Grown high in the mountains of Uco, this Chardonnay is a blend of 10 different vineyard sites. This wine offers a lot of minerality and acidity, a step away from overblown butter rich chardonnays. And that’s why it’s the ideal food companion. Lemon lime, quince, peach, light guava and a hint of wild sweet grass permeate. There is a slight oak influence (eight months on the lees) but it is minimal and allows the fruit, acidity and freshness to come through. ORIGIN: Mendoza, Argentina. ALCOHOL: 13.5%.
The Alma de Cattleya wines represent quality wines without sticker shock. To prove that point the 2022 Sonoma County Pinot offers soft elements of strawberry, pomegranate, guava, rose water, red raspberry, and light citrus. This is a delicate wine, but with enough acidity and tannic structure. Aged just 11 months in French oak allows for the fruit to be more expressive and the quality in the bottle exceeds the price. ORIGIN: Sonoma County. ALCOHOL: 14%
It should be no surprise that this wine is a stunner. Chappellet has long delivered quality wines that exceed the status quo; nearly 60 years in fact. The fruit for this wine comes from Pritchard Hill, a well-know parcel that produces exceptional grapes. A classic old-school Cabernet, this offers blackberry, blueberry, huckleberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes with back notes of vanilla, sage, tight tannins, good acidity and the one thing that makes a wine sing – balance. Comprised of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, there are small amounts of Petite Verdot, Malbec and Merlot added in.
From Mendocino County, Saracina’s Rosé of Grenache is grown on sustainably farmed vineyards that are home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and local birds and wildlife. This offers black cherry, strawberry, blood orange and rhubarb notes, with both red and green apple in the mix. Interestingly there is a light sweetness that is counterbalanced by a light tartness. The bright acidity allows this to work well with a variety of different foods. ORIGIN: Mendocino County. ALCOHOL: 12.5%
Every year Flora Springs produces holiday wines, this year with a beautiful etched bottle (and a three pack of three different holiday etchings and blends) featuring turtle doves. A cabernet dominate blend, this offers soft, bright fruit of black cherry, blackberry, huckleberry, boysenberry, with back notes of green tea leaf, sandalwood, Asian pear, vanilla, camp fire and light dusty mocha. 18 months of aging in French and American oak barrels rounds out the fruit. They don’t make much but it makes a unique gift. 230 cases. ORIGIN: Napa Valley. ALCOHOL: 14.2
The Small Lot expressions of Cuvaison (wine typically under 200 cases and a focused identity) have become some of the most exciting and anticipated wines coming out of California. This latest Chardonnay expresses both traditional and non-traditional Chardonnay notes. Typical would be citrus, lemon lime, white peach and guava. Untypical shows kumquat, amber resin, a slight sour green apple and an even slighter butter rum hard candy.
What begins as a soft and velvety Pinot Noir, light and delicate, turns to a beautifully structured wine that offers excellent fruit, acidity, light tannins and layers of flavor. Typical of many Pinots, this begins with noticeable strawberry, red raspberry and black cherry notes, but then delves into more complex, green tea leaf, cedar plank, wild grass, light earthiness, cola, rhubarb and a hint of resin. At first blush this seems like a lovely Pinot Noir to have with dinner, but upon spending time with it, you realize the various facets.
Clearly made as nothing but an enjoyable glass of wine, which wine always should be, The Mill Keeper offers an incredibly viscous, smooth and velvety texture, leading to soft notes of blueberry, blackberry, and light mocha notes. In the background, vanilla, red raspberry, and Rainier cherries fill out the profile. What’s unusual about this wine is that it is pulled from multiple vintages and vineyard sites. The fruit is sourced mainly from vineyards in Napa and Sonoma that utilize sustainable management programs.
While common in Italy, and a grape native to the island of Sicily, you don’t find much Grillo is other parts of the world. And that’s okay as Italy does an admirable job with the grape. It offers good minerality, nice acidity and flavors of subtle lemon-lime, white peach, kumquat, apricot, resin and honeysuckle, light mango and other tropical fruit notes. In terms of food pairing, this is the kind of wine that is ultimately versatile, and Stemmari offers a terrific value. ORIGIN: Sicily, Italy. ALCOHOL: 13%