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Wine Tag: H

Brad Ballinger

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Well, we've had a couple of easy letters if one has a liberal approach to consider wines from Europe, France, or Germany. But I would wager not too many have wines from Hungary at the ready, or want to drop the money for a bottle of one of that country's more-exported wines, Tokaji. But maybe you're waiting for "T" or plan to go back to "F" since that wine is made from furmint grapes. But I digress.

So what to do about H? Well, there is the German village of Hochheim, and the German vineyards of Himmelreich and Hermannshole, not to mention the grape huxelrebe and halbtrocken wines. In France, there are the regions of Haut Medoc, Hautes Cotes de Beaune, Hautes Cotes de Nuits, and Hermitage (we'll even give you Crozes-Hermitage). And, speaking of Haut, in additiona to Chateau Haut Brion, there's Haut Marbuzet, Haut Bages Liberal, Haut Batailley, and Haut Bailly. California has producers named Hanna, Heitz, Hanzell, Hess, Hogue, and Husch. It also has a vineyard named Hirsch, and a growing region named Howell Mountain. Australia has Hunter Valley and Henschke. Maybe you'll open a half bottle. Or maybe let us know what you pour for House Wine.

2003 Heinrich Zweigelt, Burgenland (Austria). Zweigelt is a cross between Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent. This wine is fermented in stainless steel, and aged in large oak vats and twice-used barriques. I expected the wine to be good, but it even surpassed those expectations. The nose is inviting with cherries, violets, and a bit of smoke. In the mouth the wine is juicy, but bright with acidity and layered with spice and smoke. Every whiff and sip revealed more complexity. The finish is long-lasting and fruit-driven. It's a wine to pour for your wine-loving friends to watch them do a double-take. But this bottle was enjoyed by just my wife and me.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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