IntoWine Founder Brad Prescott's weekly wine recommendations.

Argyle 2019 Brut Sparkling Wine, Knudsen Vineyard

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Founded in 1987, Argyle wanted to make sparkling wines that could hold their own with Champagne. Comprised of mainly Pinot Noir, there is 4% Chardonnay blended in with this 2019. What at first seems a mild sparkler, with notes of brioche bread, soft lemon and mild apricot, reveals a different side. The stone fruits and minerality come out mid palate and finish strong. Acidity is the real story here revealed with this wine, making this ideal with a variety of foods.

Whitehall Lane 2021 Malbec

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

It’s not that Malbec is a forgotten grape, it’s that it doesn’t get the love it deserves, and too often wineries seem to want it to taste like Cabernet. Enter Whitehall Lane, who makes this impressive Malbec that you will love - a Malbec that tastes like a Malbec should. The fruit is supported by a tannic structure that provides an earthiness and rusticity to it. Blackberry brambleberry, huckleberry and boysenberry all work together to create a rich wine that’s not over the top but not subdued either. The mid-palate reveals the wines’ acidity with notes of sandalwood and cocoa powder.

Bousquet Cameleon 2022 Chardonnay

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Bousquet has long been producing quality wines coming out of Argentina at enviable price points. This Chardonnay straddles that line between a linear reductive style and a more malolactic fermented, brighter style. It works. And that it takes these two worlds and combines them rather seamlessly. Yes, you get the upfront lemon, lime kefir, guava, apricot and white peach notes, but there is also that silky, smooth lightly buttery style that makes this an easy drinking wine. Additionally, the acidity is spot on providing support and structure for the whole of the wine.

Flying Goat 2023 Pinot Gris, Shoestring Vineyard

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$28.00USD

Flying Goat has been making wine in Santa Barbara for nearly 25 years. Best known for his various expressions of Pinot Noir, winemaker Norm Yost also produces sparkling wine and Pinot Gris. This is the first time Norm has used Gris fruit from the Shoestring Vineyard and the result is a bright, expressive, tasty Pinot Gris that will make you rethink just how good Pinot Gris can be. This has it all: citrus fruit, proper acidity, smooth on the palate and a wonderful finish.

Flying Goat Cellars

Lucas and Lewellen 2021 Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

Santa Barbara is Pinot Noir country, and the range of expressions in this county are varied. One of the stalwarts, having first started in 1975, is Lucas & Lewellen. For an inexpensive Pinot Noir, L&L does an admirable job of crafting a tightly wound Pinot with excellent fruit, good acidity, and oak influence (a mere 10 months in oak, only a small portion of which was new French) which doesn’t break the bank.

Turnbull 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Amoenus Vineyard

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$145.00USD

Comprised entirely of Cabernet Sauvignon, this differs from many Napa Cabernet in that there is a quiet rusticity to this wine. Rather than bright up front fruit, the fruit here is rather muted, offering blackberry, light blueberry, Rainer cherry, cocoa powder and white pepper. The tannic structure is fairly tight with a dusty, earthy quality. The light oak aging in all French oak provides the vanilla and campfire notes while giving the tannins room to exercise their importance in balancing the wine.

Acumen 2021 PEAK Cabernet Sauvignon, Edcora Vineyard

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

A rich and opulent style of Cabernet, this benefits from decanting, but it is less about tight tannins and more about letting the fruit open up to show its macerated side. This 100% Cabernet is replete with traditional Cabernet notes; blackberry, black cherry, blueberry and boysenberry. The oak aging brings on the vanilla and fine-grained tannic structure. The rest of the wine fills out with green tea leaf, sandalwood, earthy fruit, wild berries and moderate acidity.

Cuvaison 2022 Pinot Noir Debut Cru

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Cuvaison’s Small Lot program (typically wines produced under 300 cases) has been a goldmine for Cuviason and winemaker Steve Rogstad who shows his deft touch with nearly every wine in this portfolio. Using Pinot Noir heirloom clones (including Swan, a personal favorite of mine) this is clearly a step away from most Pinot Noir on the market. This drinks more Burgundian than California. The fruit is rather muted but more macerated (Steve calls it “elegant intensity”) and the support comes from the green tea leaf, light tobacco, earthy morel, dried thyme and spice notes.

Cuvaison 2022 Chardonnay, Kite Tail

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Kite Tail has always been a very expressive Chardonnay and this iteration is no exception. It deviates from traditional Chardonnay and delves into richer, more mature elements. What’s surprising then is that this iteration has less oak and less malolactic time than previous versions. Yet this still retails a wonderful acidity, character and aroma, not to mention a palate experience that brings in oak-like notes, without the cumbersome oak heaviness. All estate grown, all Chardonnay, this offers a nose of soft muted lemon, resin and butterscotch/gardenia.

MacRostie 2022 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

A terrific Pinot considering the price, this affordable wine showcases the rustic quality of Sonoma Coast fruit. Obvious strawberry, red raspberry, light pomegranate, and plum fill the palate. The weather along the Sonoma Coast also produces a brambly quality, more macerated deeper and richer red fruits along with an ideal acidity and moderate tannins. Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen wisely chose to keep the oak treatment minimal, using only 30% new French oak with reduced toast levels. These choices make this great with food - a delicate Pinot Noir that offers some heft and swagger.

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