I don’t like a lot of Merlot. I know I’ve said this before — It has nothing to do with an un-named movie, it’s just a personal experience thing. Many Merlots in my pre-wine adventure days, seemed to taste like bland, generic red table wine: boring, flavorless, not worth the time and effort. But I’ve learned to not let one or two (or half a dozen) bad eggs spoil the whole bunch. Just note, when I write about a Merlot, it means it’s a wine worth at least exploring. Cheers, Rutherford Ranch: you made the cut.
This is a continuation of a story. To understand the story behind Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Riserva, I recommend first taking a look at the story behind the Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Classico. Though the two wines celebrate the same vintage, they come from markedly different vineyards. While the Classico hails from Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak, Oak Knoll, Oakville, Calistoga, and Pope Valley vineyards, the Riserva is, well, more reserved. She’s a one-vineyard kind of lady and her exclusivity results in a graceful outward attitude.
California Sangiovese can be a hard sell to hard-core Italian wine lovers. Can the climate and terroir of our sunny state create wines that pay true homage to the rootstock from whence it came? There are more winemakers producing Sangiovese in California than at least I certainly realize. And I’ve tasted quite a few — at various events and tastings around town — and I can say with confidence not all Sangiovese is made alike. It’s kind of a “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” situation. But if you’re going to try a Sangiovese that isn’t from the motherland, then I encourage you to seek a producer who’s focused on Italian varietals and Italian winemaking methods.
Say hello to Luna Vineyards. And to those of you only familiar with the Luna you see on the grocery store shelves, say hello to Luna’s elevated line — their Black Label. Say hello to Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Classico.
There was a time when I was very much intimidated by the name Grgich Hills, thinking I was not worthy of the wines produced. After all, there’s a lot of Napa fame and history behind the label. But I dipped my toe, sunk my teeth, no — wetted my palate with the 2014 Fumé Blanc, was taken aback by the 2013 Estate Chardonnay, and pretty much threw a party in honor of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. What I’ve come to learn is that Grgich Hills can and does produce fun and affordable wines. And Grgich Hills 2012 Zinfandel is one such gem.
I’m not a huge lover of Sauvignon Blanc. Except when I’m craving it. Then I have to have it. It’s big flamboyant floral aromas and fruity flavors that borderline stink of pineapple. Like a gore-y movie that keeps you squinting and squirming through the whole flick and makes you wonder “Dear God, why, am I watching this???” Because sometimes you just want to watch something awful. And sometimes you really want to drink something stinky. It’s just a fact of human nature. And so, if/when you find yourself craving that stereotypical Sauvignon Blanc stink, I do believe that Rutherford Ranch has found a way to present that in a most palatable way.