Ana Diogo-Draper 2016 Verdelho

I was excited to see this wine come in my delivery from NakedWines.com. Not regularly exposed to Spanish or Portuguese wines, my main experience with Verdelho has been with those from California. And I have to say Lodi is the up-and-coming region to watch when it comes to these (as of now) “lesser known” grape varieties. So, when I learned the grapes were harvested from Lodi, and the winemaker cut her teeth on Napa wines — great experience plus great fruit has to equal phenomenal wine, right?

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Flora Springs 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

I love where Sauvignon Blanc is going. I love that winemakers are now working with various clones, implementing various aging techniques, and finding ways to finesse the Sauvignon Blanc expression while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of the fruit.

I have a theory that everything Flora Springs produces is absolutely reliable. In fact, when I pulled this from the cellar last Friday night my partner, who’s more of a Sauv Blanc skeptic than I said, “Ok, but as long as it’s not too Sauv Blanc-y.” And all I had to say in reassurance: “Don’t worry, it’s Flora Springs.” True story. Here’s the rest of it…

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Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris

I came across Panther Creek when working on an article about their new Woodinville, Washington tasting room. Indeed, the Oregon-based winery with their Willamette fruit felt the need to spread the Pinot love to the cool kids in Washington who, basically, have none. Unable to visit Oregon or Washington at the moment, the Panther Creek team was kind enough to send me a few samples. I thought I’d start with their Pinot Gris, a grape variety that is making major headway in the Pacific Northwest — and expressed elegantly here.

You can read my full article, Oregon Wine, Washington Tasting Room: Panther Creek boosts business, bringing Willamette Valley Wine to Woodinville, Wash.

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J. Cage Cellars 2016 Schmidt Home Vineyard Chardonnay

I’ve been having a hard time with Chardonnay lately. I’ve been finding them too overworked: either over-oaked or incorporating too much malolactic fermentation — in the worst cases both. I don’t like to start off a post with a negative, but you have to understand where I’m coming from. The Chardonnay’s of late have left me wondering — what does Chardonnay actually taste like? What is its entity? What is its innate nature? Ok, I’ll go there…where is its soul?

I found it. Here. With this wine. This is the Chardonnay I’ve been looking for. This is the pretty much the Chardonnay I want to always be in my cellar.

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J. Cage Cellars 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir

After experiencing the van der Kamp Pinot Noir I was excited to try J. Cage’s expression of the same varietal from a different vineyard. In conversing with proprietor Roger Beery, he said, “Single vineyards should be the lead singer..not the winemaker.” True, very true. A good winemaker lets the vineyard tell the story. And it’s amazing tasting the two so close together how one can taste, not a winemaking style, but the disparate style of two different pieces of Sonoma. “Let these outstanding vineyards and winegrowers have a voice,” Beery said. And so they do.

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