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Sunday wine tasting

For many years we’ve dined at Oliver’s on Thanksgiving, so we thought we’d try it for Easter dinner this year. Sometimes I bring my own wine to taste for this column, but I thought this time we’d take advantage of Oliver’s special Sunday wine pricing: half off regular wine and one-third off reserve wine. I went online in advance to check out the list, and found many I’d like to try.

Our regular server Jake was enjoying the holiday with his family, but Patrick did an excellent job taking care of us.

Here are a few of the wines I chose, with the approximate Sunday sale price:

  • 2006 Tor Cimarossa Vineyard Cabernet: Reserve $92 (regularly $138)
  • 2007 Fisher Vineyards Mountain Estate Cabernet: Reserve $74 (regularly $110)
  • 2008 L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet: Regular $36 (regularly $72)
  • 2007 Pahlmeyer Red Meritage: Reserve $151 (regularly $226)
  • 2008 Andrew Will Sorella Meritage: Regular $65 (regularly $130)
  • 2010 Flowers Pinot Noir: Regular $47 (regularly $94)
  • 2009 Kistler Pinot Noir: Reserve $71 (regularly $106)
  • 2009 Two Hands: Bella’s Garden Shiraz: Reserve $80 (regularly $120)
  • 2010 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape: Reserve $134 (regularly $200)
  • 2008 Ferrari-Carano Black Muscat dessert wine: Reserve $32 (regularly $48)

I have tasted wines from most of these vineyards; the L’Ecole, Andrew Will, and Flowers are awesome wines and great bargains. The Pahlmeyer and the Beaucastel are unbelievable wines, and with Oliver’s Sunday discount they are worth splurging on for a special occasion. My favorite Black Muscat is from Philip Togni, but the Ferrari Carano is excellent.

We enjoyed these wines with many special dishes from an excellent Easter menu: Seared Fois Gras, crispy octopus, pan-fried oysters and Ici pizza for appetizers; George’s Bank sea scallops, chicken Milanese, prime filet mignon and Alaskan crab and black spaghetti for entrees; and toffee bread pudding, chocolate pot de crème, rhubarb berry pie, coconut cream pie and banana cream pie for dessert. Chef Lennon Lewandowski and pastry chef Jeanne Rollo outdid themselves.

Tasting at home

We’ve been traveling a lot this year, so this wine column deadline snuck up on me; at the last minute we rallied to taste some more wines that might be worthy of recommending. My wife picked up seven bottles, and we asked some friends for help with the tasting. They brought La Nova New York Style pizza to accompany the tasting — always a bonus. There were three I would recommend from this tasting:

2009 The Verdict Cabernet Sauvignon Australia, $19.99 or less

This one has a screw cap, so I wondered whether the wine would be good. There are many fine wines that now have twist-offs, so I just need to change my mindset. This wine is excellent and well worth the money, with a beautiful deep purple color and tons of blueberry and blackberry. I also like the long finish. Everyone loved this wine and the bottle was finished very quickly.

E Locations Red Wine Spain, $19.99 or less

The company behind Locations aims to make the best possible wine from a given country or location. Wines labeled “E” are produced from grapes in Spain, “I” are sourced from vineyards in Italy, “F” are from France, etc. For this tasting, we enjoyed the “E,” and I thought it was well worth the price. I tasted berries and a little cocoa with some nice spiciness.

2012 Bedrock Syrah California $28 or less

I have been tasting many Syrahs lately and am beginning to think about them the same way I think about Cabernets (loving both). This was my first tasting of the Bedrock, and I liked it. I think it might be even better opened and decanted an hour before we drink it, to open it up. There was plenty of dark fruit, plus a little smokiness and spice; a good wine for the money.

Warren T. Colville is Publisher and President of The Buffalo News.

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