It’s National Wine Day! It is also my anniversary with my sweet Gary. Today I raise a glass to both as we continue to live this adventure. It certainly has been a wild ride the past year, but, lucky for us, the wine keeps flowing. Toast with us with one of these luscious beauties. #Cheers
From select vineyards dotted throughout California’s Central Coast, Calera Chardonnay ($26) showcases cool-climate vibrance that influences of the Pacific Ocean will impart on fruit grown in a maritime climate. With a lovely golden hue, the wine opens with notes of honeysuckle, white peach, and pear, followed by a vibrant palate, bright with freshness, offering layers of stone and orchard fruit, melding with lemon curd, and a touch of crushed stone. Aged for 10 months in French oak, of which a touch is new, giving lovely texture and structure to the wine.
From Northern California’s Anderson Valley, FEL Pinot Gris ($32) melds juicy richness with bright acidity, delivering a lip-smacking luscious wine with ripe fruit and beautiful freshness. Bottled after a touch of aging on the lees (yeasts), imparting a bit of roundness and consistency while still capturing the youth and freshness of the fruit, the wine layers ripe tropical fruits, like mango, quince, and kiwi, elevated with fresh floral aromas of wisteria and citrus blossom. It is a beautiful wine to enjoy on its own, taking in the fruit-forward character, pair with anything from spring and summer vegetable risotto or pasta, or pair with spicy dishes like Thai or Mexican.
Dan and Margaret Duckhorn hung their hat on Merlot at a time when most were focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. Yes, they make a lot of Cabernet as well, but from the start the couple put their focus on the Right Bank varieties, highlighting the beauty, elegance, and character of the variety. One of the finest expressions, consistently, is Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard Merlot ($115). From the historic Three Palms Vineyard in the warmer northern part of Napa Valley, the wine is a Merlot that drinks a little like a Cab, with ripe tannin, dense structure, and complex concentration, while maintaining the luscious profile of the variety, a beautiful expression of New World, warm climate Merlot filled with ripe red plum, red cherry, dried fig, and dark chocolate with a hint of a mineral note. A beautiful wine to enjoy now, but will benefit from a bit of bottle age.
Each and every glass of Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is delightful. Crafted with immense attention to detail and care from the historic winery’s Sonoma estate bringing a touch of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec into the blend to round out the structure and flavor profile, and aged for 13 months in 100% French oak, of which 1/3 was new, before enjoying another two years of aging prior to release, delivering a wine with nicely integrated tannin, that maintains freshness and fruit-filled character. Ripe black cherry, blackberry, and plum meld with subtle tobacco, licorice, toasted vanilla, and spice. A perfect grilled ribeye or lamb chop pairing. Open the bottle when you put the beef on the grill to allow it to breathe a bit before enjoying it.
Spicy, herbaceous, earthy, and simply delicious, Shafer Relentless Syrah ($90) celebrates the spirit of long-time Shafer Vineyards Winemaker, Elias Fernandez, honoring his dedication to delivering premium wine without compromise. A blend of 76% Syrah and 24% Petite Sirah from just north of Napa’s Stags Leap District in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains, the dense, texture wine highlights the region delivering earthy notes of wildflowers, woody herb, and dried leaves, melding with ripe red berry, dried black cherry and blackberry, toasted spice, and a touch of smoke. Balanced, dense, textured, and beautiful.