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Summer 2011 Host’s Guide: Mediterranean Yacht Party: Wine

Freeman 2008 Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvée

Vintners Akiko and Ken Freeman produce this remarkable Pinot Noir from the vintage’s best barrels. In 2008, the Keefer Ranch fruit dominate the blend, which is deeply aromatic, conjuring scents of lavender, brown spice, and mushrooms. The palate is rich yet refined, combing luscious acidity with layers of cherry and mineral. It is a sophisticated accompaniment to the mushroom canapés and ricotta gnocchi. ($55)

Freestone 2008 Quarter Moon Vineyard Pinot Noir

This cool, coastal, single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Sonoma combines enormous structure with ethereal perfumes of red cherry, pomegranate, and fresh raspberry. Flavors of red apple, cherry, and rosemary inform the palate, and the finish is long, clean, and precise. Try pairing this complex red with the red lentil tarts with feta. ($100)

Alois Legeder 2007 Krafuss Pinot Nero

A brilliant, gemlike color plus a spicy nose of cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg mingling with scents of red currant and raspberry characterize this high-altitude red wine from Italy’s Alto Adige region. A pungent bite of pepper adds piquancy, making the slightly spicy flavor profile complementary to the tuna kibbeh nayeh. ($50)

Gramercy Cellars 2008 Lagniappe Columbia Valley Syrah

Syrah tends to be a chewy, meaty, inky wine, particularly in warmer climates. But this example from Washington state exhibits surprising restraint and refinement. The nose is headily perfumed with violets and citrus oil, yet the palate is cool, brooding, and pleasingly earthy. This pairs brilliantly with the quail kebabs. ($45)

Vall Llach 2007 Embruix de Vall Llach Priorat

Though this red blend is made from Celler Vall Llach’s younger vines in Spain’s Priorat region, the wine reveals inviting complexity in the glass. This blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, and Cabernet Sauvignon exudes scents of sage and black fruit. The palate is layered and spicy, the finish pure and lingering. This vintage makes a playful duo with the Moroccan-style lamb kefta. ($25)

Clarendelle 2003 Amberwine Monbazillac

This delicate dessert wine from the family that owns Haut-Brion achieves its honeylike texture and intensity from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been, in some cases, harvested late, and in others, infected with botrytis. The wine’s honeycomb, candied citrus, and sweet-tea flavors unite melodically with the pistachio and semolina flutes. ($35)