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12 PICKS Fall 2021   

Red Wines:

2019 Miro Cabernet Sauvignon Pine Mountain Vineyard, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points
Juicy, bright, focused and altogether representative of its high elevation vineyard (2600 feet), this bottling lifts aromas of Italian Maraschino cherry, Cassis, blackberry, blueberry, cedar, mace and star anise above a hard-edged mineral background. On the palate, tannin, minerality and youthful zest firm the texture and give the wine a racy, wonderfully food-worthy mouth-feel. Further airing unveils additional generosity and truly impressive length to flavors that are a delicious mirror of the nose, while additional notes of licorice and tobacco are layered in at the end. If an ideal wine for fatty dark meats it is truly appealing on its own and should not overmatch flavorful roast chicken or pork entrees. 192 cases produced.

2019 Sandler Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points
This is a delightful Pinot Noir: genteel, focused and varietally pure from the outset. The nose is a perfume of bottled red cherry, red raspberry cream sickle, pink rose, dried orange peel, coriander seed and toasted grain. That combination of red fruits, floral notes and understated savory spice fans-out with good concentration but no loss of elegance on the palate. Subtle tannins and pretty zest keep the lingering finish food-friendly, while the lovely cherry-raspberry fruit notes never flag. 76 cases produced.

2017 Vinum “The Scrapper” Cabernet Franc, El Dorado County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91 Points
Grown at 1600 feet, this is a varietally near-perfect Cabernet Franc with loads of appeal. The nose fans-out elegantly focused aromas of blueberry, huckleberry, sour red cherry, violet, rose hips and mace. Rich flavors of blueberry, huckleberry, sour cherry, violet, rose, nutmeg, powdered cocoa and toffee are tempered by crushed rock minerality on the palate. The finish is medium weight, dinner-balanced, elegantly oaky, ultra-long and notably dry, yet pretty fruit and oaky spice make the wine easy to sip. It should improve for several more years. 291 cases produced.

2020 Gardienne Zinfandel Rossi Ranch “Old Vine Field Blend”, Sonoma Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points
This Zinfandel delivers a seamless combination of old vine structure, fruit-forward richness and dinner-worthy appeal. The nose opens as a creamy medley of Bing cherry galette, pomegranate syrup, dark boysenberry, dry dark rose, licorice root, pink and black peppercorn and coriander seed. It is plump and slightly juicy on the palate where brighter notes of Santa Rosa plum, fresh dark cherry, cherry pit, dried cranberry and pomegranate rise above others of star anise, pink peppercorn, caramel and coriander seed. Already an ideal companion to barbecued ribs and the like, it should grow more versatile over the eighteen months. 200 cases produced.

2019 Groundwork Grenache Old Potrero Vineyard, Arroyo Grande Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 90+ Points
This wine combines focused, piquantly fresh red fruit and floral-herbal accents to produce brilliant food match-ability and easy drinking pleasure at the same time. Vibrant zest and polished tannic grip are part of a lean textural framework that creates an ultra-sleek mouth-feel to carry the strawberry, red plum, white cherry, hibiscus tea, pink peppercorn, dried rosemary and coriander seed flavors through a long-lingering finish of tingling freshness. Serve at cellar temperature, preferably with grilled salmon, seared duck breast and the like. 241 cases produced.

2018 Prima Matiera Barbera Kelsey Bench, Lake County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 90+ Points
This bottling harmonizes plump body, youthful zest and low-key tannnins to create a dinner-worthy balance. The aromas and the flavors that gradually fan-out on the mid-palate are a medley of ripe dark cherry, dried cranberry, red currant, pomegranate, mace, black peppercorn and toffee. Mineral notes underscore cranberry, pomegranate, red currant and mace at the finish. It is certain to complement a wide variety of cuisines and should be terrific with tapenade and crusty bread. 240 cases produced.


White Wines:

2020 Diatom Chardonnay Santa Barbara County (No Oak)
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points
Diatom was originally conceived as an ideal sushi bar wine and the 2020 achieves that goal brilliantly. Utterly devoid of oaky spice, the vibrantly zesty aromas counterpoint very ripe fruit notes of apple, quince, lemon-lime and orange blossom and crushed-rock minerality. It proves at once tongue coating and brightly refreshing on the palate, where fresh apple, apricot, Meyer lemon zest and quince paste flavors lead to a lingering finish where piquant fruit and hard minerality produce a super-dry impression. It is ready to enjoy. 4500 cases produced.

2019 Dutton Estate Sauvignon Blanc “Kylie’s Cuvee”, Russian River Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points
Fresh, spicy and attractively forthcoming, the nose of this pretty wine seamlessly links core scents of lemon grass, preserved lemon, honeydew melon and Green Gage plum to background notes of white pepper, grapefruit zest and honeysuckle. Low-key minerality chimes-in on the palate to uplift flavors of lemon grass, lime and grapefruit zest above more palate-coating notes of honeydew melon, guava and white pepper. The finish lingers to highlight both piquant refreshment and sweet-natured fruitiness, and the wine is ready to enjoy. Refreshment. 525 cases produced.

2019 Priest Ranch Grenache Blanc Napa Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91 Points
Focused and fresh, the nose of this engagingly pretty bottling elevates scents of lemon, lime, gooseberry, golden apple and a hint of guava above a chalk-like mineral undercurrent. That same minerality underscores and firms on the palate, where refreshing flavors of gooseberry, lemon peel, golden apple, guava and a quiet suggestion of vanilla linger through a gently refreshing finish. Ready to drink, it will prove an delightful and extremely adaptable lunch or dinner companion. 768 cases produced.

2020 La Marea Albarino Kristy Vineyard Monterey
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 90+ Points
Floral hints suggestive of chamomile and tropical flowers highlight the aromatic profile of this wine while quietly zesty scents of green apple skin, honeydew melon, dry peach, ginger and white pepper overlay saline mineral suggestions. Sea shell notes make a sharp-dry contrast on the palate, bringing a food-worthy balance to piquantly fresh flavors of apple and melon and a hint of peach ginger-chutney. The flavorful, lingering finish is still a bit youthfully tight but the next few months should bring a more perfect harmony. 1300 cases produced.

2018 Windchaser Pinot Gris Anderson Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points
This distinctive Pinot Gris has a textural creaminess that is best appreciated if the wine is served only lightly chilled. The aromas are an appealing medley of lemon cream-sickle, ginger, chamomile and golden delicious apple, poised above vanilla, kumquat and a subtle mineral counterpoint. On the palate Meyer lemon, toasted meringue, chamomile, ginger and orange honeydew melon flavors gain added piquancy from notes of apple skin, apple core and apricot pit. These flavors linger elegantly through a soft-edged finish where notes of Meyer lemon zest and sweet vanilla stand out. It is ready to enjoy. 100 cases produced.
 
2020 Sobon Viognier Amador County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points
Floral accented, complex, sharply focused and varietally accurate, the aromas of this racy Viognier are a bright mix of fresh pear, dried yellow peach and apricot pit scents graced by notes of jasmine and honeysuckle. Apricot pit, poached pear, lychee, dried peach and a bit of mango bring a note of gentle creaminess to the mid-palate before contrasting notes of fruit zest and saline minerality tighten things up. The finish is long and cutting dry, with fruit and minerality at center-stage and the floral elements shifted into the background. It is ready to enjoy and will be terrific with Thai curries or Sashimi. 1373 cases produced.

 

 

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