2018 California Pinot Grigio

  • Producer: D.H. Elliott
  • Location: California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $10-$13 (Naked Wines)
  • Tasting notes: Pale straw color. First impression was of chardonnay when tasting – smooth and creamy like a chardonnay, and the flavors of apple, pear, lemon curd and a touch of vanilla made this not your typical Pinot Grigio. A few herbal notes came mid-palate and there was some nice bramble and peach on the finish. Good flavor and interesting to drink.
  • Conclusions: When I opened this bottle I was not expecting this wine. I was thinking it would be either not much flavor at all (unfortunately like a lot of Pinot Grigio out there) or very citrus forward. It wasn’t. This was a really good, lots of good flavor Pinot Grigio. After being opened a day, more of the citrus came out, but the smooth texture was still there making this a wine I may very well pick up again.

Sonoma County Chardonnay

  • Producer:Franc Dusak
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $18 (not what we paid)
  • Tasting notes: Pale yellow in the glass with notes of apple, vanilla and white peach on the nose. Apple and quince with a little something I can’t identify. Lightly herbal with some stone fruit and mineral notes on the finish. Very smooth – creamy but not oily or buttery at all.
  • Conclusions: Very nice, easy to drink wine and much better than expected for a Chardonnay. This paired really well with our cheese plate, especially a double cream from Sweet Grass Dairy.
  • Notes: Since Val moved to California she has been drinking wine again and she introduced us to Naked Wines. While I’m usually skeptical of wine “clubs” where the wines are made for them only (can’t find them in stores) I decided to give them a try and used the coupon Val sent me to get a case of wine for about $60. I figured for about $5 a bottle, I can afford to try it. I’m actually glad I did. This is the first wine we had from them, but I was pretty impressed. I’m not a chardonnay gal most of the time, but this was good. I wanted something that would take me out of my comfort zone and make me try different wines again (I felt like I was getting into a wine rut – a very nice wine rut, but a rut all the same). So we will see how long I like these wines and what will happen when I run out of this case. But so far, really pretty good.

Bedrock Wirz Riesling

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: Cienega Valley, CA (grapes from here, winery in Sonoma)
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $22 from winery
  • Tasting notes: Dark straw in the glass. Notes of apple cider and petrol on the nose with a little green grape. Tastes of melon, apple, and lime. Finish is long with a little vanilla and citrus.
  • Conclusions: Beautiful, easy drinking wine. This is one of those wines that reminds me why I have way to much Bedrock wine in my house. Every bottle is fantastic and both easy to drink and complex at the same time. I could have sat for hours sipping and parsing flavors, but it is just as easy to sit and enjoy good wine, food and conversation with friends with this wine. Not sweet at all, but just enough to balance the high acidity that riesling is known for.
  • Notes: Usually I get my Bedrock wine during their allocation period a few times a year. This is one of the wines I got sometime last year. It is also a wine we picked up when we were at the tasting room in July. I had forgotten what I ordered earlier in the summer, and just loved this so much while we were there, we got a few bottles. When all the shipments came in together in December, we had double the riesling, which made me very happy indeed.

Bordeaux Blanc

  • Producer: Jean Marc Barthez
  • Location: Bordeaux, France
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: not sure
  • Tasting notes: Pale yellow in color and a very light nose. Almost no aroma in the glass. Maybe a little orange blossom, chalk and citrus, but faint. A little effervescence. Tastes of Jasmine tea, lemon and other citrus. Medium finish.
  • Conclusions: Very good and paired incredibly well with a cheese plate. Easy to drink with just enough complexity to keep it interesting.
  • Notes: We have been part of our local cheese shop’s “monthly cheese club” for few years now and we love it. Last year they added a cheese and wine club and we decided to try that for the first part of this year. Two cheeses and two wines a month. This bottle came from the January cheese and wine club and was a great way to start. I also have to add, that the cheese Kiara paired this with – a California cheese in the brie style, but creamier – was amazing and the combination was particularly good. We can’t wait to try the red with the pecorino – notes to follow soon.

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2018 MoniClaire Sauvignon Blanc

  • Producer: MoniClaire Vineyards
  • Location: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $28 (from Winery)
  • Tasting notes: Honeysuckle, lemon and orange on the nose. Definitely a Sauvignon Blanc – lots of lemon, grapefruit and citrus taste. A little herbal, some lemon curd and a little biscuit quality towards the finish. Good acidity and a beautiful finish.
  • Conclusions: Easy drinking, lovely fruit balanced by good acidity. This is a wine that you can sit and contemplate or just sip and enjoy.
  • Notes: When we went to Sonoma in June, this was one of the wineries that we found on our wine tour. A tiny family operation (husband and wife and they live on the property) they make less than 50 cases of this wine and you can see the little plot where the grapes are planted. Even their larger wine – Zinfandel – is still sub 200 cases and is one of the best zinfandels I’ve ever had (different post on that hopefully soon). The owners are great and their wines are lovely and it is fantastic that I can support what is literally a small family winery in practice, not just as a marketing pitch.

 

Unleashed Chardonnay

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Price estimate: $15
  • Tasting notes: Medium yellow in color with a bit of straw tending to clear at the edges. Thicker body and slow legs for a white wine. On the nose, lemon pie, tiny bit of lemon zest, vanilla custard (homemade, not the box stuff – yes, there is a smell difference) and a slight note of slate. Round mouthfeel – borders on buttery, but keeps a step back from that line. Stone fruit is the predominant flavor up front – apricot, nectarine – with a bit of refreshing citrus. Mid-palate has a subtle granite thread that leads to an herbal finish. Not a harsh herb finish, but the kinds of herbs you cook with to add something to the final dish even if you can’t decipher the specific herbs.
  • Conclusions: In general, I shy away from Chardonnay, especially ones that have a rounder mouthfeel. This one has a hint of the California style – big and buttery – but it is restrained and really enjoyable to drink and with food (corn soup and a pasta salad in this case) it shines.
  • Notes: I’m going to have to peruse the spreadsheet and find other wines to drink since the last few have been from the same winery, but we did get our case from them very quickly after we got home, so we’ve been balancing the “save and savor” with the “drink now” feelings. The texture of this wine is the most interesting to me – it is un-oaked but it feels (not tastes) oak aged. To get the texture just right might be super simple, but I’m guessing it is actually really difficult to do and this one nails it. Super smooth with a hint of buttery texture, definite malolactic fermentation. It feels like it could go over the edge with less care and attention, but it doesn’t.

Pinot Blanc Reserve

  • Producer: Gustave Lorentz
  • Location: Alsace, France
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: $15 retail, ($11 on sale from Weekly Tasting)
  • Tasting notes: Light to medium yellow in color. Nose is very light – difficult to find many aromas, but as the wine warms a little some floral notes and lemon curd begin to come through with a tiny bit of fresh apple. The wine is clean and round on the palate with notes of melon, apple, nectarine and white grape. Acidity is nice – not strong, but present. Finish is clean with a decent length. The apple and a little pear come through on the finish.
  • Conclusions: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this wine as I’m not terribly familiar with Pinot Blanc, but it’s good. Refreshing in the “good summer sipper” category of wines, this isn’t something I’m going to hold for a super special occasion, but I’m happy drinking it. This paired well with an Asian dish, and with quinoa tacos and was also pretty good alone. 12.5% ABV
  • imageNotes: When Bob and I went to Sonoma we wanted to focus on Zinfandels, but also look for good whites. We succeeded in finding zin’s that we really loved (you should be seeing some of those posts in the coming months) but we didn’t focus on whites, so when I saw Weekly Tasting was doing an inventory clearance sale, I decided to get a case of whites – things I could drink all summer and not feel the need to ration. I didn’t intend to get the Pinot Blanc, but they sent it instead of a Riesling, which I was totally okay with (seriously, for $11 I’m honestly not going to quibble). I did want to let them know so it wouldn’t impact their inventory or potentially another customer, but they offered to send the Riesling anyway and asked me to keep the Pinot Blanc. This was absolutely unnecessary, but I mention it because this isn’t the first time they have gone out of their way to make something right (the first time it was totally a FedEx issue, but they fixed it for me after I could not get anywhere with FedEx). Good wine, decent prices and fantastic customer service.

The Y Series Chardonnay

  • Producer: Yalumba Family Winemakers
  • Location: South Australia
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $12
  • Tasting notes: Pale to medium yellow in color. Tropical fruits – pineapple and papaya on the nose. Relatively round mouthfeel but enough acidity to prevent the oily consistency chardonnay can sometimes have. Subtle flavors of peach, apricot, pineapple and lemon are present, but the flavors do not linger.
  • Conclusions: Not bad at all. Chardonnay is not my go-to white wine, but I was intrigued by the bottle at Whole Foods (don’t judge, they had an actual good sale on a few things I use frequently and picking up wine there saved me a trip elsewhere) and decided to try it. It is actually a pretty good wine and one I’m not minding indulging in on a Tuesday evening. 13% ABV
  • Notes: I picked this up as we waited for some of our wine from Sonoma to arrive. Most of what we bought won’t be here until the fall because the temperature are just too high to safely ship, but we did one mixed case with temperature control, so we should have that by the time this posts. I also decided to go for a few whites from Whole Foods because, while I had every intention of trying to focus more on white wine out in California, we ended up loving more reds and picking up many more reds than whites. Next time we go out I’m going to try to seek out producers who specialize in whites if I can.

Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling

  • Producer: Desire Line Wine Company
  • Location: Mendocino County, CA
  • Year: 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $22
  • Tasting notes: Medium yellow in color with an aroma of apples, white grape and honeysuckle on the nose. Some of the traditional petrol aroma present, but not prominent. Apple is the dominant flavor in this wine this year, followed by white peach, apricot, and (oddly) a bit of cherry. Nice acidity but not overly harsh. Good finish with some white pepper and tart apple.
  • Conclusions: While not as good as the 2016, this is still a winner in my book. Very apple-y in taste (but I like that) and just a really pleasant wine to drink.
  • Notes: Last year was the first release for this winery and I felt pretty lucky to get some of the first release after I tasted the first bottle. Bob and I liked it so much, we held one bottle of the 2016 to see what it would do in a few years. I’m kind of excited to hold a bottle of the 2017 and do a vertical tasting in a few years. This is assuming that A. I have the space to just store wine that I’m not going to drink and B. I can keep myself from opening the bottle before 2020. Neither is a given.

 

Rivata Prosecco

  • Producer: Rivata
  • Location: Veneto,Italy
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Bubbly – white
  • Price estimate: $11 (Total Wine)
  • Tasting notes:  Very pale straw in color with fine bubbles. Notes of apple on the nose.  Taste is apple, pear and white peach. Some white grape and almond with a nice effervescence. Clean, crisp and dry.
  • Conclusions: I love Prosecco and this one is no exception. Easy to drink with a moderate alcohol content, it’s pretty perfect with our cheese box this month and a little dessert. Would probably work well just for a drink too because you should always drink bubbly just because.
  • Notes: After New Year’s I wanted some bubbly just to have on hand. Every now and then I want sparkling wine just because I like it and it is fun to drink. So, we stopped by Total Wine and picked up a bottle to have on hand, and it worked out rather well. I may need to get some more since at $11 it is about the cheapest wine I drink.