The inky, red velvet color belies the lighter bodied wine in the glass. The first whiff is all cranberry and spice. Then, as you sip, tart, tart cranberries fill your mouth along with juicy plummy fruit. Then there’s the earthy note that makes this the perfect fall wine.
What I’m Drinking: Murrieta’s Well Merlot
Don’t get me started on “Sideways.” Sure, the movie helped weed out lots of mediocre Merlot, but it saddled the good ones with an unfair bad rap. Which is why, when I taste an exceptional one, I want to share it.
What I’m Drinking: Skinner Rosé x DDWA Reviews
One of my favorite wineries in El Dorado County, in the Sierra Foothills, is a pure Rhone wine house. Skinner Vineyards wines are matched by the spectacular 360 degree views from the tasting room, perched on a hill at more than 2,000 feet high, surrounded by estate vineyards. On a recent visit my tasting started with the 2017 Rosé, El Dorado County ($24 at winery tasting room).
What I’m Drinking: Knez Chardonnay
It’s always fun when you discover a wine in your collection that you kind of forgot about. This was the case with a bottle of 2012 Knez Winery Demuth Vineyard Chardonnay. I remembered really liking it when I tried it in 2014, so much so that I bought a bottle, and squirreled it away.
What I’m Drinking: Lingua Franca AVNI Pinot Noir x DDWA
On a recent vacation in Oregon, I stopped in to tour Lingua Franca, a Willamette Valley winery in the Eola-Amity HIlls AVA. This new winery, founded by perhaps the most famous and influential Master Sommelier (at least in wine circles), Larry Stone, is just now coming into its own.
What I’m Drinking: A Lodi Cabernet as good as any Napa Cab
Sometimes I like to have friends try a wine without telling them where it is from (fortunately they don’t inspect labels too closely). I was curious what some of my Napa Cabernet loving friends would think of Michael David’s 2015 Rapture Cabernet Sauvignon. This Lodi winery is better known for its whimsical label designs and series — such as the circus-themed Freak Show, 7 Deadly Zins or Earthquake – rather than for serious cab. Until now.
What I’m Drinking: Chamisal’s crowd-pleasing Chardonnay
Chardonnay lovers and non-Chard drinkers unite! I’ve found a California Chardonnay that both palates can agree upon. I recently served Chamisal Vineyard’s estate-grown 2015 Edna Valley Chardonnay ($35) at on pizza night at a friend’s house, and it was a hit, with both the Margarita and sauceless pie with peppery arugula and red onion.
What I’m Drinking: Bella Union’s velvety Cabernet Sauvignon
I recently popped the cork on this stunning bottle. Fans of Napa Valley’s Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel wineries will recognize the gilded art nouveau label that shares the same DNA.
What I’m Drinking: Big Basin Coastview Vineyard Syrah “Terraces”
Put your nose in a glass of this Monterey County Syrah from Big Basin Vineyards and you’ll find a big bouquet of violet floral aromas.
What I’m Drinking: Lucy Wines Rosé of Pinot Noir
In the #RoseAllDay category, you can’t beat Lucy Wines 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir. First, the stunning bottle is all I need as my table centerpiece. The magnum is even more impressive,a tall slender beauty. Pop the cork and pour this lovely pale rose-colored wine, and fresh strawberry notes jump out of the glass.