004 Shimmer, Red Blend, Columbia Valley, Washington, $15, 3,000 cases. A 50/50 blend of Shiraz and Merlot, the wine is soft, simple, and balanced, with cherry, plum and oak notes; 83/83.

2003 Valley of the Moon, Sangiovese, Sonoma County, California, $16, 2,100 cases. Red berry fruit with a hint of leather unfolds on the nose. Moderately tannic, the wine offers flavors of dark fruits and judicious oak; 83/83.

NV Washington Hills, Rainier Red, Columbia Valley, Washington, $8, 7,997 cases. A soft, simple, fruity quaffer that displays black fruit and herbal notes; 80/80.

2003 Windy Point, Three Points, Yakima Valley, Washington, $16, 223 cases. Here's a soft, simple, fun, fruity blend to pair with grilled foods. Crushed berries and cherries highlights the wine's profile; 83/83.

Pinot Gris wine glass

2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Washington, $13, 43,000 cases. Green apples and honeysuckle define the wine. It is somewhat simple but tasty. Serve with shellfish; 83/83.

2005 Cosentino, Pinot Grigio, Solano County, California, $18, 1,070 cases. This pale-straw Gris radiates aromas of citrus and floral notes. Tangy acidity breathes life into the peachy/citrus fruit; 86/86.

2005 Cycles Gladiator, Pinot Grigio, California, $11, 25,000 cases. Brilliant straw in color, the wine is packed with aromas of melons, citrus and floral notes. Grapefruit and melon flavors dominate the palate, with a bitter bite on the finish; 83/83.

2005 Ecco Domani, Pinot Grigio, delle Venezie, Italy, $11. Grapes for this wine come from northeastern Italy. Tropical fruits and white flowers unfold on the nose and palate. It is light, clean and crisp - a nice summer refresher; 84/85.

2005 Meridian, Pinot Grigio, California, $10, 49,300 cases. Citrus peel and white peach notes are found in this soft, dry, straightforward wine. Pair with grilled veggies; 80/80.

2005 Ridgefield, Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10. Pale straw in color, with fresh sliced pear aromas and flavors. It is light, crisp, and clean, with just a hint of sweetness; 83/84.

2005 Stone Cellars by Beringer, Pinot Grigio, California, $8. Soft, simple, and quaffable at best, the wine offers citrus and canned pineapple notes; 80/80.

Pinot Noir wine glass

2004 Clos Du Val, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, California, $24, 5,100 cases. Warm spices, dark tea, and black cherries enchant the nose. Full in the mouth, the ripe flavors mirror the nose. Modest tannins allow early consumption; 87/87. 2003 White Heron Cellars, Pinot Noir, Columbia Cascade, Washington, $13. This garnet-colored Pinot radiates aromas of black cherries, leather, and vanilla. It is tart, moderately tannic, with straightforward cherry and berry flavors; 83/83.

Rhone style wine glasswine glass

2004 Adelaida, Rhone Style Red, Paso Robles, California, $26, 648 cases. A blend of five red Rhone varieties, the wine has a complex nose of cherries, white pepper, and cedar that repeats on the palate. Medium bodied in style, with silky tannins and a lingering finish; 85/85.

2004 Adelaida, Rhone White, Paso Robles, California, $25, 520 cases. A blend of 52 percent Roussanne and 48 percent Grenache Blanc. Citrus and melon notes define this very soft wine. The finish is somewhat short; 84/84.

2004 White Heron Cellars, Roussanne, Columbia Cascade, Washington, $15. Brassy colored, with roses, dried herbs, and grassy notes on the nose. Round and crisp, the grassy/herbal notes continue in the mouth; 82/82.

Riesling wine glass

2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 553,500 cases. Not too unlike the Indian Wells, with peach, melon, and floral notes. It is soft, sweet, and simple, but pretty tasty for the price point; 82/82.

2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Riesling, Indian Wells, Columbia Valley, Washington, $17, 12,500 cases. Peach, melon, and floral notes abound in this medium-bodied, off-dry wine. It would be much better with enough acidity to offset the 2.72 percent residual sugar; 83/83.

2005 Columbia Crest, Riesling, Two Vines, Columbia Valley, Washington, $8, 71,000 cases. You'll find peaches and spice and everything nice except the acidity lags behind the 3.5 percent residual sugar; 82/82.

2005 Eroica, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $22, 25,000 cases. A special partnership between German and American winemakers, this is usually at the top of Washington Rieslings. Light gold in color, the nose is packed with pure peach aromas. Off-dry at 1.6 percent residual sugar, the acidity manages to carry it pretty well. You'll get a blast of peaches in the mouth as well, which lingers endlessly on the palate; 89/89.

2005 Hardys, Riesling, Stamp of Australia, South Eastern Australia, $7. A tinge of green shows through the straw color of this soft, simple, off-dry summer quaffer; 80/80.

2005 McWilliam's, Riesling, Hanwood Estate, South Eastern Australia, $12, 24,000 cases. Orange, lime, and slate nuances radiate from this straw-gold Riesling. The wine is delicately crisp, clean, and sports threshold sweetness; 85/85.

2005 Snoqualmie Vineyards, Riesling, Winemaker's Select, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11, 23,000 cases. Apricots and spice abound, but like so many New World Rieslings, the acidity does not stand up to the residual sugar, which stands at 5.04 percent here; 81/81.

2005 Washington Hills, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 3,325 cases. You'll find apricots and orange peel aromas and flavors here, but no acidity. A soft, simple quaffer for a summer fruit plate; 80/80.

Sauvignon Blanc wine glass

2005 Bogle, Sauvignon Blanc, California, $9. Known for their QPR (quality price ratio) wines, Bogle does it again. The wine is light and fruity, with aromas and flavors of limes, herbs and grassy notes; 85/87.

2005 Fauna, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, $12, 16,464 cases. The nose is a lovely mix of limes, gooseberries, and tropical fruits. Presented in a light-bodied package, the wine is balanced, crisp, and just the ticket for that seafood dish tonight; 87/88.

2005 Grgich Hills, Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $25, 19,410 cases. The wine is extremely aromatic on the nose, with layers of lemongrass, melons, and grapefruit unfolding. Sporting bright acidity, the wine delivers generous fruit flavors and a very long aftertaste; 91/91.

2005 Kendall-Jackson, Sauvignon Blanc, Vintner's Reserve, California, $11. Always dependable, this crisp, clean, straightforward quaffer is perfect for those summer outings. Enjoy now for the citrus, melon, and sweet pear notes; 84/85.

2005 Kenwood, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California, $13, 144,000 cases. Never failing to please, this vintage is no exception. Loads of melons, citrus zest and grassy notes intermingle on the nose and then expand on the palate. Generous and balanced; 88/89.

2004 Okanogan Estate, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Orchard Hills Vineyard, Columbia Cascade, Washington, $13 (375 ml), 210 cases. Very lovely late harvest fruit aromas and flavors weigh in at eight percent residual sugar, but the finish drops off quickly; 84/85.

2005 Sterling, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $15. Gobs of grapefruit and melon notes unfold on the nose. Well balanced and fruity in the mouth, the finish is long and refreshing; 87/87.

2005 Whitehaven, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, $20, 60,000 cases. If you are looking for a gooseberry and jalapeno style of Sauvignon Blanc, look no further. The aromas and flavors scream gooseberries and jalapenos, along with peach flavors and tangy acidity. A fun wine; 89/89.

Spirits

Blue Ice, American Vodka, Idaho, $20. Only three percent of the world's vodka is made from potatoes. It takes 9 ½ pounds of Idaho Russet Burbank Potatoes to produce each bottle of Blue Ice. The water comes from the 200-foot-deep Snake River Aquifer. Master Distiller Bill Scott performs a four-column distillation and a five-stage filtration to produce one of the better vodkas I have tasted - crystal clear with a delicate flavor profile; 93/94.

Syrah wine glass

2003 Adelaida, Syrah, Paso Robles, California, $26, 648 cases. Dark in the glass, the wine displays modest, juicy black fruit, a hint of smoke, and moderate oak; 85/85.

2002 Adelaida, Syrah, Estate Reserve, Paso Robles, California, $55, 243 cases. Almost purple in the glass, the wine displays a mixed bag of red and black fruits, new leather and toasty oak. It is balanced and generous, but a little less interesting than their Glenrose bottling; 87/86.

2003 Adelaida, Syrah, Glenrose Reserve, Paso Robles, California, $55, 223 cases. Black fruit, smoke and berries dance on the nose. Very elegant on the entry, with silky tannins and great balance. Flavors mirror the aromas; 90/90.

2003 Adelaida, Syrah, Reserve, Viking Estate, Paso Robles, California, $55, 311 cases. Deep black fruit aromas and flavors, game, and dark wood notes are presented in a full, generous package; 87/85.

2002 Columbia Crest, Shiraz, Grand Estates, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11, 40,000 cases. Mixed red and black fruits and generous oak carries the length of the wine. Tannins are a bit drying on the finish; 82/82.

2003 Estancia, Syrah, Central Coast, California, $15, 5,000 cases. Deeply hued, blackberries and smoked meat make up the flavor profile. Smooth, simple, and fruity, enjoy this one now with grilled fare; 83/84.

2003 Penfolds, Shiraz, Kalimna Bin 28, South Australia, $22. Aromas of black cherries, milk chocolate, violets and oak radiate from this deep ruby Shiraz. Medium to full in the mouth, the wine is crisp, rounded, with plum and berry fruit; 85/85.

2003 Penfolds, Shiraz, Bin 128, Coonawarra, Australia, $22. Berries, oak and warm spices intermingle in the nose. Very crisp and fruity in the mouth, berry fruit predominates; 85/85.

2004 Reynolds, Shiraz, South Australia, $10. Soft tannins greet the palate, followed by simple black cherry, plum, and smoke aromas and flavors; 82/82.

2003 Wild Horse, Syrah, Paso Robles, California, $22, 5,249 cases. Dried fruit, herbs, and barrel notes are followed by black raspberry flavors and generous spicy oak; 83/83.

2003 Windy Point, Syrah, Yakima Valley, Washington, $17.50, 534 cases. This is a smooth, balanced wine, with modest cherry, berry, and spice aromas and flavors that lend themselves well to BBQ; 84/85.

Zinfandel wine glass

2002 Adelaida, Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California, $25, 1,447 cases. You'll find lots of nice brambly fruit, cedar and vanilla aromas and flavors in a crisp, balanced package. There is a bit of heat on the finish (15 percent alcohol); 87/87.

2003 Wild Horse, Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California, $18, 3,389 cases. The 15.3 percent alcohol is not obvious here. Light to medium bodied, this Zin doesn't beat you up with extraction. Mixed berries, raspberry jam, and dried herbs delight the senses; 87/88.

Olive Oil

I do not feel qualified to rate olive oils - I've never been involved in an olive oil judging, nor do I know their criteria. This does not stop me from knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Both of these oils are quite good in my opinion. Enjoy!

Riccardo Baracchi, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscany, Italy, $14. Yellow green in color, the oil is thick, with no roughness or pungency. Lovely green olive and artichoke flavors abound, with just a hint of nuttiness. The oil leaves a long, smooth feel in the mouth. This is imported and sold by the California Wine Club.

Quinta da Vila Velha, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Douro Valley, Portugal, $NA. Dark yellow green in color, this oil is very aromatic on the nose, with green olive and grassy notes. Thick, with a touch of pungency, you'll find plenty of green olive flavors, with just a touch of pepper. The olives are sourced from a Symington family estate vineyard.

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