Quiviria’s 2017 sauvignon blanc $18.99 shows all the grip and spine I expect from Dry Creek while maintaining the refreshingly snappy acids that embody sauvignon blanc. With smoked fish or grilled poultry this wine just sings.
Tyler’s 2017 Santa Barbara chardonnay $31.99 paints crisp and tactile lines of honeycrisp apple, creamy pear, and a nuance of smoky tones. A summertime quaffing chard extraordinaire, you will find yourselves at the bottom of this bottle rather quickly.
Chad Melville, whose hands-off approach to winemaking could serve as a model, creates pinot noirs as racy and sexy as they are restrained and understated and for that I love them. The Melville 2015 Santa Rita Hills pinot noir $34.99 is a case study in perfectly ripened red and black berry fruit with juicy acids that carries the wine proudly from start to finish.
Remember when zinfandel was both juicy yet sturdy of spine? Ehren Jordan (mastermind behind Turley zins), winemaker of the Day 2016 Sonoma zinfandel $26.99 certainly not only remembers but employs deft winemaking to keep this little beast on track. The wine throws a huge punch of cranberries, sage, black tea and blueberry without being jammy while landing softly after an initially gutsy impact. This is what Sonoma zinfandel aspires to be.
If forced to drink the same red wine from Napa every day (yikes!), it may very well be Chappellet’s 2016 mountain cuvee $36.99, a blend of all 5 classic Bordeaux grapes. This is a blending masterpiece with cabernet sauvignon and merlot as the power base while the malbec, petit verdot, and cabernet franc weave their way through this silky, multi-layered, complex dream like a python wrapping around its prey. Punching well above its weight class, this is the epitome of a Napa blend and an excellent value.
The 2015 Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Napa cabernet sauvignon $54.99 is an example of why I bother to buy (not just drink) Napa Valley cabernet at all. Many examples of powerful, impeccably balanced cabernet have followed the market and global demand and priced themselves well above the fray and my budget. In addition, there’s no shortage of crappy $100+ Napa cab out there. To be treated to a benchmark Napa study in black fruit, tobacco, and a cassis laden hammer that delivers a wicked attack without breaking the bank is a real treat.