August 16, 2019
Olivia Brion Tempranillo

Olivia Brion Tempranillo “Shake Ridge” 2016

Napa winery Olivia Brion stretches out by acquiring Tempranillo from the outstanding “Shake Ridge Ranch” near Sutter Creek in Gold Country, Sierra Foothills. Smells great, like red cherry compote, dark pomegranate, dried red rose petals and cracked black peppercorns. Medium-bodied, loads of fruit yet not overly fruity because of the floral/spicy/earthy flavors going on. Its fine tannins make the wine stand tall. Really lovely…full-flavored yet with a graceful restraint. Fantastic food wine. Pair as you would a structured, complex Napa Valley Merlot. More Information With a history focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from “Heron Lake Vineyard” in Wild Horse […]
November 27, 2018
Ragbag Albarino

RAGBAG Albarino Terra Alta 2017

Here’s a tasty, dry, no-oak Sauvignon Blanc-alternative white wine to check out. From the hills east of Lodi where Spanish varietals, like Albariño, have established a strong foothold. Smell and taste lemon verbena, grapefruit, fresh sliced peaches and a whisper of chalk dust. Medium acidity. Orange wedges and citrus blossoms on the finish. Have with whitefish ceviche or French Fries & mayo. More Information Ragbag Wines is a new label owned and made by Steven Mirassou, owner/maker of Steven Kent Winery in Livermore Valley. This Albariño is indicative of the Ragbag mission: tasty, pure and pretty weekday wines, well-priced and meant […]
October 23, 2018
Ferdinand Albarino 2016

FERDINAND Albarino 2016

The Spanish grape Albariño has found if not a home then a vacation getaway in California. Napa producer Ferdinand acquires Albariño from Lodi’s “Vista Luna Vineyard” to make this crisp, aromatic, texturally pleasing white. I love its fresh floral, citrus basket and Granny Smith apple smells and flavors plus the crunchy-ness and mouth-watering acidity. Still, the tang is pulled back just enough with barrel fermentation (neutral barrel) and full malo. Think of it as sanding the sharp edges of a table. I’ve had my fair share of California Albariños, and the Ferdinand is one of the best. And for $20, […]
August 31, 2018
Kongsgaard Albarino 2017

KONGSGAARD Albarino Napa Valley 2017

From a tiny plot of Albariño in “Hudson Vineyard” planted specifically for Kongsgaard. Orange zest, mineral and citrus blossom nose. Then take a sip: tangy! Almost, but not quite, tart. First sip grabs you with acidity, then the palate adjusts and it’s a joy. Lemonheads, yellow grapefruit, Macintosh apple, lemongrass flavors come to mind. Lees-stirring supplies body and texture. This rare white is only available at certain restaurants (no retail purchase, not even from the winery).
June 26, 2018
Cave Dog Albarino

CAVE DOG Albariño, Napa Valley 2017

Lemony/orange-y citrus, chalky, grapefruit, tangy nose stays pleasantly, startlingly tart in the mouth. This wine is all about yellow citrus flavors, both the juice and the zest. A chalky note, along with a smidge of bread crust from lees-aging, describes the wine’s complexity. “Liveliness and aromatic zest” is how owner/winemaker Michael Havens describes it. Indeedy do. This is an ideal high-acid Sauvignon Blanc alternative. More Information Napa winemaker/winery owner veteran Michael Havens launched Cave Dog with his 2014 red wine. There are 3 Cave Dog wines: this Albariño, a Godello (another white wine of Spanish origin) and the red, a […]