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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve got to love this wine’s name. No, it’s not made by sisters or anyone twisted. Michael Martella, Martella Wines founder and Thomas Fogarty winemaker emeritus, likes to have fun with his wine. For him, that means dreaming up inventive blends, such as this Twisted Sisters white.
Lexington Wine Co. is a new label created by Thomas Fogarty Vineyards owner Tom Fogarty, Jr. and winemaker Nathan Kandler. They wanted to focus this project on Bordeaux varietals, distinct from the pinot noirs and chardonnays they make at Fogarty. For Lexington, the sole vineyard source is the Gist Ranch Estate, perched up high, at 2,400 feet.