Category: Domestic White Wines

Kistler McCrea Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

Although I recently had the privilege to sample four Chards, including one cuvee and 3 single vineyard Chardonnays, without question the one that rang all the bells of my senses was the world-class Kistler McCrea Vineyard Chardonnay 2013. The 2013 Kistler McCrea beauty, blended from a Sonoma Mountain source, was truly reminiscent of a Burgundy Grand Cru, managing to be elegant, balanced, complex and absolutely thrilling all in one sip. With tones of muted lemon, fresh apples and a hint of creaminess, as well as the minerality that gives this Kistler beauty the complexity and a thrilling, lengthy finish,this Chard would pair impressively with boiled crab, roasted turkey or a zesty green salad.

Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 2015

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Bonny Doon wine dinner, and to my surprise the Boony Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 2015 stole the show! Crisp, fresh with a flavor profile of pears and a hint of blood orange, yet this elegant Rose finishes bone dry with a savory hint. Cleverly nicknamed “Pink Wine of the Earth”, this Bonny Doon offering may have just become my summer go-to. The style of this Gris de Cigare 2015 is very much reminiscent of a southern French Rose from Provence. Served properly chilled like a white wine, the Bonny Doon Rose is so smooth that is doesn’t seem to have a rough edge on it, despite the refreshing acidity present.

Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2013

If you enjoy Chardonnay from Napa or Sonoma, then you know how challenging it can be to find a complex yet affordable one. Perhaps this month’s Value Wine No. 2, the Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2013, might be your solution. Neither overly oaked nor too creamy, the Chalk Hill 2013 manages a rare balance for a Chard in its price range.

Peju 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

With fruit grown on the valley floor in Napa Valley, the Peju 2013 Sav Blanc stands in lush contrast to more austere examples of the Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand. The Peju white is one of the more complex domestic Sauvignon Blancs I have sampled, managing in one sip to hint at the lovely grapefruit, pineapple and honeysuckle overtones on the front palate, while the mid-palate experiences a lush passion fruit and creamy lemon quality, with a refreshing, clean finish that is delicious by itself or with a salad or light cheese. That is a lot of complexity for a modestly price wine from Napa Valley.

Piper Sonoma Brut Sonoma County Select Cuvee–Your New Year’s Eve Bubbly

With New Year’s Eve (a/k/a Amateur Night) just around the corner, a wine sleuth may be on the lookout for a reasonably priced, high quality domestic sparkling wine. Here’s a thought for your consideration–shag a couple of bottles of the delicious Piper Sonoma Brut Sonoma County Select Cuvee NV. Reasonably priced at an $18 suggested retail, the Piper Sonoma Brut NV is comfortably priced at $10 or so below fair-to-middling Champagne.

Terrific Unoaked Chardonnay from California

The 2012 Smoking Loon Steelbird is a crisp, delicious Chard, with green apple and citrus overtone and without the over-oaked, buttery offerings of many California Chardonnays. The Smoking Loon Chard was recently selected by the Wine Spectator editors as their Best Buy of the Week, with James Laube singing the praises of the domestic white: “It sings and dances from start to finish,” while awarding the wine an impressive 89 rating.

Classic Sauvignon Blanc from Napa

I had the pleasure of tasting the crisp, refreshing 2012 Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc as an aperitif before the spectacular 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain festival recently in Napa Valley. Not only did this stellar Charles Krug Sav Blanc serve as a delicious way to prepare my palate for the world-class Howell Mountain Cabs that were featured at the festival, but it had the complexity and smooth finish to bring me back for just one more glass on the way out!

A Smoking Value in Chardonnay

White wine fans are currently celebrating the ebb of summer with their favorite chilled whites. The pool season often brings our thirsty friends to our homes in search of copious quantities of refreshing, crisp whites. Since the key word here is “copious”, it makes good sense to find and acquire a great value white wine for your guests. Your friendly Wine Bargain Sleuth has a recommendation that every wallet will embrace this month: the 2012 Smoking Loon Chardonnay California Steelbird Unoaked.

Great Chardonnay from Washington State

This is a very balanced and nuanced white wine, showing hints of both lime and pear on the nose while showing spice on the finish, and generally giving one the impression of a much more expensive Chard. It pairs beautifully with a light shrimp or crawfish dish, as well as baked chicken.

A True Value from Edna Valley

The Edna Valley has consistently produced remarkable Pinot Noirs, but in this case the True Myth Chardonnay 2012 truly shines. The grapes of this True Myth beauty are sourced from the Paragon Vineyard, considered one of the top vineyards in Edna Valley. The flavor profile on the True Myth Chard hints of pears, pineapples and citrus, with a finish of vanilla and light oak.

Sonoma Coast Chard Beauty

If your budget doesn’t allow a classic White Burgundy but you want to step up your game a bit for friends and family, then look no further that the 2011 Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. This domestic Chard from the next valley west of Napa makes an excellent pairing with your Thanksgiving or holiday meal. Its flavor profile is one of crisp apples and pears, with just a hint of citrus.

The Original Fume Blanc

Do you and your guests prefer a crisper yet still nuanced white wine? Try a California original: the 2011 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc (Oakville). Years ago Mondavi opted to call its Sauvignon Blanc wines “Fume Blanc”, and this 2011 Oakville offering is their best of the year sourced from classic Napa Valley vines, and in the view of Wine Enthusiast, “one of their best ever.”

Value Wine: Unique White from Oregon

This month’s Value Wine No. 2 is yet another delicious wine from Oregon, this time a lovely Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley: the 2012 Apolloni L Cuvee…

Value Wine: No Brainer Cali Sav Blanc

Do I have a bargain for you, boys and girls.  Want a high-quality summer wine but only have a 10 spot in your wallet?   Look no further than…

Value Wine: Classic California Chardonnay

Our Value Wine No. 3 is the 2010 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay from the Central Coast of California. The 2010 K-J Grand Reserve is widely available and should…

Value Wine: A Worthy Sparkler from…New Mexico?

I have a treat for you this month: bubbles from the great state of New Mexico from a family of French immigrants who know Champagne, the Gruet Brut…

Value Wine: The Mind-Changing Sauvignon Blanc!

Sometimes you come across a great wine by pure serendipity rather than research.  That is clearly the case with this month’s Value Wine No. 2:   The 2011 Fume…

Value Wine: The All-American Cali Chardonnay

If your crew is made up of white wine fans, then it’s hard to go wrong with the 2010 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Careful shopping can land…

Worth a Splurge Wine: Golden Dessert Nectar

If that last piece of dessert is simply a non-starter yet still have just a touch of a sweet tooth, does the Wine Bargain Sleuth have a tip…

Worth a Splurge Wine: The Cabernet Drinker’s Chardonnay

This month’s Worth a Splurge Wine is Far Niente’s 2009 Chardonnay. This is a California Chardonnay which is made in the French style that has a lengthy finish…

Worth a Splurge Wine: The Winemaker Who Beat the French.

This month’s Worth A Splurge Wine is the 2008 Grgich Hills Chardonnay. Grgich Hills was the dream of Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, a native of Croatia who emigrated to…

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