You know Charles Smith wines by the flamboyant pop-art style labels that adorn each bottle. They’re eye-catching, yes, so those wandering the wine aisles at a loss are sure to pick up one or two for — if nothing else — amusement. I’ve tried every one of these under the Charles Smith Wines label and have found that the only one (to my palate) that lives up to its exterior is the Kung Fu Girl Riesling — this wine kicks ass…
I was so overtly impressed with Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay, I was thrilled to find their Pinot Noir amongst the wines at Safeway. I’ve always had a fondness for Pinot Noir — it’s lackadaisical, easy drinking on the palate despite the high-maintenance, somewhat fiddle-y nature of the delicate grape. Like a ballet dancer that makes dance moves look so effortless when, in fact, every muscle in her body is working overtime. So I already have an appreciation for winemakers who work with Pinot. But what I particularly love about Landmark is that, even with their, shall we say, average-consumer-grade wines, they put in the time and effort to hand harvest, hand sort, and barrel age until native yeast takes effect during fermentation. And it’s that time and effort that raise their wines’ taste, texture, and overall quality, making a wine that’s not just fun and easy to drink, but a true testament to the craft of winemaking and to the joy of wine appreciation.
Oh it’s time for another one of my fav boutique winery posts. This time I’m keeping it local with my Silicon Valley Three Arches Winery, celebrating their amazing Meritage. I believe Three Arches’ Meritage was the first of this blend I’d ever had, so, yes it holds a special place in my heart. But after having expanded my wine-tasting world, I have to say that Three Arches’ version not only stands up to, but stands out from the other big players in this field.
I love it when a wine exceeds expectations. The kind of wine that makes me want to make a trip up to Sonoma so I can just shake the winemaker’s hand. This is that wine. I knew when I picked up Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay that it would be good, drinkable, and most probably enjoyable. But I didn’t know that a simple regional Sonoma Coast Chardonnay would show all the depth of flavors that this one did. And it’s all because of the winemakers…well…winemaking. So, Cheers to you, Grech Stach!
J Vineyards is another reliable name to keep in your cellar. They make everything that’s light and bright — from this Pinot Gris to a cool Pinot Noir. And their claim to fame? Well, that’s all about the bubbles. I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed by a selection from J Vineyards, so let’s start the roll call here with J Vineyards & Winery Pinot Gris.