1st Bottle Red: Ridge Vineyards, ‘Three Valleys’, Red Blend, Sonoma County 2019

For the wine snob: The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885 when Osea Perrone bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge.  Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  Ridge’s, ‘Three Valleys’ began with the release of the 2001.  The wine contains grapes from a number of Sonoma vineyards.  Unlike our single-vineyard wines, which reflect the distinctive character of each site, Three Valleys represents the blending of vineyards, highlighting winemaking at its finest.  Zinfandel determines the wine’s varietal character; old-vine Carignane contributes bright fruit and acidity; petite sirah spice, depth of color, and firm tannins.

For the rest of us: 73% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 1% Alicante Bouschet, this red blend has a deep garnet-red color.  Aromas of ripe raspberry and cherry fruits, fresh mint, exotic spices, with clay-earth minerals. Beautiful briary fruits on entry, medium-full body, integrated tannins, and great persistence to the finish.

1st Bottle White: Klinker Brick Winery, Albariño, Lodi 2021

For the wine snob: Steve and Lori represent the fifth generation of their family to grow grapes in Lodi. Warm and friendly, with a passion for producing exceptional wine, they view themselves as stewards of the land and their ancient vines. In addition to their own property, they manage a number of vineyards in the region with the goal of producing incredible fruit.  They started Klinker Brick Winery and produced their first vintage of Old Vine Zinfandel in 2000.  Albariño is a tangible example of the Klinker Brick philosophy to question, re-examine, and challenge the status quo.  In the pursuit of world class winemaking, we embrace the lessons of the past, but are not shackled to old traditions.  Their Albariño is a bold statement that at Klinker Brick, they let terrier and climate dictate production.

For the rest of us: 100% Albariño, this Albariño has a strikingly bright floral aroma with notes of white peach, lemon zest and a hint of minerality. A mid-palate richness and mouthwatering acidity enhance the flavors of stone fruit and citrus.  Try Klinker Brick Albariño with washed rind cheeses, vinaigrette dressings, spicy meat rubs or anything fresh from the sea!

2nd Bottle Red: Domaine Chamfort, Red Blend, Côtes du Rhône 2018

For the wine snob:  Domaine Chamfort is run by the energetic and irrepressible young vigneron, Vasco Perdigao.  While Vasco is of Portuguese origin, he has fully integrated himself into the life of a vigneron in the southern Rhône as proprietor of the 16.5 hectare Domaine Chamfort in Sablet, at the northern edge of the Gigondas appellation.  Here he produces limited amounts of Côtes du Rhône, Sablet, Séguret, Rasteau and his main wine, Vacqueyras. The combination of old vines, low yields and excellent southeast exposure results in full-bodied wines of great warmth and generous character, yet still very approachable in the classic style of southern Rhône wines. Domaine Chamfort Côtes du Rhône is enhanced by the addition of declassified Sablet to the blend, giving this Côtes du Rhône an extra dimension of richness and depth of flavor.

For the rest of us: 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, this CDR has aromas of red fruits with notes of black pepper.  The tannins are smooth and gentle, giving a pleasing grip on the palate.  Layers of fruit give a fine sense of volume on the palate.  The fruit lasts through the harmonious finish that is at once elegant and flavorful.

 

2nd Bottle White: Honig Vineyard & Winery, ‘Sauvignon Blanc’, Napa Valley 2021

For the wine snob: Louis Honig purchased a 68-acre ranch in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley.  The vineyard was planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which he sold to neighboring wineries.  The Honig family are leaders in sustainability, both in the vineyard and the winery, and what began as a small “garage” winery has today become a successful family enterprise, with everyone working collaboratively to run an inspiring and socially responsible business.

For  the rest of us: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, with an enticing mix of honeysuckle, peach and tropical fruit aromas to a luxurious blend of floral, stone fruit and a mélange of citrus flavors on the palate. The wine is simultaneously elegant and rich, perfectly balanced from the gorgeous nose all the way through the lengthy, layered finish.

1st Reserve Bottle Red: Klinker Brick Winery, ‘Old Ghost’, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi 2019

For the wine snob: The Old Ghost Zinfandel represents the finest Old Vine Zinfandel Klinker Brick produces each year.  The name was derived from the Delta Tule Fog which comes up from the ground in the winter time in Lodi, which keeps the vineyards moist and cool, and also provides for a ghostly appearance in the vineyard.  Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.  Recognizing that the soil and climate were ideal for growing grapes, they began to plant varieties that included Zinfandel, Tokay, Carignane, and Alicante.  For over one hundred years, the family has cultivated the land with the aim of producing top quality fruit.

For the rest of us: 100% Old Vine Zinfandel, Old Ghost has an intense nose of spice, chocolate and botanicals lead to full-bodied flavors of juicy pomegranate and ripe cherry layered with dried herbs. True to the Klinker Brick style, this wine is bursting with acidity and concentrated notes of dark berries and tobacco. Layers of complexity lead to a core of medium tannins with a long, richly textured finish.  Pairs well with grilled meats, roasted vegetables and charcuterie.

 

1st Reserve Bottle White: : Presqu’ile Winery, Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley 2019

For the wine snob: Located in the heart of the Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile Winery produces cool climate wines from a variety of organic and sustainably-farmed vineyard plots that span nearly 30 hectares across Santa Barbara County.  All wines crafted at Presqu’ile are vinified with a minimalist mentality in the cellar, with the pursuit of terroir- reflection, purity, and delicious drinkability placed first.  ‘Presqu’ile’, a French/Creole meaning peninsula, or literally translated, “ Almost an Island”, was a beloved family gathering place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was a place that engendered a conviviality among family and friends, evoking a warmth of human spirit and a rapport among all who “passed a good time” there. In August of 2005, hurricane Katrina made landfall ending an era. They named our winery in honor of that place and a way of life.

For the rest of us: 100% Chardonnay, This white wine is citrus-driven and bright, marked by supple notes of yellow stone fruit, green apple, and wet rocks.  New World Chard at its finest!

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Peju Winery, ‘Legacy Collection’, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019

For the wine snob: In 1983, Tony and Herta Peju purchased thirty acres of vines in the famed Rutherford district of the Napa Valley. They worked hard to build a winery, plant estate vineyards and raise their family. They remain family-owned, with their two daughters, Ariana and Lisa guiding the business today.  They believe great wines are made in the vineyard and are committed to farming sustainably and naturally to preserve these properties for the long term.

For the rest of us: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, this gorgeous wine greets the nose with fragrant aromas of dried Mission figs and hints of thyme. The flavors that follow include berry compote, red cherry, vanilla, light brown sugar and hints of cocoa. It’s a bright, juicy wine with many layers and soft supple tannins that lead to an elegant finish.

2nd Reserve Bottle White: Gaston Chiquet, Grand Cru ‘Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ’, Champagne

For the wine Snob: Eight generations have passed since Nicholas Chiquet planted his first vine in 1746s. Fernand and Gaston Chiquet, winemakers from the cradle, combine their talents to establish a winery. They are pioneers in Champagne and among the very first to grow their own grapes, produce their own champagne, and market it under their own label; Chiquet Frères.  These brothers assure continuity while respecting their ancestral rules; “Our goal is to maintain the quality we have inherited.” The techniques improve and the tradition endures.

For the Rest of us: 100% Chardonnay, this champagne has high-pitched aromas of lime and lemongrass, with chalky mineral and floral notes adding complexity. Taut, incisive citrus fruit and mineral flavors show impressive clarity and pick up notes of green apple and honeysuckle with air. Clean and nervy on the mineral-driven finish.