1999 Mark West Gewurztraminer, Sonoma County ($12)....

THE BALTIMORE SUN

1999 Mark West Gewurztraminer, Sonoma County ($12). Most California gewurztraminers are noticeably sweet, but this terrific example manages just fine without a lot of residual sugar -- giving it a striking resemblance to the classic dry wines of Alsace. It offers intense flavors of pears, peaches, citrus, cherry, tropical fruit and spices. Make no mistake, this is a big white wine with a whopping 14.5 percent alcohol. But it remains impeccably balanced and creamy in texture. It might be a little difficult to pair with everyday foods, but I could see this going well with roast turkey, foie gras or spicy Asian dishes. Actually, it's impressive just by itself.

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