Washington State is the 2nd largest wine producer in America, after California. The wine regions here are making incredible strides and one of the most auspicious places out of the 14 AVAs in the state is Red Mountain, a sub-appellation of Yakima Valley (which is, in turn, a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley).
Markham is better known for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, even Chardonnay, but Charbono? You may rightly ask…what is Charbono? It is believed that Italian immigrants came to Napa during the California Gold rush and brought Charbono cuttings with them. In Argentina its called Bondara, but it is assumed the grape is actually native to France, not Italy.
Pinot Noir is the 5th most planted grape in California and produces diverse iterations of Pinot. In 1994 J Vineyards began making Pinot Noir. What’s unique about this wine is that it is constructed from diverse appellations; Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands (70%), Sonoma’s Russian River...
Santa Barbara’s Byron Winery started in 1984 located on the Santa Maria Valley Bench above the erratic Santa Maria River. Using diverse clones, this “cellar blend” as winemaker Jonathan Nagy calls it, utilizes clones 2A, Swan, Pommard, and Benedict Selection to create a vibrant expression of a multi-layered Pinot Noir. All the fruit comes from the Santa Maria Valley and in fact all Byron Pinot Noirs are now single Vineyard designates. This wine introduces plum, black cherry, boysenberry, blackberry and an intriguing rusticity with a subtle but present acidity.
Albariño is one of the those grapes that, in the right hands, presents not only an alternative to the typical Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc that is ubiquitous on the market, but takes the best of what you want in a food-oriented white wine, and elevates it in terms of a floral and zesty nose, and comprehensive fruit and acids.
Duckhorn Vineyards has sourced grapes from Howell Mountain for more than a quarter century and has crafted a Howell Mountain bottling since 1989. Recognized as one of the Napa Valley’s best winegrowing regions, grapes from Howell Mountain are known for producing age-worthy red wines. The 2012, comprised of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, offers soft but intense fruit, is stunningly viscous and smooth, and fills the palate with bing cherry, wild berries, red currant, dried herbs and graphite, cedar, and back notes of earthiness and minerality, stone, and hibiscus.
Though Israel is one of the cradles of the wine world historically speaking, most people aren’t aware that this region still produces wine. There are currently about 60 commercial wineries and about 300 boutiques wineries in Israel. Psagot started in 2003 and their 2013 Cabernet is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon harvested from vineyards in the Jerusalem Hills at about 900 meters (3,000 feet). This wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with both pump-overs and punch-downs up to eight times a day. Following a full malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for 13 months. The result is a wine full of notes of ripe cherry, black berry, blueberry and pomegranate, along with brambleberry, black tea and muted sweet cedar. It offers moderate to tight tannins allowing the fruit to be center stage, a graceful acidity, and a medium finish, allowing for a diversity of food pairings.
Cabernet Franc in California typically is a different animal than Franc from its home in the Loire Valley in France. New World Francs tend to have hefty tannic structure, are overripe and too often resemble Cabernet Sauvignon, though they shouldn’t.
I cannot pretend to know what everyone prefers in terms of their wine choice. I can however use my own 18-year relationship with my wife to tell you what she prefers - Sauvignon Blanc, and I prefer something red; Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zin, Dolcetto and the list goes on.
As one of the largest landholders in Champagne and one of the oldest Champagne Houses dating from 1743, Moët & Chandon consistently turns out quality Champagne.