Welcome to the Wine-Flair Wine of the Week!  Yes, I know it sounds like a disgusting cheese. Or maybe a quiche from Germany. It's actually a delicious red wine made from a grape that's originally from upper Styria, now Slovenia, once part of Yugoslavia. The grape itself is also called Lemberger, but it's also known as Blaufränkisch, meaning blue Frankish. The wine's mix is 85% Lemberger, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenère, and 5% Mourvèdre. It's obviously an almost-unheard of grape and wine, with very little made and not easy to find unless you're in Austria. But I wanted to mention it because it's a great wine, and one to try if you can. The best producer I know of is…

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This wonderful white wine is the product of Randall (Randy) Graham, the quirky and unique founder of Bonny Doon, an enterprise that he created to produce American versions of the best Rhône wines. He's run into some tough times in the last few years, a visionary winemaker but self-described not-so-good businessman, and in January sold the brand to WarRoom Ventures LLC after 35 years at the helm. Thankfully, he'll remain as winemaker and on the board of WarRoom. Other labels he relinquished earlier include favorites Big House Red and Cardinal Zin. Picpoul, or in the French way, "Piquepoul" (sometimes Piquepou de Pinet) means "lip stinger" on account of its bracing acidity. It's typically grown in the south of France, but…

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I thought for a long time that Natalie McLean is a damn good writer and knew her way around a bottle and a vineyard or two. Last year some information came along to challenge that. But I had already disagreed with her when when she said (on her website) that every wine lover should have a "house wine." In my experience, that's precisely what people who are new to wine get wrong, and what often keeps them from learning about new wine places, varietals and styles. Is there anything wrong with enjoying a particular wine, and keeping several bottles of it on hand for guests and gatherings? No. But I can't tell you how many times I've visited friends and…

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If you're having, oh, 10 people over for a glass of red wine but don't plan to break out the Chateau Angelus, you might want to look into a mini-barrel from Sonoma's Red Truck winery. This thing holds 3 liters, the equivalent of four bottles, and it's designed - obviously - to look like a wine barrel, complete with "rings", an "oak" finish and "burned in" image and name. They're only offering it for sale right now at Sam's Club, but later in the year I understand they'll offer it much more widely. I haven't tasted (yet) this rather unusual mix of Syrah, Petit Sirah,Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre and Grenache. Curiously, though, the news release and all the subsequent wine industry…

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