Traditionally I am not one to want to be in the limelight, leaving that to my sparking sister and shining hubby. And, as this year isn’t a significant milestone birthday, I normally would just move through the day feeling thankful that my mama chose this day for me to be born. But, I don’t really think any holiday last year really counted as we lived through a year of questions, fear, unknown, and lockdown. So, this year I am ready to celebrate, raising a very tasty glass, like one of these beauties, to health, happiness, and the vaccine! Let’s Toast!
As no holiday would be complete without bubbles, pop open one of my favorites, 100% Chardonnay, Benovia Blancs de Blancs Extra-Brut Sparkling Wine ($50) is alluring and inviting, with a very dry yet fruit-filled palate of golden apple and ripe pear, fresh fig, creamy custard, and just the right touch of toasted almond and spice to round out the flavors, keeping you going back for more.
If you prefer a Rose sparkler, look no further than Domaine Carneros Brut Rose ($45). Fresh and elegant, with length and texture, the traditional method sparkler from Domaine Carneros’ sustainably farmed estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir layers juicy wild strawberry, fragrant roses, and ripe red apple, with fresh brioche and citrus custard notes, with a lengthy, silky finish.
The first things that come to mind when considering the inviting wines of Lail Vineyards is generosity and complexity, whether it be in the gorgeous Georgia Sauvignon Blanc ($150) or their elevated Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc ($40). With fruit coming from the historic Totem Estate Vineyards in Napa’s Yountville, as well as cooler climate Coombsville, and fermented in partially new French oak barrels, then aged in stainless steel, the wine is both zesty and vibrant while being well-rounded, textured, and generous.
From vineyards sourced throughout Willamette Valley, including Eola-Amity Hills, Chehalem, and the Van Duzer Corridor, Angela Vineyards showcases the terroir of the expansive region beautifully with their Angela Vineyards Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($38). Bright and fresh with a lovely creaminess, the wine opens with aromas of lemon blossom and honeysuckle, leading to ripe orchard fruit, fresh cream, and toasted spice, enhanced by 12 months of French oak aging.
From the Moon Mountain District of Sonoma County with elevations ranging from 400 to 2200 feet above sea level, Theorem Vineyards Moon Mountain Chardonnay ($58) showcases the influence high elevation growth gives to their wines. From their estate vineyard sitting at 1800 feet in clay dominant soils, the inviting wine opens with tropical fruit notes of pineapple and guava, melding seamlessly with floral aromas of wisteria and jasmine, toasted meringue, and juicy lemon, with crisp acidity and freshness.
As I love a Pinot Noir, anytime, any day, Inman Family’s Pinot Noir wines (with the uncompromising Kathleen Inman at the helm) are always a perfect choice. From pristine vineyards throughout the Russian River AVA of Sonoma, including Olivet Grange, Pratt Sexton Road Ranch, and Pratt Vine Hill Vineyards, Inman Family Russian River Pinot Noir ($38) showcases the richness of the region with a luscious wine revealing a fruit-forward palate of dark cherries, tart cranberry, black tea, and toasted warm spice, like nutmeg and clove. With an expressive elegance, the wine melds earthiness with the ripe fruit and smart use of French oak aging, creating a complete, delicious wine.
From the historic Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, Migration Bien Nacido Pinot Noir ($70) showcases the energy and vibrancy the maritime influence gives to delicate Pinot Noir. With juicy ripe blackberry, black cherry, and raspberry, melding with highly aromatic notes of violets and rose, and savory woody herb.
Consistently showcasing the classic Cabernet Sauvignon style that you can really only find in Napa Valley, specifically the historic Stags Leap District, Shafer showcases the structure and concentration fruit is able to achieve in the region, delivering a powerful, incredibly pleasurable wine with their Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon ($98). Elegant and filled with energy, the wine opens with aromas of wildflowers, toasted spice, and soft herbs like mint and lavender, leading to a plush palate filled with red cherry, crushed raspberry, wild blackberry, dark chocolate, and dried tobacco. A perfect wine to toast any special day.