Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Varietal of the Month: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is well known for it’s spiky, lively acidity. Flavors range from lean, green and grassy, to creamy notes of passion fruit and fleshy peach depending on climate and how the wine is aged be it in stainless steel or oak. When it comes to food pairing—Sauvignon Blanc is the ultimate flex, versatile and accommodating to a vast array of foods from oysters on the half shell to cheese and charcuterie, or tomato based dishes.


Here are capsule reviews of Sauvignon Blanc you may find along the Wine Road.



ACAIBO 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County


The ACAIBO 2023 Sauvignon Blanc is the personal creation of Gonzague & Claire Lurton steeped in California terroir. On the nose, a delicate scent of sweet hay, ginger and green peppercorn. The palate is rich yet lean with Rainier cherry, lemon, honeyed-saffron and amber. Steely and precise, the long finish rides a wave of zippy acidity. Go with a classic pairing—oysters on the half shell.


ABV 13.5%

$ N/A



Baldassari 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, Knights Valley, Sonoma County


The Baldassari 2023 Sauvignon Blanc from Knights Valley in Sonoma County is pale yellow in the glass. On the nose, it’s a complex bouquet of lemongrass, white peach, ginger, lychee and a note of butterscotch. On the palate it’s fresh and sunshiny—a medley of citrus, limestone and honeydew with a flinty note of gooseberry and sea salt on the tangy finish. Pair with the beach and a good book!

ABV 13.2%

$ N/A



J. Bucher 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley


The J. Bucher 2023 Sauvignon Blanc is from the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley appellation. On the nose, scents of pink grapefruit, creamy peach and mango with a salty-lime note reminiscent of a Margarita. On the palate it has rolly–polly mouthfeel; both soft and spiky with flavors of guava, ginger, slate, lemon, green apple and grapefruit pith. It’s textured and elegant with fine balance on the finish. Pair with Scallop Ceviche.


ABV 14.1%




J. Rickards Winery 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, Croft Vineyard, Alexander Valley


The 2023 J. Rickards Sauvignon Blanc is from the Croft Vineyard in Alexander Valley. On the nose, enticing scents of jasmine, lemon grass, and salty buttered bread fill the glass. On the palate, it opens soft and creamy with notes of peach and fleshy Rainier cherry. Secondary flavors of kiwi and grapefruit follow with salty crisp acidity on the long finish. Pair with Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad.


ABV 14.2%




Pedroncelli 2023 Giovanni & Giulia Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley


The Pedroncelli 2023 Giovanni & Giulia Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley is named for the founders of the winery, which is fast approaching the 100th year in operation. On the nose fresh peach, lychee, honeydew melon, ginger and lime. It’s zesty with an approachable complexity of flavors that range from all-spice to lychee to caramelized pineapple and jalapeño. Pair with Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Chimichurri sauce.


ABV 13.5%



Sonoma-Cutrer 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley


The Sonoma-Cutrer 2023 Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley is a pale straw color with a tinge of green. On the nose a soft scent of peaches and cream with notes of lime and rose water. On the palate, crisp and bracing flavors of pink grapefruit, pear, honeydew, lychee and slate with soft secondary notes of vanilla and butterscotch. The long lingering finish buzzes with acidity. Pair with grilled Mango Chicken.


ABV 12.2%



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Style of the Month: Rosé


It’s that time of year again. Time for the new releases of Rosé—the summer favorite and year round delight. Light and lively, with flavors of strawberry, watermelon, and spice—Rosé is the crisp and refreshing choice for picnics and barbecues but also easy to pair with a variety of meal options. Rosé color can range from deep golden salmon to translucent onionskin to barely there pale pink. Fill you glass and get ready for another season of #RoseAllDay.


Here are some capsule reviews of Rosé wines you may find along the Wine Road.



Capo Creek 2023 Rosé of Grenache, North Coast


The Capo Creek 2023 Rosé of Grenache, North Coast is composed of 83% Grenache and 17% Zinfandel. It has a light salmon color with a nose of strawberry, cherry, Santa Rosa plum and watermelon. On the palate it’s soft as cotton candy, yet bold with spicy flavors of strawberry, ripe raspberry, cherry and pomegranate. Nice structure overall with a long spicy finish. Pair with Ginger Lime Panna Cotta.


ABV 14.1%

$ 28


Jeff Cohn Cellars Pure Pink 2023 Rosé of Syrah Rockpile Vineyard, DCV


The Jeff Cohn Cellars Pure Pink 2023 Rosé of Syrah is from the Rockpile Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. The color is a deep salmon with a golden glow at the edges. On the nose, scents of watermelon and pink peppercorn. On the palate, a medley of juicy mango, blackberries, raspberry, strawberry and grounding note of clove on the long bright finish. Pair with Parmesan and Onion tart.


AVB 13.2%

$ 35


Pedroncelli 2023 Dry Creek Valley Rosé of Zinfandel, Bushnell Vineyard


The Pedroncelli 2023, Dry Creek Valley, Rosé of Zinfandel from Bushnell Vineyard is a pretty copper rose gold in color. On the nose, notes of watermelon, candied strawberry, citron, grapefruit and a touch of ginger spice. On the palate it’s lively and spirited with refreshing flavors of bright strawberry, watermelon, pink grapefruit pith, and honeydew. Pair with Fried Green Tomatoes drizzled with sweet chili sauce.


ABV 13.9%



Quivira Vineyards 2023 Wine Creek Ranch Rosé DCV


The Quivira Vineyards 2023 Wine Creek Ranch Rosé from Dry Creek Valley is a

blend of 53% Grenache, 22% Petit Sirah, 14% Counoise, 7% Mourvedre, and 4% Primitivo. It has a soft pale pink color with a rosy gold rim like a sunrise. On the nose, it’s a summery confection of strawberry, watermelon, cherry and bubble gum.  On the palate, steely acidity with flavors of raspberry, strawberry, candied ginger and thyme. On the finish, a soft creaminess emerges with a distinct note of passion fruit. Pair with French radishes with herb butter and salt for dipping.


ABV 13.5%



Saini Vineyards 2023 Valentina Marie Rosé of Grenache DCV


The Saini Vineyards 2023 Valentina Marie Rosé of Grenache, Dry Creek Valley is a pale rose gold parchment color. On the nose, it’s aromatic with scents of spicy carnation, watermelon, cherry and pomegranate. On the palate it sings with flavors of lime, hibiscus, tomato leaf, ginger and a note of creamy passion fruit on the long fine finish. Pair with Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil salad.


ABV 12.5%



Robert Young Rachel’s Rosé 2022, Alexander Valley


The Robert Young Rachael’s Rosé 2022 Alexander Valley, is the first wine made by Rachael Taylor, a 6th generation scion of the Young Family, in honor of her great-great-great-grandmother Rachael Young. The color is a soft ginger pink with a gold tinge at the rim. On the nose, rose petals, strawberry, parchment, dried thyme and lavender linen. The palate is taut and tart with notes of sweet strawberry, orange marmalade, limeade, and rhubarb. Pair with grilled summer squash with a tomato-goat cheese pesto. 


ABV 13.2%


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Varietal of the Month: Grenache


Grenache is a wonderful and versatile varietal all on it’s own, but its claim to fame is its use as one of the fundamental grapes in the highly regarded French Rhone blend Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache is a medium bodied red wine with moderate acidity, and bright red fruit and strawberry flavors. The tannin structure can range from light and smooth to more pronounced depending on the climate in which it is grown.


Here are capsule reviews of Grenache wines you may find along the Wine Road.



Amista 2022 Grenache, Morningsong Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley


The Amista 2022 Grenache, Morningsong Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley is a harbinger of Spring with a fresh floral nose composed of plum blossom, red raspberry, a hint of clove, juniper and strawberry. On the palate, notes both sweet and savory come forward with hibiscus flower, dried strawberry, juniper and a flavor sensation like that of a fine confectionary made of dusty rose petals and fine pea gravel. That may sound weird, but trust me—it’s delicious—delicate and balanced. It has great structure with soft acidity and medium tannins on a long fine spicy finish. Pair with Croque Monsieur sandwich, a melted marvel composed of French ham and Gruyère cheese.


ABV 14.7%



Capo Creek 2021 Estate Grenache, Dry Creek Valley


The Capo Creek 2021 Estate Grenache, Dry Creek Valley opens with a nose of dried rose petals and the bright scent of red cherry, strawberry compote, plum, clove and violets. It also has a luxe scent like that of a fine bag made of pebbled Nappa leather— deep and earthy. On the palate, a soft acidity with herbal notes of rosemary and thyme mingle with flavors of sweet plum, warm fig newton and a touch of strawberry. Medium tannins and a spicy finish make this a sure thing for pairing with a hearty Moroccan stew.


ABV 14.2%

$ 85


David Coffaro 2022 Grenache, Dry Creek Valley


The David Coffaro 2022 Grenache, Dry Creek Valley is aromatic and bursting with scents of ripe red and black cherries, candied lavender, Madagascar vanilla and a spice mix of clove, nutmeg and white pepper. On the palate it’s supple and savory full of juicy plum, strawberry, blood orange peel, cinnamon, piecrust and a bit of figgy pudding. Great texture with a long dry finish and soft tannins. Pair with curried empanadas.


ABV 15.0%



Davis Family Vineyards 2021 Grenache, Dry Creek Valley


The Davis Family Vineyards 2021 Grenache, Dry Creek Valley is seductive and bold with aromas of sugarplum, rose petals, dried herbs, raspberry, sage and sandalwood. Like the atelier of a master perfume maker, the scents mingle and blend in the most amazing ways. On the palate a range of flavors from red cherry, and dried strawberry to black olive, lavender, thyme, and black tea. Supple and silky body texture with light tannins and acidity that support a smooth and spicy finish. Pair with Liberty duck and cherry-pomegranate sauce.


ABV 13.9%



The Meeker Vineyard 2022 Grenache North Coast


If Willy Wonka made wine it would probably be as whimsical and magical as The Meeker Vineyard 2022 Grenache. It has a dreamscape of scents with a soft perfumed nose of vanilla, musk, strawberry-anise, spicy carnation and clove. On the palate, blackcherry, dried strawberry, spun sugar, fig and a tangy herbal note of sour red cherry and thyme. Great texture with medium acidity, soft tannins and a zesty, piquant finish. Pair with something sweet and savory like a Summer berry pie or poached pears. And for the record—I’m team Gene Wilder all the way, Depp and Chalamet have their moments but nothing beats the OG Willy Wonka of 1971.


ABV 14.6%



Moshin Vineyards 2021 Grenache, Scotts Creek Vineyard, Russian River Valley


The Moshin Vineyards 2021 Grenache, Scotts Creek Vineyard, Russian River Valley is like a cheerful song you can’t stop humming. It has a lyrical nose of rose petals, plum, strawberry, black cherry, sunshine and sage. On the palate a big bang of rich flavors with red plum, pomegranate, raspberry and clove. The light tannins and juicy acidity bring forward notes of leather and crushed gravel with a warm peppery finish. It’s smooth and soft like the lyrics to Soft Kitty! (Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, little ball of fur, Happy Kitty, Sleepy Kitty, Purr purr purr...) If Sheldon drank wine he’d pair this with mee krob and chicken satay with extra peanut sauce.


ABV 13.3%



Peterson 2017 GSM, Dry Creek Valley 


The Peterson 2017 GSM, Dry Creek Valley has a scent that is dusty and floral with a touch of saddle leather and a lovely whiff of herbs that smell like sage and chaparral with a note of petrichor. It’s like riding horseback through the high dessert after a light rain. On the palate it’s popping with complexity presenting flavors of raspberry, blackberry and spicy plum sauce. Saddle up and enjoy the ride as this wine takes you on a sensory journey to flavor land. Pair with barbecued ribs slathered with a tangy tomato based sauce with maple, apple-cider vinegar, and brown sugar.


ABV 14.7%



Thursday, March 21, 2024

Varietal of the Month: Merlot


Merlot practically needs no introduction; it’s one of the Nobel grapes, and one of the most planted grapes in the world. Perhaps you heard of Merlot in a movie that made the grape fall out of fashion? But that was decades ago and Merlot is back front and center and in the swing of things again. Although in truth Merlot never left the scene, it’s just been waiting for it’s moment to shine again and that moment is now.


Alexander Valley Vineyards 2020 Merlot, Alexander Valley

The Alexander Valley Vineyards 2020 Merlot is rich, smooth and full flavored. On the nose it has notes of plum, black cherry, vanilla, fig newton, and a touch of graphite. On the palate it sings with juicy cherry, chocolate, cedar and a light note of sage. Soft and plush, with great texture, it has fine balanced tannins that stipple across the palate and through to the finish. Pair with a Sideways watch party.

AVB 14.0%


Amphora 2019 Merlot, Dry Creek Valley

The Amphora 2019 Merlot from Dry Creek Valley is garnet in color with a pale rose edge. On the nose an earthy quality comes through with notes of violets, blueberry, cedar and leather. As it opens red raspberry and fig come into play. On the palate it’s deep and full flavored with plum, cassis, and chocolate. Smooth with well integrated tannins that linger on the spicy finish. Pair with spicy chicken-cheese enchiladas .

ABV 13.6%


Francis Ford Coppola 2020 Merlot, Alexander Valley

The Francis Ford Coppola 2020 Merlot from Alexander Valley, composed of 82.4% Merlot, 15.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Cab Franc; has an approachable complexity that makes it an easy choice for sharing among friends and family with diverse palates. On the nose, scents of chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, blueberry, dusty violets and a pleasant whiff of s’mores roasting over a campfire. On the palate it’s rich and plush with fine sandy tannins and flavors of chocolate covered raspberry, rhubarb, and note of black olive. Pair with a poetic and romantic musical such as One From the Heart by Francis Ford Coppola. ;-)

ABV 15.0%


Ehert 2019 Merlot, Knights Valley

Imagine a circus of the senses and that’s what you’ll find in a glass of the Ehret 2019 Merlot, composed of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s exciting and vibrant on the nose with scents of bright red cherry, raspberry, vanilla and spun sugar aka cotton candy. On the palate it’s a smooth operator with notes of caramel, plum, huckleberry, cocoa and a note of bay leaf and black olive. Great texture with soft balanced tannins and a spicy finish make this a natural to pair with a variety of dishes from hearty lasagna to grilled salmon.

ABV 15.5%


Ektimo 2020 Merlot, Russian River Valley

The Ektimo 2020 Merlot from Russian River Valley is like a poem written by the vineyard with earthy prose and poise you can taste. On the nose it has a gentle herbal note of bay leaf along with scents of dried strawberry, black cherry, and toffee. On the palate, it’s soft and plush with flavors of chocolate cherry, blackberry, tobacco and toasty vanilla. Long finish with supple tannins and a spicy tangy finish. Pair with a rib eye steak and chimichurri sauce.

ABV 14.5%


Longboard 2021 Merlot, Dakine Vineyard, Russian River Valley

The Longboard 2021 Merlot, Dakine Vineyard, Russian River Valley is a field blend of Merlot and small amount of Malbec (11%) that is co-fermented. It smells like a warm chocolate éclair (so delicious) with rich scents of plum, caramel and red raspberry too. On the palate it’s plush and curvaceous with deep flavors of chocolate, thyme, and cafe au lait. Fine sandy tannins and great overall structure give it staying power to the last drop. It would be fun to buy a half dozen bottles now and open at two-year intervals to see where it will go. It’s sure to be a special destination. Pair with lamb kabobs and pomegranate sauce.

ABV 14.5%


Robert Young 2019 Merlot, Alexander Valley

This meticulously made Robert Young 2019 Merlot from Alexander Valley is a pleasure from beginning to end. On the nose, a heady array of scents rises up from the glass with aromas of blackberry pie, raspberry, black olive, tobacco and chocolate. On the palate it’s luxurious and rich with soft tannins that ripple with flavors of cherry, Santa Rosa plum, dark cocoa, and dried strawberry. Pair with a simple charcuterie board or chili cheeseburgers.

ABV 14.1%


Wine Road Podcast: Lucas Meeker, Co-Owner and Winemaker at The Meeker Vineyard



Friday, February 16, 2024

Wines of the Month: Winter Whites - Riesling and Gewurztraminer


This month we offer reviews of two cool climate varietals—Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Winter is a great time to try these aromatic white wines and add a bit of tropical sparkle to your day with the crisp fresh flavors of these delicious food friendly wines. Check out the Winter Whites below that you may find along the Wine Road.


CAST Riesling 2022 Sonoma Coast

The CAST 2022 Riesling from Sonoma Coast has a light white floral nose of honeysuckle and jasmine. On the palate it leads with bright citrus notes of Meyer lemon and pink grapefruit. Secondary notes of apricot and ginger meld with a zesty hit of orange peel that boosts the acidity. The finish is long with soft notes of chalk, beeswax and limestone. Bright and focused it’s the first Riesling vintage from CAST and one to be savored. Enjoy with spicy Shrimp Pad Thai.

ABV 11.8%


Dutcher Crossing 2021 Riesling Wine Makers Circle Russian River Valley

As I tasted the Dutcher Crossing 2021 Riesling from Russian River Valley, I was struck by its magical qualities. Well, not really magical, more like irresistible. So charming and enchanting a Riesling, I fell under its spell. On the nose, aromas of honeysuckle, beeswax and jasmine, with a slight hint of petrol, a characteristic note in Riesling. On the palate, flavors both tart and sweet—a crisp tropical explosion of juicy pineapple, guava, mango, green apple and candied ginger. The long finish is tart with a wonderful creamy coconut note. Pair this magical elixir with slow-roasted pork smothered in a spicy chili crisp-apricot-pomegranate glaze.

ABV 12.5%


Furthermore Wines 2021 Riesling Sonoma Coast

The Furthermore Wines 2021 Riesling has all the earmarks of a classic. On the nose it’s aromatic and refined with scents both floral and honeyed including notes of beeswax, jasmine, orange blossom, and a touch of wet slate and petrol. On the palate it’s zesty and zippy with lime and juicy grapefruit at the forefront along with notes of pineapple, ginger and beeswax. Tart acidity and minerality on the finish makes it great for pairing with a spicy dish such as Thai red curry.

ABV 12.6%


Williamson Wines 2021 Frisky Riesling, Lake County

The Williamson Wines 2021 Riesling from Lake County has the moniker “Frisky” for a reason. It’s quite the character exuding a bright juicy personality brimming over with flavor and brilliant acidity. On the nose, fresh citrusy aromatics with initial notes of honeysuckle, pineapple, lilac and ginger. It’s steely and precise with tart and juicy flavors of ripe peach, crisp green apple, pear, lemongrass and a grounding mineral note of limestone. A splendid balance of texture and flavor this is a Riesling that needs no pairing to enjoy, but will certainly shine with Spicy Crab sushi rolls.

ABV 13.5%


Harvest Moon 2021 Sparkling Gewurztraminer, Russian River Valley

The Harvest Moon 2021 Sparkling Gewurztraminer from Russian River Valley is a focused confluence of flavor and body. First of all how often do you find a Sparkling Gewurztraminer? Not that often and when it’s made like this one, best grab a bottle or two. On the nose warm scents of brioche, marzipan, rose petals and spicy ginger. On the palate, it walks a tightrope between creamy and steely body weight with delicious flavors of lychee, grapefruit, quince and orange peel. You’ll find a fine bubble stream and great balance in this lean but luscious sparkler. I had one glass, and before I could have another my husband had finished the bottle. Pair with someone who knows how to share!

ABV 12.5%


Russian River Vineyards 2022 Gewurztraminer Sonoma Valley

The Russian River Vineyards 2022 Gewurztraminer from Sonoma Valley smells like a tropical rain with soft aromatics of peach, lychee, spicy carnation, Turkish delight (rose water) and honeysuckle. On the palate it exhibits great texture with bracing acidity and lush flavors of ripe peach, grapefruit, ginger, lychee and coconut. On the finish, a lingering note of juniper and lime with a hint of bergamot. It’s juicy yet steely; a fine balance of sweet and tart. Pair with spring rolls and Hoisin dipping sauce.

ABV 14%

Friday, January 19, 2024

Varietal of the Month: Viognier


Viognier, originally from the Northern Rhone Valley in France, is a full-bodied white wine with a rich, unctuous texture. Intensely aromatic, Viognier has good acidity, tannin structure, and relatively high alcohol. Viognier from cool climates tend towards bright citrus notes, while warm climate wines exhibit deeper floral notes and ripe stone fruit flavors. Pronounced [Vee-ohn-yay]



Capo Creek 2022 Estate Viognier, Dry Creek Valley


The Capo Creek Estate Viognier is aromatic and fresh with aromas of honeysuckle, peach, apricot and orange blossom with a grounding note of toasted almond. On the palate it’s deep and rich with rippling acidity and flavors of lime, white peach and ripe mango. The long finish rings with notes of orange peel and crushed rose petals. Satisfying and textural, pair with a spicy Moroccan lamb curry


ABV 13.5%


Carol Shelton Wild Thing Viognier 2022 Central Coast


The label on Carole Shelton’s 2022 Wild Thing Viognier is a major hint to the delights held within. Bursting with fresh floral aromatics, it fills the glass with scents of white flowers, honeydew, orange zest and a touch of marzipan. On the palate it’s taut and crisp with juicy notes of apple, creamy white peach and lime zest. Pair with spicy empanadas.


ABV 13.7%



Francis Coppola Reserve 2022 Viognier Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley


The Francis Coppola Reserve 2022 Viognier from Catie’s Corner is part of a portfolio of wines that showcase distinctive sites in Sonoma County and Catie’s Corner vineyard is renowned for a select few varietals including Viognier. On the nose, a bouquet of soft white floral scents with orange blossom, honeysuckle, peach, and lime zest. On the palate lively acidity balances the plush favors of fleshy white peach, mango, and ripe apricot. Long soft finish with a light note of honey-almond. Pair with Pad Thai or Chicken Satay with spicy peanut sauce.


ABV 14.5%



J. Rickards 2022 Viognier Il Sogno Ranch, Dry Creek Valley


The J. Rickards 2022 Viognier from Il Sogno Ranch, Dry Creek Valley opens with a tropical mélange of aromatics featuring mango, lemongrass, lime, coconut and spicy ginger. On the palate, it’s lean and bright with a lithe, supple texture and citrus notes of lime, and ginger, plus a touch of orange creamsicle. The long finish is clean and taut with a balance of apricot, green apple and a sunny note of orange peel. Pair with grilled chicken topped with mango chutney.


ABV 14.3%



Russian River Vineyards 2022 Viognier Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley


Great wines hail from great vineyards and Catie’s Corner in Russian River Valley is one of the most storied and lauded for Viognier. The Russian River Vineyards 2022 Viognier from Catie’s Corner in Russian River Valley is a rush for the senses. The nose is chock full of fresh aromatics with scents of honeysuckle, peach, orange blossom and a touch of thyme. On the palate it’s lively and balanced with fleshy white peach, honeydew, crisp green apple and soft apricot. Clean lean finish makes it a natural to pair with spicy tuna sushi rolls.


AVB 13.2%



Robert Young Viognier 2021 Alexander Valley


The Robert Young 2021 Viognier from Alexander Valley is complex and compelling with an ultra soft nose and equally soft palate— it’s like a whisper from the vines to your senses. On the nose a whiff of honeysuckle, and the subtle sweet scent of apple blossom, and sun warmed peach. On the palate it’s rich and textured with flavors of peach, mango, guava, and honeydew coupled with an ever so soft patter of light tannins on the finish like tiny kitten paw prints. Balanced and bright with a lovely soupçon of sweetness, it’s worthy of drinking all on it’s own or pair with a simple charcuterie board of salamis and creamy cheeses.


ABV 14.1%



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