IntoWine Founder Brad Prescott's weekly wine recommendations.

Goldeneye 2020 Pinot Noir Gowen Creek

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

I have reviewed, favorably, the Pinot Noir from Gowen Creek for years. When you find a wine that offers such consistency, you stick with it. What Gowen offers is a sublime melding of fruit like black cherry, red raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry acidity, minerality and judicious use of oak. This wine has those in spades. Though the word “balance” is tossed around a lot in the wine industry, when you taste one, you know. Not only is this wine balanced, it is simply enjoyable to drink.

Decoy Unlimited 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This offers nicely balanced red fruit with minimal oak, solid acidity and decent tannic structure. Not an easy thing to find in a Merlot, and a Merlot at this price. Black cherry, black berry, huckleberry, red currant, light cedar and vanilla notes dominate and this is a very comprehensive wine. Mainly Merlot, there are small percentages of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak, only 40% of which was new, hence the light wood touch. What this ultimately offers is a robust Merlot that is well worth the price.

Cherry Pie 2021 Pinot Noir, Toro Hills

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

Any vineyard facing San Pablo Bay, like Toro Hills, is buffeted by wind and fog coming off the water. Typically fruit grown here is more fully developed. This Toro Hills Pinot has that depth of flavor, less bright strawberry notes and more raspberry, huckleberry, blueberry and blackberry with soft black cherry, spring wildflowers, and a slight earthiness. The acidity is spot on allowing for expressiveness with food while the mild barrel aging (10 months in barrel with just 30% new French oak) allows for a balanced approach and fruit over wood. ORIGIN: Sonoma County. ALCOHOL: 14.9%

2020 Calera Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir, Reed Vineyard

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$95.00USD

Calera has farmed their separate but distinctive vineyards since 1973. Limestone rich soil, high elevation, native yeast and whole cluster pressed are just some of the attributes of Calera’s program. These work together year after year to produce stellar wines. The Reed Vineyard fruit has more of an earthy quality to it. There are darker notes of black cherry, blackberry, huckleberry, raspberry and faint herbs The acidity is mild as are the tannins, yet it drinks very well, and cries out for food to help show off the fruit.

Duckhorn 2020 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

More mature than past vintages, this has nice tight tannins and acidity to make the fruit work well for aging long-term. The dusty fruit of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry and huckleberry gives way to light vanilla from the oak influence and slight cocoa notes. The oak certainly plays a major influence here, but it does not detract from the beautiful fruit that has been harvested for this wine. Though this wine has a lot of production, the quality is still amazing for the number of cases it produces That takes control, and focus by the winemaking team at Duckhorn.

2022 Quivira Rosé, Wine Creek Ranch, Dry Creek Valley

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

For 20 years Quivira Vineyards has produced a Provencal-style Rosé with Grenache as the lead variety. Additionally there is also 20% Primitivo, and smaller amounts of Counoise, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre. There is soft fruit and soft acidity here, a wine that doesn’t overshadow any companion foods. Strawberry, stone, fruits, light citrus, black cherry, rhubarb, and subtle lemon lime fill out the palate. This is not a wine that announces itself and takes control, this is a subtle wine that is meant to be part of the meal.

Almare Spritz, Pompelo Rosa

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

The origins of the Italian Spritz date back to the late 1800s when German soldiers found the local Italian wines too strong. The soldiers added a “spritz” of water to the wine to create a lighter beverage. Using 100% Glera grapes then infused with botanicals, bitter herbs, and flowers, the addition of pink grapefruit and a little carbonation creates a delightful sparkling beverage low in alcohol just in time for the summer months. Slightly sweet with light grapefruit, there is just a hint of bitterness on the finish.

Lucy 2022 Pico Blanco

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$26.00USD

This second vintage of Lucy’s Pico Blanco from Monterey County continues its impressive winemaking style. Comprised of 85% Pinot Gris and 15% Pinot Blanc, this is both elegant and exciting; an enticing white wine for people who don’t like white wines. It offers crisp acidity, fresh flavors of lemon zest, lime kefir, quince, white peach and Asian pear, lithe honeysuckle, fresh baked bread, light resin and a stony minerality. The Lucy label is from the Pisoni brothers and the Pisoni family has been producing wine from Monterey since the early 1970s.

Chalk Hill 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Windy Ridge

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$52.00USD

For over 50 years Chalk Hill Winery has been at the forefront of Sonoma wines. Their Windy Ridge Sauvignon Blanc is a testament to the Chalk Hill AVA. Harvested from a single block and using clone 378, this offers soft passion fruit, lemon-lime citrus, light resin, honeydew melon, apricot and quince. It also offers a solid minerality throughout the wine. Shying away from the more grassy iterations, this feels like an “adult” Sauvignon Blanc, more restrained and complementary to a diversity of foods.

Donnafugata 2017 Mille E Una Notte

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$82.00USD

An almost shy wine, this flagship red from Donnafugata does not announce itself with overt fruit. The wine needs some time to coax out the subtle flavors and the tight tannins at the outset tell you to wait a while before it opens up. When it does plum, muted strawberry, pomegranate, baked cherry and rose water dominate the opening. Comprised of Nero d’Avola, Petit Verdot, and Syrah, the tannins and acidity support the judicious use of oak. Aged 14 months in small French oak barrels it then spent 20 months in bottle rest. The result is a lovely wine that will work with a variety of foods.

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