A Crazy Quilt of Recently Tasted Wines



Let me take you wine shopping today. We’ll splurge on some special bottles and put together what is known in the trade as a mixed case—a kind of crazy quilt of wines starting with some light whites, moving on to rich reds:

Luna Nuda pinot grigio is as clean and crisp as the mountain air in northeastern Italy’s Alto Adige region–ground zero for some of the world’s best pinot grigio. Dry, smooth, and elegant. $15.00

Torresella Prosecco Extra Dry, from Venezia, in northwestern Italy sounds really dry, but don’t let the term “Extra Dry” fool you. Counter intuitively, “Extra Dry” in the wine world is actually less dry than sparkling wines labeled “Dry.” Light and refreshing. $16.00

Scott Chardonnay comes from cool climate Estate vineyards inland from Big Sur. Extended ripening time there translates into grapes with intensely concentrated flavor and clean acidity. Lush mouthfeel, lingering finish. $25.00

Bouchaine Pinot Noir announces its presence with heady aromas of cherry and strawberry, following through on the palate with rich dark cherry and spice. All the fruit is Estate grown in Napa’s prestigious Carneros district. $35.00

Back in Italy: Tuscan Sassoregale Sangiovese perks up the senses with its ruby color, rich fruit aromas, dark flavors, and smooth body. A nice backbone of tannins makes it a good match for flavorful dishes. $18.00

Fuedo Zirtari Sicilian Red combines Sicily’s Nero d’Avola with Syrah to produce a full-bodied blend with a nicely balanced core and smooth dry finish. $14.00

Full disclosure: Franciscan Merlot and I have history. I remember being impressed by it years ago—and it still impresses. Think velvet plum. A reminder of how good a merlot can be. $23.00

Two Range is a collage of merlot, petite sirah, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah out of Napa. A rich and complex work of art by the winemaker. $25.00

Hahn Family Wines’ Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend is new their lineup, but wine maker Paul Clifford and his crew nailed it. The plush blend of merlot, malbec, petite sirah, and cabernet sauvignon is proof that the whole can sometimes be greater than the sum of its parts. $25.00

Predator Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi brings on tons of red and dark fruit, a little spice, and wraps it all in smooth tannins for easy drinking. $15.00

Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon captures the deep flavors of first class Napa fruit. A mellow product of twelve months in French and American oak. $35.00

Leviathan Red Blend—and yes, it’s huge. A concoction of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and syrah, pretty much everything about this wine is outsize: aroma, texture, body, and flavor. $48.00

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