The 2010 vintage in Sonoma County was super cool. And I don’t mean it wore awesome shades and sported the latest fashions — but cold like in France’s Bordeaux region. The heat index just didn’t quite get high enough to ripen grapes to the point of super fruitiness with floral aromatics (like Dry Creek Vineyards’ 2007 SB). So if you like New Zealand style Sauv Blancs (like me) then you’re in heaven with the 2010 wines (read more about Sauvignon Blanc, including how to pronounce it). And you’ll also have something to look forward to in the 2011 vintage, which had similar weather in Sonoma County.
Read more: Wine review: Dry Creek Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley
Years ago, a sommelier friend of mine described Bogle wines as “mass-produced, and you can find them at [the grocery store], but for the money they’re the best damn grocery-store wine you can buy.” I still agree.
Read more: Good cheap red wine review: Bogle 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon California
When people talk about “everyday” wine, I’ve sometimes wondered exactly what they mean. Is it a wine that goes with all sorts of food so it can be consumed without care? Is it a simple wine that that can appeal to many different palates? Or is it an inexpensive wine that you can afford to sip everyday? Family-owned by Sonoma County’s Sebastiani and Sons, Smoking Loon wants to be all that and more.
Read more: Affordable everyday Wine review: Smoking Loon 2009 Zinfandel California
Although the pitch is transparently focus-grouped and massaged, Vin Parfait [PAR fay] 2009 Chardonnay was a crowd-pleaser at a recent blind tasting. But it’s predictable, non-distinctive and sweet.
Read more: Wine review: Vin Parfait 2009 Chardonnay California
I tasted the black label M. Chevallier Carte Noire Cava with trepidation and suppressed my high hopes, attempting to give it a fair and balanced assessment (which is tough without tasting blind). But I was pretty damn impressed. That was a few months ago. Now, it’s my house pour on a Sunday morning, sometimes mixed with tangerine or orange juice for mimosas, sometimes straight up. It all depends on what kind of eggs we’re having.
Read more: Wine review: The best $5 bubbly you can buy — M. Chevallier Cava
Red blends appear to be all the rage these days, and I’m all for it. Many times, single varietal wines can be one dimensional and flat, lacking in personality or interest. But mix in some other grapes and beautiful things happen. The Europeans, of course, have known this non-secret for eons, especially in Bordeaux, France and most parts of Spain and Italy. And Trentadue has known this for 30 years.
Read more: Wine review: Trentadue 2009 Old Patch Red Alexander Valley
Even generic, corporate-owned wineries like Estancia can make good wine if they have great fruit from Monterey, specifically their Pinnacles Ranch vineyard. And another thing corporate wineries have to offer is lower prices. Like under $15 for a pretty decent Pinot.
Read more: Wine review: Estancia 2009 Pinot Noir Monterey Pinnacles Ranch
The tasty Climber Chardonnay is part jumbo juicebox, part boxed wine. The pouch houses 2 bottles of wine with 90% less waste than glass. And… it’s quite drinkable. Even tasty. What’s more… it’s affordable and 1% of sales go towards Trees for the Future organization.
Read more: Wine review: The Climber Unoaked California Chardonnay in a pouch