This is my ode to The Simple Life. Not just the wine, but the message it presents: wine does not have to be complex or expensive to be enjoyable. Sometimes it’s about popping the cork at the end of a long hard day and sharing a glass with the one you love over a mid-week meal while binge-watching Netflix.
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.
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.
“Now this is a Wednesday wine.” I’m quoting my partner in wine crime here because I think this statement is spot on. I must be on a Kenwood kick because I had several of their wines in my cellar and, thus, several reviews to publish. Thoroughly impressed by the depth and complexity of their Sonoma County Zinfandel and Chardonnay, I had high hopes when I pulled the cork on Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.