Spring holidays are here; shop local for special wines

March 27, 2021

With Passover and Easter rapidly approaching and time running out, I decided to write about several wines I am certain can easily be found locally. Let’s start with a couple of bubblies and work our way through the menu. Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso NV  is a fine place to start. Favorably priced around $12/750ml and 87 McD points, it is also available in 1.5 L (magnum 50.7 oz bottles for $21, about 10 5-oz servings). Those who wish to learn more about various bottle sizes and appropriate glasses for various wines may read this informative Wine Folly article by Madeline Puckette:

Mionetto produces a very wide variety (20-plus) of Prosecci and Spumanti ranging from sweet to very dry and favorably priced. One of their luxury Prosecco labels is Mionetto MO Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze DOCG NV, which set me back $32 and won 90 points McD. Although an increased price was warranted, the $20 premium was a bit steep. Since I recently wrote about domestic sparklers, let’s move on to Sauvignon Blanc.

St. Supery Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 from Dollarhide Estate Vineyard, 91 McD, has been a consistent winner for years, rating 89-90 and running low $30s. This is crisp with 13.5 percent alcohol and low residual sugar. Peaches, limes and passionfruit aromas repeat on the bright, clean palate. Long, clean, dry finish. Murphy-Goode North Coast SB is another true bargain; the 2017, ‘18 and ‘19 are all rated 88 points and can be found under $13. Those who enjoy NZ SBs with their grassy, gooseberry flavor will find these pleasing. Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance 2018 will be more difficult to locate but is one of my top picks under $20. Aromatic bouquet of pear, honeysuckle, jasmine, peach and a hint of apple. The 2019 is equally good, 90 McD since 2016. B.R. Cohn Sonoma SB is sourced from a vineyard that rests over underground hot springs. The warming effect results in ripe fruit flavors. Look for lime, pear, fig and a mineral finish of wet stone. A dry, medium-bodied SB with soft tannins, 90 McD around $20. Spottswoode Napa SB constantly hits 91-92 McD points and is worth its upper-$30s price tag. More in vogue, it completes this section. Look for floral opening with green apple/grapefruit nuance. Grapefruit on the palate with nutlike back note. The 2019 is a favorite in this price range on Cellar Tracker at 92 points and Wine Enthusiast 94. 

Since many enjoy lamb during the spring, we’ll continue with a second Spottswoode selection, Field Book Griffin’s Lair Vineyard Syrah. The most recent release is 2018, 91 McD. I have no info but am avoiding the dangerous 2017 frost and fire edition because the vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap in Sonoma. I have avoided these, but the 2015 and 2016 are both excellent 90-point wines. The 2018 has 9 percent Viognier blended with the Syrah to augment its aromatics of dark fruit, herbes de Provence, rose petal, white pepper and oaken notes, 16 months, 15 percent new. On the palate, some roast meat and the floral components ride a well-balanced, dusty tannin and acidity frame. Think of an Hermitage from the Côtes du Rhône. Dark color and balance say “cellar me.” Let’s move up to Washington, where Time & Direction Diamond Cutter Red Blend Columbia Valley is definitely worth looking into. Though labeled as a red blend wine, it comprises 95 percent Syrah with 5 percent Mourvèdre. Redolent of blueberry, raspberry, white pepper, herb and flower aromas, this 92-point, $30 beauty will make you smile. Another to look for: Latta ‘Latta Latta’ Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre Columbia Valley.

Those who enjoy Rosé should start looking into Josh Cellars, Tranche Cellars Pink Pape Blackrock Vineyard Grenache/Counoise/Cinsault Rosé, and Washington state blends from Kind Stranger, L’Ecole No. 41, and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Inman Brut Rosé Sparkling 2018, which I wrote up a few weeks back, just won a 95-point rating from Wine Experience. Inman will provide free shipping on any six-bottle case of their wines which includes one or more of this. Order from Inman Family Wines; use promo code SHIPHOORAY. Cali fans, check out JNSQ Grenache Rosé, which shows strawberry, cherry flavors and a pretty herbal and white flower nose; $25, 88 McD. The bottle is really cool and would make an interesting oil and vinegar set or candle holder conversation piece. Best wishes to all for a delightful and blessed holiday.

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