I know you’re just itching to get to the wine shop this weekend to spend a little hard-earned cash on some serious vinous elixir, so take a look at what I ‘m suggesting below.
2005 Melville Estate Pinot Noir ($30): Melville is a small producer in the Santa Rita Hills area in the cool, Pacific Ocean- influenced Santa Ynez Valley. You may recall this area from the movie “Sideways” or from your own personal experience with the delicious Pinot Noirs produced here. The bright red color of the ’05 Melville may mislead those expecting a lighter-styled version of Pinot Noir. However, once you put the Pinot Noir in your mouth, you realize this is a much more complex wine with layers of flavor. The nose is a combination of cinnamon spice with nuances of caramel and the flavors are of black cherries, spice and just a hint of earth. This wine begs for roasted pork tenderloin in a slightly sweet sauce made from dried cherries or cranberries.
Cakebread Chardonnay ($40): This Napa Valley Chardonnay is the essence of power and finesse in a grape that can sometimes be abused in the winemaking process by producers who err on the side of too much oak, alcohol and richness. The 2005 Cakebread is a very balanced wine with a yeasty, toasty aroma and bold, ripe apple flavors with just a hint of vanilla from new oak.over the next two years. This is a wine that would shine with a dish like chicken cordon bleu or Chilean Sea Bass pan sautéed in a little butter. I know something about the 2005 vintage, because I actually made 20 gallons of Chardonnay from a vineyard in the Carnerous region of southern Napa and Sonoma. While I would not dare compare my finished product with this world-class Chardonnay, my wine exhibits some of the same balance and finesse that is a characteristic of this excellent vintage.2005 Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc ($11): This Central California Coastal wine has an herbal-grassy aroma very typical of Sauvignon Blanc grown and produced in California. In the mouth, the wine explodes with bright fruit notes of melon and citrus. Try this is an aperitif or with an oven roasted cod or other delicate white fish that is flavored with dill. Great value!
2004 Earthquake Zin ($28): This Lodi District appellation Zinfandel is produced from very low-yielding old vines. Right out of the bottle, the first thing that is apparent is a sweet new oak aroma masking just about everything else. Once the oak aromas blow off, the blackberry and dark fruit flavors are surprisingly soft and approachable. This is a serious mouthful of wine and at 15.9 percent alcohol this baby needs some serious food. I’d try this with roasted Italian sausage with sweet red peppers and onions over a marinara sauced -pasta dish.