Wine recommendations

  • Dom Diogo Vinho Verde Rosé 2106 ($15). Made from the indigenous Portuguese padeiro- A bit of frizzante introduces this wine along with strawberry flavors and a very smooth delivery.   

  • Hyatt Merlot Rattlesnake Hills Washington 2012 ($15). Classic, well-made merlot with bright cherry flavors accented with a nice dose of oak that is well integrated. Not terribly complicated but a pleasure to drink by itself or with bold meat dishes.  

  • Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine Candlestick Blend 2013 ($55).  We loved the spirited yet deep and rich blend of syrah and grenache. It's well beyond your simple California blend, due in part to the sourcing for the grapes on Howell Mountain. Generous floral aromas and black cherry, blackberry fruit flavors and a dash of pepper.   

  •  Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Chardonnay 2015 ($38). Chappellet acquired this property in 2011 and has been applying its magic to some pretty good grape sources. We're betting good things will come to this chardonnay and pinot noir house. The Envoy, made in small quantities, hits all the right notes for those who like their chardonnay rich and lush: tropical fruit flavors with lemon and peach notes and a heathly dose of vanillin oak.  

  • Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay 2015 ($40). Rich texture with noticeable oak and ample peach/lemon curd flavors. Vanillin oak with some citrus notes.   

  • La Crema Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2014 ($30).  With malolatic and full barrel fermentation, stirring of the lees and more, you can expect a textured, silky and rich chardonnay like this provides. Good mango and pear flavors.  

  • La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 ($23). A good value, this chardonnay is round and medium-bodied with lemon aromas and melon, peach flavors. Soft on the palate with a hint of spice and lemon.  

  • Miner Family Winery Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2012 ($50).  This heady and rich, full-bodied chardonnay has the guts to stand up to the most complicated seafood dishes yet is delicious to enjoy by itself. Luxurious in texture, it has ripe pear and melon notes with a dominant dose of butterscotch.   

  • Fortress Knight's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 ($40). A pleasing blend of 88 percent cabernet sauvignon, and a dash ofpetite verdot, malbec, and merlot. A modestly intense and sophisticated red wine with a blackberry and cassis nose and flavors, some spice and a tad of sweet vanillin oak.  

  • Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Jane’s Vineyard Sonoma County 2014. We really liked this easy drinking pinot noir that personified the crop of delicious pinot noir currently coming from a number good California producers. Cherries and spice with a whiff of integrated oak make this wine a crowd pleaser.   

  • Chateau Lassegue Grand Cru Saint Emilion 2009 ($90). A very ripe fruit enticing Red Bordeaux made by famed winemaker Pierre Seillan. 60 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet franc and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon this currently available wine is in a good spot now. Coffee, cassis nose with berries and cassis flavors and a classic hint of leather. Very complete.  

  • Argento Reserva Cabernet Franc 2014 ($18). We liked this unique, full-bodied cabernet franc from Argentina.  Aromatic with herry and raspberry notes and sweet tannins.  

  • Castello di Gabbiano Dark Knight Red Blend 2015 ($17).  Just introduced this year, this Tuscan blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese follows the Gabbiano principal of overdelivering quality for the price. It has a full-body structure with generous ripe berry and spice aromas, followed by red berry flavors and a hint of mocha.    

  • Chateau Cambon La Pelouse 2012 ($18). You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on bordeaux. Maybe it's not as complicated as you expect, but this Haut Medoc blend of merlot (48 percent), cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot has generous black cherry and dark berry flavors and fine tannins.  

  • Chateau La Cardonne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 ($25). A blend of 50 percent merlot, 45 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc, this is a delightful red bordeaux from the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Berry and cassis nose and flavors with a hint of leather. Very drinkable now but should evolve well over the next 3-5 years..   

 

  • Chateau Souverain California Chardonnay 2014 ($13). Winemaker Ed Killian has a killer series of wines that are very reasonably priced. Although “California” is a very broad appellation lacking flavors unique to a specific vineyard, the chardonnay and companion merlot and cabernet sauvignon are well-made, delicious wines for the price. Nothing fancy here, but reliable and full-bodied. The chardonnay has citrus aromas and pineapple flavors with a dash of spice.  

  • Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec 2014 ($17). We had an opportunity to taste three malbecs from this producer. The Trivento Reserve at $11 is a good buy, but for a few bucks more this reserve delivers much more fruit and body. Firm body yields blueberry and plum flavors.  

  • Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot 2014 ($19). This is quite a deal for what you get: a full-body, balanced merlot with black cherry and plum flavors and a good dose of spice and tannin.  

ROSES GALORE

  • Aia Vecchia Solidio ($14). Flower petal aromas combine with cherry flavors to make a decent aperitif. 
  • Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals 2016 ($15). As the label suggests, this blend of grenache and syrah is boisterous with strawberry and raspberry flavors.  
  • Leyda Pinot Noir Rose 2016 ($16). Using pinot noir from this coastal region of Leyda Valley in Chile, this producer has made a unique rose with bright and pure cherry fruit flavors.
  •  Presqu'ile Pinot Noir Rose 2016 ($22). Made entirely from pinot noir grown in Santa Maria Valley, this exquisite wine has fresh strawberry flavors and crisp acidity. 
  • Castello di Bossi Rosato Toscana IGT 2016 ($18). A blend of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon, this Tuscan rose has lots cherry and cranberry flavors with a dash of dried herbs on the nose. Very nice. 
  • Clos Pegase Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($50). The blended grapes in this voluptuous wine have more than a supporting role. Petit verdot, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah and Malbec give the 75 percent cabernet sauvignon a burst of flavor, aromas and body. Flavors widely range from black cherries to plums with hints of cedar, licorice and sage.   Dense and forward.    

  • Fortress Knight's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 ($40). A pleasing blend of 88 percent cabernet sauvignon, and a dash ofpetite verdot, malbec, and merlot. A modestly intense and sophisticated red wine with a blackberry and cassis nose and flavors, some spice and a tad of sweet vanillin oak.  

  • Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Jane’s Vineyard Sonoma County 2014. We really liked this easy drinking pinot noir that personified the crop of delicious pinot noir currently coming from a number good California producers. Cherries and spice with a whiff of integrated oak make this wine a crowd pleaser.   

  • Chateau La Cardonne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 ($25). A blend of 50 percent merlot, 45 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc, this is a delightful red bordeaux from the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Berry and cassis nose and flavors with a hint of leather. Very drinkable now but should evolve well over the next 3-5 years.. 

  • Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2013 ($27). This zesty blend of all five Bordeaux grapes sang when we served it alongside grilled steak. Deep and dark with rich cherry/berry flavors and scents. Ready to drink now or age 3-5 years.