On a recent visit with Steve and Brian at Crux Winery, I was reminded of how and why their wine is so amazing. Of course I couldn’t leave my visit without a bottle (or two, or three, or four…). One of the stand-outs, for me, is their 2014 Viognier. It’s unlike any other Viognier I’ve come across in taste, texture…and sight.
I first met Steve and Brian at the 2016 Rhone Rangers event in SF. After tasting a few of their Rhone-specific varietals (namely their Grenache Blanc, rosé of GSM, and GSM Rhone-style blend), I was immediately in awe with what these boys could do. What was more amazing to me was, while most other participants either hailed from California’s known “Rhone region” of Paso Robles or were large wineries — both in name and production quantity — with direct connections to the French Rhone roots, these two guys are situated in their own little nook in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
I love that new local wine shops and urban wineries are popping up all over the Bay Area recently. It’s like a fresh generation of winemakers are speaking up — and their stories are all about bringing Old World wine classics in to our modern day and age. And such is the case of winemaker Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery.
After my exceptional experience with Benziger Family Winery Merlot I knew I had found yet another reputable wine producer that I can afford to experiment with. I mean, if they can excel at something that, until recently, has been bland and boring in my book (note: I no longer feel this way about the right Merlots), then I knew I could trust them with my Sauvignon Blanc fate. And, again, Benziger, you’ve surpassed my expectations…
Along with Wente and Chateau Ste Michelle, Chateau St. Jean is another wine producer that has established itself as a regular in our cellar. I first fell in love with CSJ after tasting their standard Chardonnay — totally Cal-oaked to perfection — and I have to say I knew the love was real after tasting their Pinot Noir. Light and lively, there’s nothing serious about Chateau St. Jean’s Sonoma County Pinot Noir — it’s simply easy drinking for any night of the week.