What I Am Drinking Now: “Go To” Wine

Happily we have been having quite a few gatherings over cocktails, dinner, etc this summer, celebrating both great seasonal food offerings and tasty wine.  With this we have been pulling out some of our everyday “go to” wine. The wine you know, the wine that is consistent, the wine that will pair well and that most should enjoy.  A few of these selections were sent for editorial consideration, some I just picked up along the way.  All were special.

Mumm Napa Brut Rose  is always one of my go to for bubbles, and that latest release continues to please.  85% Pinot Noir/15% Chardonnay gives this sparkler a vibrant pink color, with healthy aromas of cherry and berry.  The wine has a solid robustness, making it appropriate to pair with anything from sushi to pizza, but still subtle enough to be enjoyed on its own.

 A Cupcake Pinot Grigio was opened the other night at sunset with some green olives, Marcona almonds, and Chevre.  It was refreshing, and for the price, one of the better deals available for a Trentino, Italy Pinot Grigio.  There is not a lot of complexity to it, but it had lovely pear and honeydew aromas, with subtle acidity on the palate.  A good summer wine.

St. Clement Sauvignon Blanc  from the St Helena region of Napa is a great summer wine filled with tropical fruit and citrus, with hints of the grassy notes that I particularly enjoy in a Sauv Blanc.  Not too much acid, but light and super easy to drink in the heat of a July day. 

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay   is always a go to, and the 2009 does not disappoint.  The bang for the buck of this wine compared to others on the same level continues to put Chateau St.  Jean at the top,  for those that like a soft, creamy Chardonnay with lemon pie and nutty aromas followed by pear and apple flavors.   

I know we have found a new go to wine when my sweetheart says he would buy a case of that.  This is the case with the Amaral Chardonnay  from Leyda Valley, Chile.  Barrel fermented for elegant nutty aromas mixed with citrus, creating bright tropical fruit flavors with a creamy finish.  I have had a lot of Sauvignon Blanc from this region that are great, but not too many Chardonnays that I have enjoyed.  This one definitely pleases.

Like the Amaral, I have discovered a new red recently that I just  love. Cantadoro Sicilia IGT  from Fuedo Arancio.  A Sicilian blend of Nero d’Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Nero d’Avola is the most important red grape in Sicily, and can best be compared to a Syrah, with a similar amount of spice balanced with black fruit.  On its own it can overpower, so the blend with the Cab allows some of the wine’s subtle flavors to come out.  Think lamb or beef with this one.   

2007 Uriah from Spring Valley Vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington is a beautiful Bordeaux style blend of predominantly Merlot with Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (yes, they are growing Malbec in Walla Walla).  Named for the grandfather of current owner Shari Corkrum Derby, Uriah Corkrum overcame great hardships in the early days of farming in Walla Walla, but eventually in 1910 he acquired the land where Spring Valley sits today. This wine is a great tribute to him, as it is a great representation of how complex and expressive Walla Walla wine can be with bright berry aromas and flavors mixed with chocolate and carame. 

We had a special dinner with friends the other night and decided to open a few big reds including the 2005 Mount Veeder Reserve. Wow…smooth, elegant and refined.  76% Cabernet Sauvignon/17% Merlot/7% Malbec the wine is filled with blackberry, plum and licorice aromas, and layers of berry, chocolate and anise flavors.  The Malbec adds nice roundness to the wine and enhancing the full bodied complexity of this beautiful wine. 

I had been holding a bottle of 2000 Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon (from the days when Niebaum was still included in the name) for 10 years.  This has always been one of my favorite wines, with the vintages from the late 80’s and early 90’s being my favorite.  After waiting 10 years the 2000 did not disappoint either.  Rich, lush and exceptionally balanced.  Earthy aromas mixed with cherry and plum leading to subtle flavors filled with currants, licorice, cedar and leather flavors.  Well worth the wait….

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