Bubbly goes well with summer and this J Cuvee from Sonoma fit the bill perfectly. As my favorite bubbly from Sonoma that I’ve tried thus far, this brut has a lemony citrus edge to it which I believe makes it more approachable than many bruts I’ve had in the past. And, for ~$18-$20, it doesn’t require a lot of thinking. Enjoy this with food or by itself as it’s a very versatile sparkler.
I first tasted Hanna’s wine at Press Club in San Francisco; it’s a great wine bar in the ‘basement’ of the Four Seasons. So, from that experience, I knew about their quality. This Sau Blanc is traditionally crisp with lemon and lime flavors that are perfect for spring.
What I didn’t expect, and found by complete coincidence was the pairing of this wine with black licorice. I picked up some Panda natural licorice at whole foods and had some for dessert while I still had a bit of this wine left. The creaminess of the licorice and the anise was a perfect compliment to the crispness of the wine. If you like licorice and Sau Blanc, give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Yes, it’s a long name for a vineyard specific wine, but this Arista Bacigalupi is a wonderful Pinot which showcases its Russian River home. We visited Arista on our December 2010 Sonoma trip, and it’s a must-do for anyone doing wine tasting in the Russian River Valley. Their wines are wonderful, across the board, people are welcoming, and the scenery is gorgeous.
We enjoyed this Pinot on Friday night with dinner at Caffe Casta Diva and this balanced, slightly fruit forward Pinot complimented our dinner well. There isn’t much in the way of earth undertones in this Pinot, but I found some mild raspberry and dark cherry; it’s on the richer side of Pinot and quite enjoyable. This was the last of our Sonoma trip Pinots…maybe it’s time to go back!
We had this Mietz Cellars Pinot Noir this week with a friend at a local BYOB. I purchased this as I wanted a versatile red for dinner and this fit the bill; I find Pinot Noir to be one of the most flexible reds out there. This Mietz Cellars Pinot is indicative of the Russian River style which I generally like. It’s light, a little fruity with some cherry notes and very reasonable as Pinot can be pricey. Enjoy this by itself, with some cheese or your favorite food.
We enjoyed dinner at a byob on Saturday night (next post) and since it’s still summer, wanted to have a red that is versatile. We picked up this 2007 Frei Reserve Pinot Noir and thought it would do the trick. Pinot is a funny one as I’m not big into the traditional earthy pinots, and the Russian River Valley rarely produces that characteristic, so it’s usually a good spot for me to focus on. This bottle was no different, but it was unusually ‘big’ for a pinot, yet still relatively light. This is relatively hard to describe as it has a flavor profile up front like a cab or merlot, but the finish is so light – - it was perfect for what I was looking for and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
We enjoyed this crisp, yet full J Pinot Gris tonight with some homemade chicken dijon and baked sweet potato fries. The Pinot Gris had a crisp grapefruit balanced by honeydew and mineral on the finish. This feels like a great summer evening wine. While it’s still warm, but you don’t want overly light. This was a chairman’s selection for those in PA and can still be grabbed for a nice discount off the $20 retail.