Martini has been making wine in Turin, Italy since 1862, but has not often made a declared vintage iteration of Prosecco. Less expensive than Champagne, Prosecco offers not only a great alternative, but in many ways a much different expression of a sparkling wine, usually with less yeast and biscuit notes.
Chardonnay continues to be America’s favorite wine, out-selling Cabernet Sauvignon, its nearest competitor. Since the 4th of July tends to be warm, no matter where you watch fireworks, Chardonnay might be your go-to wine and the 2015 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy is a great addition to your Independence Day portfolio. 100% Chardonnay from the highly respected Sangiocomo Vineyard in the cooler Carneros region
Pinot Grigio has long had a reputation of being an afterthought wine; a second cousin twice removed from Chardonnay. It’s usually perceived as a mass-produced innocuous wine with little to no flavor. Certainly there are those examples out there on store shelves, but there are also Pinot Grigio wines that embody the subtle complexity that actually should be in Pinot Grigio, iterations that offer aromatics, minerality and understated flavors.
Adam LaZarre has been making wine a long time, but by his own admission, this Sauvignon Blanc, with grapes from the Santa Ynez Valley, is one of his most satisfying. Indeed stunningly sublime it offers a pure nose of honeysuckle, peach and pear, earthy resin, honeydew melon and sweet almond. This however is merely the beginning of the sensory intrigues of this wine.
Cabernet is king in Napa’s Stag’s Leap District and Shafer is certainly at the forefront of stellar wines in this AVA. Their One Point Five (which references the generation and a half between father and son) is comprised of 95% Cabernet with tiny amounts of Merlot, followed by Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine rested for 20 months in all new French oak barrels of Allier and Troncais woods. The nose is classic Cabernet; dark berry fruit and sweet oak, a thrill to the senses.
In spite of being the third most widely planted grape in California and being one of the primary grapes in Bordeaux, Merlot still has an uphill climb for respectability. Napa lays claim to a lot of Merlot but Sonoma County also produces wonderful Merlot's that are often under the radar, overshadowed by either Napa or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sea Smoke (so named for the clouds that hug and blanket the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara) began Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 1999, and has since established itself as one of the premier producers in this region. Dijon and Wente clones of Chardonnay are planted in loamy, clay shallow but well-drained soils on their estate vineyard.
Port is often considered a wine for the holiday or the winter months, sipping it front of a fireplace. But Port belongs on a dinner table anytime of year. The Cockburn’s Special Reserve is a blend of the traditional five varietals used to make most Ports: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta...
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...
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.