Simi Stars

2017 Simi Chardonnay out of Sonoma County is barrel fermented and influenced by malolactic fermentation. The result is a richly aromatic wine zingy citrus, peach, and vanilla character. Simi has maintained its reputation for quality and value for ages. Nice wine for $15.

Simi 1876 Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine (1876 being the year the Simi brothers founded the winery) is actually a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. This beaut little bubbly shows layers of flavor: raspberry, cherry, citrus, and toast. Impressive sparkler. 36.00

Simi 1876 Blanc de Noir & Simi Chardonnay

Amusing Italians

Il Bastardo Sangiovese (2017) and La Bastarda Pinot Grigio (2017) are back again with the new vintage–but they are still the same old fun, easy-drinking and affordable wines from Bella Italia.

Il Bastardo Sangiovese comes from Tuscan grapes, while La Bastarda originates in Sicily. Both wines exhibit impressive varietal character at the bargain bin price. Momma Mia, Nine Bucks!? 9.00

Il Bastardo Sangiovese & La Bastarda Pinot Grigio

Bordeaux Beauties

The Legende wines collection includes four reds and one white. To start, I have only sampled the 2016 Legende Bordeaux Rouge and the 2015 Legende Paulliac–and what a start.

2016 Legende Bordeaux Rouge is a 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot–a happy marriage. Great structure and fruit character, with just enough oak and smooth tannins to carry it to a long finish. A nice Bordeaux for under twenty bucks–hell yes! 18.00

2015 Legende Paulliac also combines Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (70/30) from the Medoc region. In fact, this Paulliac derives partially from grapes from Domaines Barons de Rothchild–premum fruit, if ever there was. Powerful and complex, Legende Paulliac displays nicely integrated tannins, and pepper/licorice on a lingering finish: Mon Deiu. 50.00

Legende Bordeaux Rouge, 2016 & Legende Pauillac, 2015

Douro Valley Duo

Portugal’s Douro Valley is home to some of the world’s most intriguing grape varietals. traditionally, many of the Douro’s grapes have gone into port, but the same grapes make wonderful rich red wines.

2015 Pombal do Vesuvio & 2016 Vale do Bomfim

Case in point is 2016 Vale do Bomfim–a field blend combined with Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional grapes. Red and black fruit dominate along with some spicy pepper–great BBQ red. 13.00

2015 Pombal do Vesuvio rich fruit character reminds of why I enjoy a good port–thanks to a combination of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Amarela, those rich, robust flavors come rolling out. Exceptional value: 28.00

 

 

Hearty Plungerhead Reds

2016 Plungerhead Old Vine Zin is a mouthful of rich, expressive Lodi fruit. Sweet cranberry and raspberry flavors swirl together. It’s a big guy, too, at 15% abv.  $14.00

2016 Plungerhead Lodi Petite Sirah actually gets a bit of Tempranillo, Rubired, Ruby Cabernet, Zin, and Merlot to compliment the Petite Sirah. Nice chocolate and coffee emerge over smooth tannins. Great BBQ wine.  $14.00

Chateauneuf-du-Papes–from E. Guigal

E. Guigal, has just released two classic Chateauneuf-du-Papes: Chateau de Nalys Blanc Grand Vin 2017, and Chateau de Nalys Grand Vin 2016.

Chateau de Nalys Blanc derives from Roussane, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulnec, and Picpoul–a heavenly combination fermented in both oak and steel. Result: powerful aromas and flavors including citrus, vanilla, and minerality. Sublime.  95.00

Chateau de Nalys Blanc Grand Vin 2017 & Chateau de Nalys Grand Vin 2016

Chateau de Nalys Grand Vin 2016 combines Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Vacarese. Fruit, spice, and minerality merge to create a wonderfully balanced wine in the classic Chateauneuf-du Pape tradition.  95.00

The Owl & The Dust Devil, 2015

Fresh out of Mendoza–Argentina’s Napa Valley–The Owl & the Dust Devil combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Tannat. Jammy dark fruit he result is plush and peppery, with complex flavors/aroma. A great marriage of four robust grapes.  32.00

The Owl & The Dust Devil, 2015

 

New Vintage Released by Domaine Bousquet

The 2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve wines have just been released. One taste reminded me of what a quality product Domaine Bouisquet is–year after year. Value, quality, and all organic:

2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Chardonnay–hints of French oak, apple, peach and citrus–nice balance between fruit and acidity. Great finish.  18.00

2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Malbec–blended with a touch of Cab, Merlot and Syrah, it comes across with notes of raspberry, fig, espresso and chocolate. $18.00

2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Chardonnay–Organic

2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon–teamed up with a bit of Malbec, the DBR Cab shows a bit of French oak mingled with notes of black currant and raspberry.  18.00

2017 Domaine Bousquet Reserve Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon–Organic

Mondavi Magic: To Kalon Vineyard Reds

Robert Mondavi is one of those names that most everyone recognizes. But if you think  Woodbridge, or some of the other entry-level Mondavi wines are all that are out there, you’d be in for a big surprise. Mondavi wines also include premium labels that can stand with Napa’s finest.

Robert Mondavi’s 2015 Oakville Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley is 100% Oakville District and 100% To Kalon Vineyard fruit. Winemaker Genevieve Janssens blended 20% Cabernet Sauvingon into the Cabernet Franc and aged the lot over twenty months in French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The result: luscious dark fruit, and complex flavors on a toasty background. Only about 700 cases produced.  45.00

Robert Mondavi 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is also made up of 100% To Kalon Vineyard fruit–and includes a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. The hand-harvested grapes saw extended fermentation time resulting in massive extraction

2015 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon & 2015 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Franc

(drawing the full flavor and expression of the grapes.) Over twenty months in French oak before bottling in 2017 provided the finishing touches to this rich, subtle, complex beauty. This is not your average bottle of Cab–and premium comes at a price: 175.00

New Geyser Peak Trio

Geyser Peak Winery out of Healdsburg, CA produces a line up of quality wines at affordable prices–the sort of combination any wine drinker can appreciate.Check these out:

2017 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc–contains just a touch of Pinot Grigio–shows herbal/citrus aromas and flavors with some passion fruit and peach in the background. 12.00

2017 Geyser Peak Pinot Grigio–15% Gewurztraminer in the mix adds lush aromas and flavors to compliment the green apple and citrus of the Sauvignon Blanc.  12.00

2016 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon–gets a touch of Zin and Syrah to embellish the Cabernet. The result is an easy-drinking Cab with cocoa, cassis, and ripe plum flaovrs.  14.00

Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio & Sauvignon Blanc

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