River Road to Quality/Value

Got to love it when you discover a label that delivers quality and value across a range of varietals. So it is with River Road Family Vineyards and Winery:

2019 River Road Unoaked Chardonnay–ripe apple and pear flavors stand alone–without the influence of oak. 14.00

2018 River Road Reserve Chardonnay–creamy, full-bodied Russian River Valley juice. Long refreshing finish. 18.00

2017 Stephanie’s Cuvee Pinot Noir–refined and layered flavors/aromas of dark cherry. Subtle and lingering Russian River Valley fruit. 30.00

2018 River Road Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon–Alexander Valley grapes deliver dark fruit and spice. Sustained finish. 25.00

River Road Un-Unoaked Chardonnay and River Road Reserve Chardonnay

River Road Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon & River Road Stepanie’s Cuvee Pinot Noir

The Federalist Twins

The Federalist 2018 Chardonnay and The Federalist 2017 BourbonBarrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon are labels from legendary Terlato Wines International.

The Federalist Chardonnay is 100% Mendocino County fruit. Rich and full bodied, the juice got lots of nice oak exposure resulting in a vibrant chardonnay with depth from start to finish. 23.00

The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Lodi fruit that got six months in bourbon barrels. Big, (15% abv) juicy, and full-bodied, The Fed Cab is loaded with flavor but smooth as silk. 25.00

The Federalist 2018 Chardonnay and The Federalist 2017 BourbonBarrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

Keep Bread & Butter on Hand

Bread & Butter is one of those labels that’s easy to overlook–but that would be a mistake. While Bread & Butter may not have a fancy look–and the price looks a little too good to be be true–there is definitely real quality and value in these wines:

Bread & Butter 2018 Chardonnay: creamy vanilla with enough tang for nice balance. A deal at $16.00.

Bread & Butter 2018 Pinot Noir: juicy cherry and raspberry notes–smooth on the back side. Great Pinot drinking for under twenty bucks. 16.00

Bread & Butter 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon: chocolate all over the place, along with dark fruit and spice. Lush and lovely. 16.00

2018 Bread & Butter Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon

Stags’ Leap Whites Shine

Stags’ Leap 2018 Napa Valley Viognier is a delight. I have to admit, Viognier is an interesting critter–it ranges from tangy and crisp to creamy and spicy. Stags’ Leap Viognier displays zingy acidity and crispness with layers of citrus and peach. Fresh, clean fruit notes come right to the top in this terrific white. 32.00

Stags’ Leap 2018 Napa Valley Chardonnay delivers immediately with a crazy quilt of aromas that are repeated on the palate: lemon/lime, tropical fruit and rich, but subtle vanilla/caramel. Not your grandmother’s Chardonnay. 32.00

2018 Stags’ Leap Chardonnay and 2018 Stags’ Leap Viognier

Cigar Old Vine Zinfandel, 2018

A terrific Zin might make some people think of cigars. Not me–I’ll take the Zin–especially this one–and leave the cigar. Comprised of Lodi Zin with a bit of Petite Syrah, Petit Verdot, and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, there is no way Cigar Zin is not going to be a big guy. Sure enough, it weighs in at a hefty 15.4 abv. Full-bodied and layered with mouth-watering dark fruit, Cigar carries through with graceful power. And yes, there should be a picture of steak somewhere on the label. 20.00

Cigar Old Vine Zinfandel, 2018

Not Your Grandmother’s Sherry

Bodegas Williams & Humbert may not be a household name in this country, but if you want to discover what great sherry should be, Williams & Humbert Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial and “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez would be a hell of a good place to start.

Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial is a medium sweet sherry made using the Solera method–a time-honored method of blending tiers of sherry barrels of different ages–in this case with an average age of 15 years. Time works its magic to produce aromas and flavors of raisins, figs, nuts, and vanilla. Makes a great aperitif. 17.00

If Dry Sack makes a great aperitif, “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez 12 year-old sherry is the ideal dessert wine. Rich and sweet, Don Zoilo lingers on the palate with lingering and complex flavors of raisins and figs. 29.00

Williams & Humbert Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial and “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez

A To Z Bubbles Up

A To Z is a Cracker Jack Oregon winery that takes its wines seriously–but likes to have some along the way–hence, Bubbles sparkling Rose. Bubbles 750ml bottle comes with a bottle cap top, or in handy 250ml cans. Both are just made for taking along with you. Bubbles is happy marriage of Pinot Noir with a splash of Chardonnay for good measure. Party wine for sure. 20.00

A To Z Bubbles

BV Super Stars

Beaulieu Vineyard is one of California’s oldest wineries–and it wears its age well. Whether it’s the entry level BV Coastal brand, or BV’s premium labels, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley and BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley will hold their own with some of the best old world offerings.

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley, 2016 is a Bordeaux style blend–a magical five-varietal blend–a Tapestry of aromas and flavors, seamlessly woven together. Look out France, BV has your number. 65.00

BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2016 is an American Classic. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, with just a dash of Petite Verdot, George de Latour is the sort of bottle you you can stash for years–or as long as you can keep your hands off it. WA gave this vintage 97 points–not surprising. What a gem–and gems don’t come cheap. 145.00

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley, 2016
BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2016

Ruffino 2016 Modus

Modus, a Ruffino blend of Tuscan grapes ( Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon) never disappoints. Year after year this modern style Super Tuscan excells. Full-bodied, with silky tannins, Modus lays down the dark fruit and hints of chocolate. Bella Italia! 26.00

Modus 2106 Super Tuscan from Ruffino

Da Luca Sparklers: Italian Stars

Gotta love a nice Prosecco–even nicer when it has a beautiful Italian cousin in the form of a Sprakling Rose. Da Luca Prosecco is 100% Glera (Prosecco) and originates from Sicily. It’s fresh, bright, nicely balanced, and a hell of a deal at about 11.00

Da Luca’s success with Prosecco took their winemaking team to create an impressive Sparking Rose from Merlot and Raboso grapes sourced in the Veneto region of Northern Italy: zingy and delicious with lip-smacking raspberry and strawberry. 14.00

Da Luca Sparkling Rose

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