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Wine Review: Interest in wine akin to fine art appreciation

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It looks like the doom-and-gloom preachers are on their anti-wine crusade again, as I recently read several newspaper columns on the evils of wine – not alcohol, but wine.

There isn’t one thing that the nihilists haven’t attacked from hamburgers, hot dogs, the atmosphere and almost anything else that people might enjoy. Please do not take these clowns seriously because as soon as they finish trying to destroy wine, they will probably come up with facts which, according to them and not true science, that television can make the viewer sterile.

The small bit of alcohol in wine, usually about 12%, serves as a palate cleanser for the next bite of food. In the past, before refrigeration, it also served as a way to kill any harmful things that were often in their food and water.

An interest in wine should be in the same class as an interest in fine art or music. Wine should be appreciated for its individual character and charm, its ability to enhance a meal and above all, enjoyment.

I recently had an opportunity to sample some California works of art in liquid form that are what I call “the Burgundy twins,” a pinot noir and chardonnay along with a sauvignon blanc that impressed me.

Sea-Sun 2021 California Pinot Noir ($25)
The Sea-Sun winemakers have brought the best out of this difficult-to-work-with grape. Where many winemakers struggle with this grape, Sea-Sun has made it a star. The traditional aromas of cherries and rose petals that are the signature of pinot noir wines are prominent and easily discernible, and they meld beautifully with an aroma of cranberries. The cranberry aroma carries over to the flavor, where it mingles with cherry and plum. The finish of this wine proves to be just as interesting, displaying the flavors of cinnamon, clove, dark chocolate, oak and vanilla. These flavors carry over to the finish and slowly trail off, ending in a smoky sensation. This pinot noir is just a bit different than most of them from California, but it is about as enjoyable as they come.

Sea-Sun 2021 California Chardonnay ($25)
At last, a quality and affordable chardonnay that loudly and boldly announces its birthplace as California and has been made to appeal to the American taste. There is no searching to find the fruit in this chardonnay: It’s all there, up front and presents itself boldly. The most obvious aromas are apple and citrus, backed up by a host of summertime fruits. The flavor of this medium-bodied wine is a blending of every light-colored fruit that you have ever liked. This wine is a fine ambassador for California chardonnays and a cornucopia of flavor. If you have become tired of the look-a-like, boring chardonnays, try the Sea-Sun 2021 California Chardonnay as I am sure that you will be as taken with it as I was.

Emmiolo 2022 Monterey County California Sauvignon Blanc ($25)
This is a very easy drinking wine and a fine example of a California sauvignon blanc, but without accenting the grassy flavor that is often associated with this variety. Both the aroma and the flavor stress the melon and grapefruit characteristics of the grape variety. The display of fruit raises this wine from the ordinary to the position of an impeccable sipping wine. The Emmiolo 2022 Monterey County California Sauvignon Blanc is still the perfect wine to accompany Asian cuisine, shellfish and other lightly prepared seafood dishes, but it is also a wine to serve with salads and is a standout when accompanying pasta dishes with light white sauces.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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