And, cheers to my love, Gary Cogill. Today is a very special day as it is not only National Wine Day (clearly the best holiday of the year) and it is the anniversary of my marriage to my sweetheart, Gary. We have had many adventures since we have been together, and the best is yet to come. So, let’s toast!
Unctuous and lush, melding with crisp, lively acidity, Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc ($25) showcases a blend of AVAs, with fruit coming from both Napa Valley and Sonoma County, blending both warmer and cooler climates to create a layered, textured wine with character. A perfect option for sipping through summer.
From the only DOCG region on the island of Sardinia, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG is located in the northeastern part of the island, and home to Vigne Surrau, a family owned winery begun by the Demuro family in 2004. As Vermentino shines in the area, the focus for Surrau is the juicy, fresh, zesty, mineral-intense white wine, with over 70% of their production dedicated to the variety, including “Sciala” Vermentino di Gallura Superiore DOCG ($27). From the Arabic word that refers to a generous and abundant harvest, “Sciala” represents the finest fruit grown across their 149 acre estate vineyards dotted throughout the region. Filled with juicy citrus notes of lemon-lime and mandarin, orchard fruit, and focused minerality that shines throughout the textured, inviting wine.
A sibling of Chardonnay, the Auxerrois variety is native to Alsace, but thanks to David Adelsheim, has found a nice home in Willamette Valley. Adelsheim brought the variety to Oregon in the 1980s and though production is still limited, several wineries are creating delicious wines from the grape, including Raptor Ridge. Raptor Ridge Zenith Vineyard Auxerrois ($30) from Eola-Amity Hills has a richness and full body, layering notes of golden apple, ripe citrus, and a touch of honey, with aromas of honeysuckle and lemon blossom.
With limestone filled soils of Mt. Harlna, Calera showcases ripe red fruits, savory forest floor notes of truffle and morel mushrooms, and black tea in their Calera Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75.) Earthy and dense, the wine has beautiful structure, concentration, and length.
Gary loves a spicy, peppery Syrah, and Theorem Vineyards on Sonoma’s Moon Mountain produces one of the best we have enjoyed in a while as the location is ideal for ripening fruit throughout the day, and cooling it at night thanks to the influence from the Pacific, locking in freshness. Theorem Moon Mountain Syrah ($85) layers ripe red plum, wild strawberry, woody herbs de Provence like wild thyme, lavender, and sagebrush, with a savory peppery finish.
Duckhorn hung its hat on Merlot early on, and has remained one of the leading producers of the variety from Napa Valley. Since 1978 the winery has produced their single vineyard Three Palms Vineyard Merlot ($110) from their warm Calistoga estate vineyard, and consistently it is one of the finest Merlot wines from the region. Aged 18 months in predominantly new French oak, the wine reveals fresh plum, blackberry, crushed stone, pencil lead, and ripe fig. This wine will convert Cabernet drinkers to become Merlot lovers, as the balanced wine coats the palate with luscious fruit leading to an inviting, velvety finish.
Since 1882 Spottswoode Estate’s St. Helena vineyards have been home to the production of premium fruit in Napa Valley. Dr. Jack and Mary Novack purchased the 31 acre estate in the early 1970s, expanding to add another 15 acres shortly thereafter. Today, Spottswoode’s organic vineyards showcase the elegance and refinement of St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in their Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($235). With vibrance and energy, harmoniously balancing with grace and sophistication, the wine reveals aromas of fresh roses and lilac, melding with cherry blossom, and dried herb. Flavors of red cherry, black plum, blackberry, and raspberry wash over the palate, finishing with an earthy graphite and leather note. The wine is beautiful upon release but allow for a bit of bottle aging for the most enjoyment. We opened an older, 2012 vintage the other night, and wow, the wine revealed subtle tertiary notes of dried herb and fruit, with smooth easy tannins.