Weekend Wine Notes: Eight Delightful and Charming White Wines

What more is there to say after “delightful and charming”? These are wines designed to provide your weekend — or the whole week, for that matter — with pleasure, deliciousness and elegance. We range widely in this post: Greece, Germany, Oregon, California, Long Island, Mendoza and Chablis. All single-variety wines, their grapes include assyrtiko, indigenous to the island of Santinori; pinot gris, not that common in the Rhineland; riesling and sauvignon blanc; gruner veltliner and pinot blanc; semillon and chardonnay. As usual in these Weekend Wine Notes, I largely eschew technical, historical and geographical data for the sake of quick, incisive reviews meant to pique your interest and whet your palate. With one exception, the wines were samples for review. Enjoy! (In moderation, of course.)
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argyros
Estate Argyros Assyrtiko 2015, Santinori, Greece. 14% alc. This one will make you wish you were sitting in a little cafe looking out ...
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chablis

Havens Winery 2014 Merlot, Napa Valley

Havens Winery 2014 Merlot Napa Valley

Havens Winery 2014 Merlot Napa Valley

A stellar  bottle of Napa red.  All you merlot haters should pick up a bottle, just to see how wrong you can be. If Tom Hardy was a wine, he would be a bottle of this juice: muscular, dramatic, and brooding.  Toasted spice, belgian truffle, and creme de cassis. A famous wine writer said “the 2014 Merlot from Havens Winery remarkably celebrated their 30th vintage in Napa.” Sure, the sentence structure is a bit awkward, but the main point that the winery has been around for 30 years is a bit misleading.  Havens Winery went bankrupt years ago (I used to work there).  The former Havens facility in Napa is now owned by Trinchero Family Estates. Joel Gott is making wine there now. The Havens label –which includes this wine– is now part of Stonehedge Winery. That is pretty common these days. Wineries come and ...

DeLille Cellars Crushes It with 2014 Four Flags Cab Sauvignon

The 2014 DeLille Cellars Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon follows up the impressive 2013 vintage, and showcases the depth and structure resulting from Red Mountain grapes. Since its first vintage in 2010, executive winemaker Chris Upchurch has crafted a beautiful wine that becomes more and more powerful with each year. This 2014 beauty exhibits the classic structure of Cabernet Sauvignon from four Red Mountain vineyards. According to DeLille Cellars: “Grand Ciel (42%) brings elegance and purity of fruit while Upchurch (31%) demonstrates rich, savory, and mouthwatering character. Ciel du Cheval (19%) contributes structure, black fruits and minerality balanced by the commanding, ripe flavors from Klipsun (8%).” The 2014 Four Flags is inky in color, full-bodied, balanced, intense, and savory, featuring aromas of cassis, spices and minerality, followed by layered flavors of dark fruits, licorice, spice and a touch of flint. At $68 and a 93-95 barrel rating from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, this lucious Cabernet ...

An Eclectic Case of Rosés

This survey of 12 rosé wines began as a Weekend Wine Notes post, but here it is, Wednesday, hardy the weekend at all, so I’m keeping the usual Weekend Wine Notes format but dropping that designation. We touch many styles of rosé wine amid this roster as well as many far-flung geographical regions. The grapes involved are also of broad variety, including merlot, pinot noir, tempranillo, grenache, syrah and even cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. While a few of these rosés could tolerate aging beyond this calendar year, all are really intended for immediate appeal and consumption, whether your choice of venue is the porch, the patio, by poolside or on a picnic or just standing around the kitchen while someone prepares a light Spring or Summer meal. Prices range from about $10 to $28, so nothing outlandlish. The point is to enjoy, while consuming in moderation, of course. These ...
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tongue dancer rose'
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Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! …

No, film buffs, I am not referring to the great and controversial film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, released in 1990, but to this pair of wines that feature tied-up and chained captives on their labels, reproductions of etchings by Goya, and are named The Prisoner and Blindfold. Not surprisingly, the wines, a red and a white, are bold, passionate and vivacious, qualities that work for the red but not, as you will see, for the white. As often happens in California, the tale of The Prisoner is complicated. Dave Phinney created this popular zinfandel blend shortly after founding Orin Swift Cellars in 1998, increasing sales to about 80,000 cases annually. He sold the brand to Huneeus Vintners early in 2010, who in turn sold The Prisoner Wine Company to Constellation Brands in April 2016 for about $285 million. Meanwhile, Phinney sold Orin Swift to E&J Gallo in June last ...
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I Do So Like Some California Chardonnays. Sometimes. Here Are 12.

Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t hate the chardonnay grape, I just despise and am frequently saddened by what is done to the grape in wineries in California. And it’s true, as I have remarked many times on this blog, that I hate the over-oaked, brassy, blatantly ripe, stridently spicy, dessert-and-tropical-flavors-dominated chardonnays that I often receive as samples for review. I find such wines drastically unbalanced, harsh yet sweet, and undrinkable. Today, however, I post for your delectation and edification reviews of 12 chardonnay wines that I found to be splendid examples of the intensity and purity of form and flavor that come from thoughtful fidelity to the grape and, possibly, to a particular patch of land. I have always felt that richness, whether in food or wine, is not a virtue in itself, and you will notice that while most of these examples display sufficient or even marked richness ...
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2014-CHard

Wine of the Day, No. 254

You won’t find a sauvignon blanc much fresher than the just-released Stewart Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Napa Valley. The small winery, Stewart_Logofounded in 2000, is a close-knit family-run company whose winemaker is son-in-law Blair Guthrie, working with ubiquitous consultant Paul Hobbs. For its first foray into the variety, the winery whole-cluster pressed the grapes and fermented half in barrel and half in stainless steel. The color is palest straw-gold; arresting aromas of lime peel and guava, heather and hay are pert and lively and infused with notes of greengage and fig, fennel and lilac. On the palate, this wine runs fleetly and lightly, with a texture that’s partly lush and talc-like and partly lean and lithe, buoyed by bright acidity for pinpoint balance. The effect is quite dry and sprightly but juicy with citrus and stone-fruit delicately spiced with cloves and lent complexity by a burgeoning grassy-lemongrass element. 13.5 ...