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The Heritage Red from Bedrock Vineyard is from a Zinfandel-based blend composed of 22 inter-planted varieties planted in the 1880s in Red Hill clay-loam soils, using no-till cover crop farming, and native yeast fermentation. Zinfandel really shines from these old, gnarled vines. The concentration of flavor that you get from the very low yields adds richness to the wines without having to pick them late and overripe. The nose shows a mix of violet, minty eucalyptus, and ripe, but not syrupy, purple plum. The palate shows additional complexity with a touch of cocoa powder, black tea, and black cherry. Rich and comforting, this will be excellent in the colder months! Michelle DeWyngaert
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
Bloomer Creek Vineyard is lovingly cared for by Kim and Debra Engle using organic methods, no herbicides, and no irrigation.Depending on the vintage, the Cabernet Franc at Bloomer Creek gets a different treatment. In cooler years, like 2020, the fruit is left in mostly whole clusters and is aged in stainless steel for a lighter, fresher style with crunchy red fruit and brambly vines. Definitely meant to be chilled and enjoyed young!
Doug Tunnell would most likely call himself a farmer before he called himself a winemaker, as he takes his role as steward to the land very seriously. When he and his wife took over the Brick House property in 1990 it had been beaten down with industrial chemicals and they immediately halted all chemical treatments and began the conversion to organic, and then Biodynamic farming. As the name would suggest, the 'Dijonnais' bottling from Brick House comes from their eight acres of Dijon clone Pinot Noir planted on a south facing slope. Despite this being on of the warmest spots in their vineyard, this wine is light, ethereal, and elegant. Notes of dried earth, dusty rose petals, red plum, and shitake mushroom on the nose. On the palate are bright, crunchy red fruits, currant, red apple skins and freshly turned soil with gentle, velvety tannins. I enjoyed every drop of this bottle, but will certainly put a few away to see it evolve over the next five years or so. Michelle DeWyngaert
Broadside is a project of very talented winemaker Chris Brock. The Cabernet is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, 10% of which are new. The resultant wine is remarkably fresh and full bodied with an interesting spicy character and plenty of bright, tangy dark fruit.
As with all of Broc Cellars' wines, there is something so joyful and exuberant about this red blend! They are committed to only working with vineyards that do not use any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers, and the wines never have anything added other than occasionally a small amount of SO2. This vintage of Love Red is a blend of 77% Carignan, 15% Valdiguié, 8% Syrah from a combination of 70 year-old vineyards in Solano County's Green Valley, and Mendocino, both are dry farmed and organic. Notes of wild cherry, violet, red plum skin, and tree bark on the nose, and on the palate ripe, juicy plum, black cherries, and just enough tannin to give the wine some backbone. Best served with a slight chill! Michelle DeWyngaert
Chris Brockaway makes a wide range of California wine but the common denominators are that they must be made without additives (other than a small amount of SO2 as necessary), always fermented with indigenous yeasts, using grapes from vineyards that do not use synthetic chemicals (many of them certified organic), and of course they must be delicious. The blend comes from the Ricetti, Rosewood, and Wirth Ranch vineyards in Mendocino and Solano Country Green Valley and is 85% Valdigue, 14% Zinfandel, and 1% Trousseau. The grapes are foot-stomped and left on the skins for twelve hours and then fermented/rested in stainless steel tanks. **arrives mid-June**
Chris Brockaway makes a wide range of California wine but the common denominators are that they must be made without additives (other than a small amount of SO2 as necessary), always fermented with indigenous yeasts, using grapes from vineyards that do not use synthetic chemicals (many of them certified organic), and of course they must be delicious. The blend comes from the Ricetti, Rosewood, and Wirth Ranch vineyards in Mendocino and Solano Country Green Valley and is 85% Valdigue, 14% Zinfandel, and 1% Trousseau. The grapes are foot-stomped and left on the skins for twelve hours and then fermented/rested in stainless steel tanks.
From the folks who run Hobo Wine Co., here we have the delicious new vintage of one of our favorite inexpensive Cabernets from California! Tart blackberry and ripe cassis mix with herbal hints and wildflower on the nose while broadly gracing the firm, rich, powerfully tannic palate. Sourced from many lesser known but all sustainably or organically farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma county. This years bottling is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 2% Malbec. The fruit is fermented in stainless steel and then aged for nine months in neutral oak barrels.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards started in 1978 when Dr. Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the unique soils of Cooper Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Today, the estate has more than 100 acres dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. A great value and classic Oregon Pinot with notes of dried leaves, black cherry, macerated raspberries, and freshly turned earth. This vintage is a bit darker and denser than the previous vintage, but by no means overripe or heavy. A great pairing with roasted butternut squash with sage! Michelle DeWyngaert
Cathy Corison's wines eschew the bold, heavy-handed flavors and dollops of massive French oak embraced by her Napa Valley counterparts, instead focusing on teasing deeply concentrated, ripened fruit from the deep, stony alluvial soils of her vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena.
'Entre Nous' is a blend of fruit from La Colina Vineyard in Dundee Hills and the Four Winds Vineyard in the McMinnville Coast, all 100% Pinot Noir. This blend brings the ripeness and juiciness of the more inland vines, and the lift and elegance from the coastal influence. A small portion of new oak barrels and the rest neutral, frames this wine with a touch of baking spice, nothing dramatic, that will only continue to integrate as it ages. The nose has a beautiful floral, rose water aroma with notes of freshly picked white cherry, raspberry, and a sense of the volcanic soils that line the Willamette Valley. The palate is perfectly clean, almost austere with powdery tannins, but balanced by ripeness and power from the La Colina fruit. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is the newest release of Dashe's Vineyard Select, meant to be a food-friendly, "bistro wine". The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 9% Teraldego, 5% Tannat, 3% Mourvedre, and 3% Petite Sirah. The fruit for this bottling is sourced from a variety of vineyards Sonoma County, Contra-Costa, and Clarkesburg to create the perfect balance of ripeness and complexity. Each variety is fermented separately then aged for 14 months in 1-year-old French oak. Though I have not yet tasted this vintage, the Dashe wines have been a staple at Chambers Street for their consistently tasty Zinfandel. Michelle DeWyngaert
A beautiful example of Pinot Noir from the Demeter certified Johan Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Exposed to cooling winds from the Van Duzer Corridor, it is the last picked of the Day Wines giving it a delicate freshness. The grapes are left 30% whole cluster during fermentation and then the juice is aged for 18 months in 15% new French oak, the rest neutral. This wine feels like Oregon to me; simultaneously lush and juicy, and also crisp and vibrant. Notes of freshly turned soil, wild raspberries and currants, dried leaves and herbs unfurl with time in the glass. On the palate it begins with crunchy red fruit, follows with the earthy sweet and savoriness of roasted beets, and finishes with lingering gentle, but present tannin. While the vibrancy of the fruit is fully enjoyable now, this should continue to improve for many years to come. MIchelle DeWyngaert
We love Steve Edmunds and everything he stands for - he's a nice guy, a great winemaker and a talented musician (I once did a campfire duet with him of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," a memory I'll treasure forever). But let's get back to his wines, and in particular this 2015 North Canyon Road Syrah. It is sourced from two vineyards in the Sierra Foothills: Fenaughty, planted in the late 1990s, and Barsotti, with vines quite a bit older. The volcanic clay of Fenaughty contributes rather dramatic floral notes and silky texture, while the ancient granite of Barsotti gives brightness and tension. The result is truly classic Syrah, with notes of violet, blue and red fruit, a dash of white pepper and cool freshness at the back end and generally evocative of the Northern Rhone wines that first inspired Steve. This already has five years of age but will continue to improve for another ten years and likely beyond. Sam Ehrlich
One of our favorite rosés each year is this joyful rosé of Gamay Noir from Steve Edmunds! This year's fruit comes from a blend of the Barsotti Ranch and the Witter Vineyard in El Dorado County. 2020 was a frightful year for many reasons, not least of which were the devastating wildfires that destroyed many vineyards, but thankfully these high elevation sites were spared. Unusually for this bottling, the wine went through full, natural malolactic fermentation which lends this vintage a bit more weight on the palate, but remains bright and crisp. A perfectly refreshing rosé with notes of fresh strawberries sprinkled with salt, lime zest, and pink grapefruit! Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a vibrant Bordeaux-blend for summer! Clocking in at only 11.3% ABV it is full of acidity and freshness, but does not lack on flavor or grip. The Elizabeth's Vineyard is located on the Eastern shore of Seneca Lake on silty-loam over shale. The 2019 blend is 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The fruit is foot-crushed as whole clusters, with once daily punchdowns throughout natural fermentation, then pressed and moved to old oak barrels where it aged for nearly a year. Notes of stewed raspberry, dried rosemary and tarragon, dried roses, and forest floor on the nose. On the palate is tons of acidity keeping this light and ilfted, with grippy, tongue-coating tannins perfect for pairing with something fatty, fresh off the grill. This wine really starts to open up after an hour in a decanter, but is even more expressive after several hours or even a day. Michelle DeWyngaert
Eminence Road has been working with fruit from the Lamb's Quarters Vineyard for several years now, and the quality is consistently great. Located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake on soils of silt-loam and gravely loam. The grapes are foot-crushed as whole clusters and fermented spontaneously before the juice is moved to neutral French oak where it ages for about a year and then bottled by hand, unfined, and ulfiltered at only 11.9%ABV.
Let me start by saying this is not your parent's Zinfandel. This is a delightfully refreshing, 100% carbonic maceration of Zinfandel from the high elevation, Baldinelli Vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley. The vines here are roughly 30 years old, grown on sandy-loam soils, which comes through on the palate with powdery tannins. The juice goes through a long 21 day fermentation, then age for eight months in tank to preserve its freshness.
Drinking a Pinot Noir from Eyrie Vineyards is all the proof you need that these wines of the Willamette Valley deserve a place on the world's list of the most expressive and age-worthy wines. This single vineyard bottling from Roland Green stuck out the most to me in a tasting of five different Eyrie Pinots for its intense and captivating aromas. The Roland Green vineyard is positioned at about 550ft elevation planted over 30 years ago on rich volcanic soils, and like all their vineyards, the vines are own-rooted, non-irrigated, and certified organic. The nose is a powerful blend of ripe red and black cherry, tree bark and damp moss, a bit of salt and on returning to the wine, a touch of something smoky, like peat. The palate is concentrated with flavor and acidity. A beautiful wine that I cannot wait to revisit! Michelle DeWyngaert
Another stellar vintage of Folk Machine Pinot Noir showcasing the best of Central Coast fruit. More on the leaner side of Pinot Noirs rather than some of the fuller, higher octane wines from further inland. Kenny Likitprakong blends fruit from the Mission Ranch and Cedar Lane in Arroyo Seco, and a bit from the Brosseau and Tom Ritchie Vineyards in the Sonoma Coast. The grapes were fermented whole cluster with native yeasts and then kept on the lees with just occasion stirring to enhance the texture of the wine. On the nose are notes of ripe strawberry, red currant, sweet basil, and a bit of fresh potting soil. The palate is lean and fresh, with the softest tannins, finishing as a decidedly earthy example of California Pinot Noir. Serve this with a chill and pair with nearly any dish! Michelle DeWyngaert
I can't say that I've had much Syrah from Willamette, and indeed the Havlin Vineyard is relatively young (planted in 2009), but I'm already intrigued to find more. The vineyard is 100% dry-farmed and LIVE sustainable certified. The soil here is silt loam over ironstone bedrock, which not only helps keep the yields low on these younger vines, but also imparts a distinct mineral backbone to this wine. 20% whole cluster in the fermentation, aged for 18 months in neutral French oak, and then bottled with just a bit of SO2 in accordance with Mike Hinds' minimalist philosophy. The nose is rich with a touch of dark, bitter chocolate, and the palate presents a really beautiful, concentrated texture with black pepper and dried herbs. Perfectly savory, this wine is calling to be paired with something roasted. Michelle DeWyngaert
For the first time, the Ghostwriter Pinot Noir was bottled entirely from Ahlgren Vineyard fruit. Winemaker Kenny Likitprakong described this vintage as more high-toned and a bit leaner than previous vintages. The grapes are fermented with 50% whole clusters and then aged in neutral barrels. This wine is a tribute to the late Dexter Ahlgren who had lovingly planted and tended this nearly hidden vineyard in 1976.
It is Mimi Casteel's incredible dedication to 'regenerative agriculture' that makes this wine from the Willamette Valley so special and sought-after. Her farming practices go beyond organics and work to actively restore the health of the soil and the land surrounding the vineyard, creating a living, breathing ecosystem. She believes, and I can't help but agree, that this unlocks more flavor and complexity in the grapes because more nutrients and biodiversity is available to the vines. Positioned along an east-facing slope of the Eola-Amity Hills, the Hope Well vineyard experiences an intense diurnal shift that helps maintain freshness even in this warmer vintage. The 2019 vintage was 100% destemmed, aged in 10% new oak.
Though this variety has more fame in sparkling wines from Champagne, I have long been fascinated by still Meunier wines, and this bottle from Keep Wines is the perfect example! The fruit comes from the certified organic Yount Mill Vineyard in Napa, which as been farmed by the same family for over 100 years. 20% whole clusters are used, fermented in stainless steel and then aged for six months in neutral barrels before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Even at only 11.5% alcohol this wine has plenty of substance. On the nose are notes of black cherry, garrigue, red plum, crushed raspberries, and peppery allspice. On the palate is the perfect balance of elegance and rustic earthiness, with lingering, powdery tannins. Michelle DeWyngaert
Before becoming winemakers, Hank and Carole were enamored with the wines of the Southern Rhône and Provence, especially of Domaine Tempier in Bandol. This 100% Mourvèdre rosé feels like a love letter to Tempier. Grown organically on volcanic soil from the Sumu Kaw vineyard pressed as whole clusters into tank and puncheon. It goes through natural fermentation and full malo, and rests on the lees for almost a year before bottling, where it ages for another year before its release. This is a rich, savory rosé with notes of white cherry, apple blossom, and sweet, savory quality that reminds me of sautéed onions in the best way. Michelle DeWyngaert
One of the first wines I ever loved was old-vine California Zinfandel, so I was very excited to taste this expression from Maître de Chai. The Stampede Vineyard was planted in the early 1920s with own-rooted Zinfandel on decomposed granite. Inspired by the wines of the famous Ridge Vineyards, this bottling is a field blend of mainly Zinfandel, with a bit of Mission and Carignan. The fermentation is done with 50% whole cluster bunches in open-top neutral oak and then aged for one year. The wine is a classic Zinfandel mix of fresh, ripe, and also dried red plum and raspberry. The tannins are present and driving, but not aggressive, well balanced by its fresh acidity, and a peppery finish. This wine will be excellent with flavorful game meats, and I look forward to trying it again in several years to see how it has progressed. Michelle DeWyngaert
Steve Matthiasson is a dedicated organic farmer and low-intervention winemaker. This is old-school California Cabernet Sauvignon at its finest, made even more elegantly this vintage because of the relatively low temperatures throughout the season. (Thankfully harvest was completed before the wildfires took over!) The blend for 2017 is from six different Napa vineyards from Coombsville, Rutherford, and Oak Knoll ; 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine is gently extracted with minimal pump-overs and fermented at a low temperatures. It is aged for 20 months in mostly used and less than 20% new French oak which adds just a touch of baking spice to the aroma and a silky texture to the tannins. At only 13% ABV this is by no means a burly or jammy California Cab, this is much more reminiscent of Napa wines from the 1970's.
A beautiful, classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from a selection of vineyards making this an incredible value for Napa fruit. The idea was to take lots of Cabernet that didn't quite make it into the higher end bottling and blend them together without too much extraction, for a fresher "table wine" offering that you don't feel guilty opening right away. The fruit is fermented at cool temperatures, low and slow, then aged for 20 months is mostly older oak with a just a few new barrels for a kiss of spice. Notes of plums, black cherries, and sage, with a touch of hoisin and baking spice. What is most exciting about this bottling is the general sense of energy - it's snappy and bright with a slightly gravelly texture. The oak influence is hardly noticeable, just delicious Napa fruit that has obviously been well-looked after.
Sean Minor is a negociant production working with high quality vineyards throughout the central and north coast of California to create fresh, easy drinking, great value wines like this classic California Pinot Noir. Fermented with 100% de-stemmed grapes to emphasize the ripe fruit and aged in oak barrels to give it those quintessential sweet oak spices.
Mount Eden Vineyards have been the standard bearers of quality California fruit since the 1940's, and have remained focused on healthy winegrowing as the key to making great wine. Positioned near the coast of the Santa Cruz Mountains up at 2000ft elevation, they are perhaps more well known for their cool-climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but their Cabernet Sauvignon is just as compelling. Because of the high altitude and ocean wind this wine does have great acidity, but being positioned above the fog line gives their vines abundant sunlight and drier conditions leading to a complete ripeness, even for the Cabernet. It was a very low-yielding year, but that made the fruit all the more concentrated. The blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc & 1% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French and American oak for two years. The extended time in barrels and subsequent years resting in bottle mean have allowed the oak flavors and tannins to fully integrate. Notes of blackberry, ripe purple plum, cassis, rosemary, thyme, cacao nibs and forest floor mingle on silky, powdery tannins. This still shows vibrant fruit now, but should also mature beautifully with another 5+ years in the cellar. Michelle DeWyngaert
Pearl Morissette wines are proof that if you can grow it organically (and deliciously) in Niagara, you can do it anywhere. Typically the Metis Rouge is all Cabernet Franc, but this vintage Francois Morissette decided to add in a bit of Gamay and Pinot Noir, all fermented whole cluster, vinified separately, and then blended together. The nose leads with earth and garrigue, and follows with juicy raspberry and currants. The palate is structured and concentrated without being heavy, and just enough vegetal undertone to let you know it's Cabernet Franc dominant, but not enough to take away from how approachable this wine is. I'll be drinking this with grilled vegetables or salmon filet. Michelle DeWyngaert
Planted 25 years ago on a former seabed that had been uplifted millons of years ago (but which is still littered with seashell fossils!) the 'Scallop Shelf' bottling is a blend of different clones and plots from the Peay estate vineyard. The vineyard is certified organic, and nearly dry-farmed (except for an occasional need in the hottest points of August), they remain untilled, and fertilized by their own compost made from leftover pomace. This blend is created to highlight the cool, coastal climate and elevation of the vineyardl intended to be the most floral, elegant of the three estate bottlings.
Richard Luftig, one of New York's best sommeliers, has made a Cabernet known for phenomenal quality and price: Pied a Terre Cabernet! Always one of our best-selling American reds, 2015 is a deep, ripe, and focused vintage for Pied a Terre. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that has classic California character but more structure and reserve than a lot of riper wine. The tannic structure is tightly woven, with fine acid backbone and lush cassis, blackberry, and slightly redder berry fruit. This is a California Cabernet meant to be consumed with food, and will pear excellently with New York strip steak, pork loin, or coq au vin. Andrew Farquhar
80% old vine Carignan from the Trimble vineyard in Mendocino and 20% Zinfandel from Porter Creek's own vineyards, this dry rosé is one of my favorites each year. This is not just a light, quaffable "summer water"; this is a serious, age-worthy wine that happens to be a rosé. The biodynmically farmed Zinfandel lends bright red fruit, and the old-vine Carignan gives the wine depth and savory notes. By fermenting and aging the wine in neutral barrels, the crisp acidity is softened around the edges, and the time spent on the lees gives this wine a creamy, luscious feel on the palate as well as food-friendly salinity. Though this wine has so much to offer now, my experience with 2-3 year old bottles of Porter Creek rosé convince me to stash a few bottles in the cellar. Michelle DeWyngaert
Perhaps what I love most about California wines is that there are no rules to follow! This crazy blend from Evan Lewandowski is a combination of red and white grapes fermented together going through a full carbonic maceration and made without any additions or subtractions. The fruit is sourced from the beautiful Fox Hill Vineyard planted in the 1980's in Mendocino and consists of Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo ~30% Arneis, and a splash of Montepulciano. This is a complex light red wine, but always supremely refreshing, so we recommend serving well chilled, as you would a rosé.
The 'Juvenile' is a great way to taste the classic and enduring style of Turley Zinfadel without paying a fortune for one of the single vineyard bottlings. This is a blend of grapes from the youngest vines on 18 different vineyards.
This is a single-vineyard bottling from the Dusi Vineyard, on the west side of Paso Robles, which consists of own-rooted, head-trained vines planted in 1945 on mostly alluvial soils. The warm climate and dense soils lead to this fuller-bodied, richer style Zinfandel.
The Fredericks Vineyard was planted in 1937 on a hillside up at 900 feet elevation, a rare find indeed. The vines are head-trained on steep terraces and certified organically farmed. The wine is aged in 80% neutral, 20% new oak (of which 80% is French oak) for 15 months before bottling.
The 'Juvenile' is a great way to taste the classic and enduring style of Turley Zinfadel without paying a fortune for one of the single vineyard bottlings. This is a blend of grapes from the youngest vines on 18 different vineyards.
This is such a great value for Sonoma Pinot Noir! By creating lasting relationships with high quality, organically farmed (some certified, all avoid using chemical sprays and employ cover crops where possible) vineyards, the winemakers of Valravn are able to offer a snapshot of the Sonoma County for a really great price. The fruit is fermented in open-top stainless steel with about 15-20% whole clusters used, and then aged in ~20% new French oak for one year. For each vineyards fruit, the wines are fermented separately and then blind-tasted before creating the perfect blend. On the nose are notes of clove, stewed cherry, treebark, red plums, and a touch of black pepper. The palate is juicy and concentrated, with notes of baking spice, red currant, raspberry, sun-baked soil, and even a bit of blueberry. Very tasty California fruit with just the right amount of new oak! Michelle DeWyngaert
A really lovely bottling of California sunshine, this Chardonnay from Bacchus is fruit-forward, buttery and easy drinking. Enjoy with roast chicken or creamy pasta dishes. Bacchus is a project from winemaker and wine director David Gordon who set out to create high quality wines at a great value that showcased the best of California vineyards. I'm not saying you should sneak this into a movie theatre to make the perfect pairing for popcorn, but I'm also not *not* saying that..Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a Gewürztraminer that might just change a few hearts and minds about the grape. In the wrong hands, Gewürztraminer can become cloying and overpowering with the scent of Grandma's potpourri, but this wine from Kenny Likitprakong shows some serious restraint. Sourced entirely from the Rancho Llegado vineyard in Monterey County, the frequent cool winds of the area maintain the much needed acidity to balance this wine. Banyan was designed by Kenny and his father with their Thai heritage in mind, and as such this Gewürztraminer is the perfect pairing for South-east Asian cuisine or anything with a bit of spice to it. Though it is fermented nearly dry, it maintains a softness with notes of ripe nectarine, a touch of tropical fruit, sage, and bright, fresh gardenia blossoms. Michelle DeWyngaert
A bright, frothy, Finger Lakes pet-nat! Bloomer Creek is proof that organic farming and natural wine-making really is possible in the Finger Lakes! This sparkling Riesling is bottled with a bit of juice from the 2020 slow-fermenting outdoor cask of Riesling as the 'liquer de tirage' and then released without disgorging leaving the wine with a hazy golden glow. Slightly off-dry giving it notes of juicy, slightly over-ripe nectarine drizzled with honey with plenty of acidity to keep it perfectly refreshing!
This is one of the finest expressions of Chenin Blanc that I have tried this year. This is a single vineyard bottling from the Union School Vineyard in the southern Willamette Valley, picked with just a touch of botrytis, fermented to dryness and aged in neutral puncheons and then bottle with just a small addition of SO2. The team at Bow & Arrow have consistently made the case that Loire Valley grapes thrive in the Oregon, and this is a perfect example. On the nose are notes of bruised apricot, baked lemon, stone, clay, and roasted nuts. The palate has vibrant, classically Chenin acidity, tempered by ripe and bruised fruit notes, saffron, yellow apple, Meyer lemon, nectarine with a lingering mineral finish. Only 90 cases were made, and we managed to bring in one! Michelle DeWyngaert
Brian and Stephy Terrizzi's Broadside project focuses on sustainably farmed vineyards and minimalist winemaking (native yeasts, minimal handling, neutral oak), as well as purity of flavor and varietal expression.Their Central Coast Chardonnay is a quintessential example of their wine growing and winemaking philosophy; a bright and creamy Chardonnay with ripe lemon and peach flavors and a saline minerality. The wine is fermented in tanks, then aged in 75% steel and 25% oak barrels, left on the lees and stirred regularly for a creamier feel on the palate.
There's a quality that seems to run through all of the Broc Cellars wine; I like to call it "sunniness", as though Chris Brock is literally capturing California sun and bottling it. The 'Amore Bianco' is 100% Tocai Friulano from the beautiful Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, a haven of Italian grape varieties, which sits on rocky sandstone and quartz. The grapes are fermented on the skins in a combination of sandstone jars and steel tanks, then pressed into neutral French oak where it ages for eight months before bottling unfiltered. This wine really does taste of Italy by way of California. All of the tell-tale signs of great Italian white with an herbaceous quality and slightly bitter finish, but with brighter, riper fruit. On the nose is grapefruit, lemon oil, tarragon, basil, and sea salt. The palate is juicy is slightly textured, a squeeze of lemon juice, almond skins, and herbaceous, almost vegetal savoriness. As the label suggests, this is a great option for those hard to pair vegetables like artichoke and asparagus! Michelle DeWyngaert
Clos Electrique is the organic and dry-farmed estate vineyard for Cameron Winery. As one of the warmer sites in the Red Hills of Dundee, the grapes are picked earlier to maintain a balance of ripeness and acidity. For their Chardonnay from this vineyard, the wines are meant to emulate the richness of Meursault. This vintage is described by the winemakers with notes of "notes of honeysuckle, creme Anglaise, lemon curd, marzipan and orange blossom. The palate mirrors the nose along with unctuous mouth feel resulting from 2 years contact with the yeast lies prior to bottling."
Edmunds St. John continues to produce some of the most consistentl, high-quality California wine on the market. This tasty white blend of ~55% Vermentino and 45% Grenache Blanc is a testament to that. The fruit is from the Fenaughty Vineyard, previously an orchard, which sits at 2800ft elevation in the Sierra Foothills on the North edge of Carson Ridge. This vintage had a bit of slow start due to a very cold winter and a very wet spring, but in the end the quality of the fruit was great, albeit with lower yields. The juice was fermented in stainless steel and brought to a low temperature to discourage malo in order to maintain its bright acidity.
The wines from Eminence Road get better and better each year, and this year's Lamb's Quarter Chardonnay is no exception. As these wines are made with very little intervention, there is a real sense of rusticity from the barn they're made in, and the limestone and loam soil the vines are grown in show prominently on the palate. For this bottling, the grapes are destemmed and allowed the macerate for two days on the skins before fermenting in stainless steel tanks. The wine spends 22 months on the lees, and then bottled by hand, unfined and unfiltered. On the nose are notes of crisp yellow apple, fresh cider, clean linens, and chalk. The palate is bright, with yellow and green apples, Meyer lemon, and crushed rock on the finish giving it a lovely bit of texture. Michelle DeWyngaert
The St. Crimson is a dry mead made from pressed black currants and NY state honey fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged for a year in oak barrels. A beautiful deep ruby color, the nose is mix of cassis, raspberry, hibiscus, bruised herbs, and a whiff of something gamey. The palate is dry with juicy brambly fruits and a savory finish. This is delightful on its own on a cool fall evening, but also works well in cocktails, as the float on a NY Sour or in a spritz. Michelle DeWyngaert
This vintage of the La Clarine Viognier is a mixture of fruit from the granitic Cedarville Vineyard, and the volcanic Sumu Kaw Vineyard in the Sierra Foothils. The fruit is fermented together as whole clusters and then aged in tanks.
The 'Moonstones' is 100% Chenin Blanc inspired by the wines of the Loire. The fruit comes from the limestone-rich Vista Verde Vineyard in San Beninto County, close to the coast. The juice is fermented and aged in neutral barrels and goes through natural malolactic fermentation. The winemaker describes this wine with "a heavy amplification of acid, dried flowers, and sea breeze salinity".
The makers Monument Wine Co., a new winery based in Portland, Oregon, were inspired by the wines of the Loire Valley for this bottling. More specifically a nod to whites of Cheverny (a category I have always loved) with this 50% Chardonnay, 50% Sauvignon Blanc which comes from two Applegate Valley vineyards managed by Herb Quady, the Layne Vineyard for Chardonnay, and the IronBird Vineyard for Sauvignon Blanc. This is rugged territory out in, what appears to be, middle of nowhere Oregon, with rocky granite/gravelly clay soils to feed the vines. The fruit is macerated together on the skins for one day, then gently racked into steel where it fermented and aged for nine months on the lees, bottled unfined/unfiltered with just a tiny amount of SO2. Like a great Cheverny, this wine is the best of both white wine worlds; simultaneously zippy and refreshing, and also ripe and rounded. On the nose are notes of cantaloupe, barely ripe nectarine, green pear, almond blossoms, fresh moss, and river rocks. On the palate is a a lovely richness from the ripe Chardonnay and the short time on the skins, some additional salty, cereal notes from the lees contact, and finishes with a fresh vain of acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious and versatile as a food pairing! Michelle DeWygnaert
The wines from the Finger Lakes in upstate New York have a special place in my heart, and the Nathan K Dry Riesling is perfect example of why. This vintage comes from two sites on the West side of Lake Seneca. The grapes from the 40 year-old plot are aged in neutral barrels, while the fruit from the younger vines are kept in stainless steel. Both are aged for 10 months on the lees before being bottled unfined and gently filtered. In the glass this wine is the color of daffodils and all the aromas of springtime: soft white almond blossoms, ripe apricot, a bit of sweet herbs, wet stone, Meyer lemon zest, all with a slight drizzle of honey. The palate is vibrant and juicy bringing plenty of energy but balanced with enough weight so it does not feel the least bit sharp or thin. Enjoy this wine now, as I did, with a spicy red pepper flake, anchovy and parsley pasta, or put it in the cellar for several years and wait for those honeyed and golden notes to really come through! Michelle DeWyngaert
Situated in one of the coldest regions of Southern California, this Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County manages the perfect balance between richness and weight, with bright, mouth-watering acidity. Unlike the stereotype of California Chardonnay, the "movie-theatre butter" flavor that comes from an over-abundance of diacetyl presents as a creamy and tangy cream fraiche instead. The proximity to the Pacific Ocean and sandy soils of the vineyard give this wine it's freshness and an aroma of seashells on the nose with soft, white flowers, yellow apple skin, tarragon, and french vanilla. On the palate is an immediate rush of acidity like freshly squeezed lemon juice, followed by the rounded, creaminess of yogurt and finishes with a lingering the lingering stoniness of smooth river rocks. An excellent deal for well-made, organically farmed, food-friendly Chardonnay. Michelle DeWyngaert
The 'Dabinett Spy' is aptly named for it's blend of 25% English Dabinett bittersweet apples, and 50% Northern Spy American sharp apples, with the rest of the blend made from Rhode Island Greening sharp apples. This still cider is dry, floral, and has a bit of tannin for a softly textured finish.
An excellent, well-balanced example of California Sauvignon Blanc blended from three organically farmed vineyards in Mendocino. The fruit here is both fully ripe and surprisingly refreshing with notes of tropical fruit, pink grapefruit, and just a touch of soft, fresh herbs. This is a pleasant wine for drinking on it's own, but would be a great pairing for lighter proteins with a fruit chutney, or a vegetable quiche. Michelle DeWyngaert
The inspiration for this gorgeously textured wine is as a pairing with Santa Barbara sea urchin, a favorite of the Stolpmans. As uni has such a unique flavor and texture, it needed a wine that is simultaneously rich, and elegant. The blend is 70% Roussanne and 30% Chardonnay. The Roussanne, already a late-ripener, is picked from this coastal, windswept site the last of the varieties to ensure that each bunch has taken on it's signature golden hue. The Chardonnay is picked on the early side to act as the perfect mineral-driven counterpoint to the Roussannes fatness. Once fermented, the wine is left on the lies which is periodically stirred for additional texture and complexity. One the nose are notes of chamomile, baked apple, cured lemon, and soft moss. The palate is round, almost waxy, with a vein of bright acidity running through keeping the wine alive on the tongue, notes of ripe orchard fruit, soft, fresh herbs, salted Kerry Gold butter, and finishes with a bit of lemon pith. Decadent is the best word I can use to describe this beautiful white. Michelle DeWyngaert
Saralee Kunde is a bit of a legend in the Russian River Valley not only for her prowess in the vineyard, but also for her big heart. This parcel of Grenache Blanc in Catie's Corner Vineyard was actually specifically budded over to the variety in 2011 because of the Two Shepherds winemaker's passion for the grape. This expression is an ode to Saralee, and perhaps it is power of suggestion, but it seems to capture her joy and exuberance. The grapes are destemmed and spend about 2-4 hours on the skins, then fermented and aged in neutral barrels giving this wine soft, rounded edges. It is bottled unfined and unfiltered, but racked for clarity, and then spent several years in bottle, released this year when it was finally deemed ready. Ripe, fragrant cantaloupe and tangerine on the nose with honeysuckle and almond blossom. On the palate a bright acidity that is held within a juicy lushness, a bit of nutty hazelnut, fleur de sel, and a touch of almond skin on the finish. Michelle DeWyngaert