Fine Wines We Love Outside the Central Coast!
As much as we love our outstanding Central Coast fine wines, we aren’t limited to the neighborhood, not by a long shot. And neither should you limit yourself to the ‘hood, not if you love fine wine. There are so many amazing offerings from awesome wine regions around the world. So when we find fine wines from Napa, Sonoma, Livermore, Europe, or New Zealand, among the numerous other great wine regions in the world, we just have to share the news!
Grgich Hills 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Grgich Hills Estate remains one of the greatest wine brands produced in the esteemed Napa Valley. Not only do they produce fantastic, age-worthy wines year after year, they remain much more reasonable compared to their peers every year, too. We admire them for that in a world where the appellation Napa Valley on the label means you can command exorbitant prices. It’s $72 retail (high compared to most Central Coast wines), and worth every penny! Beautifully balanced for a big, lush Cabernet Sauvignon, we enjoyed it from the first sip to the last. It’s the perfect choice for a rich steak, grilled lamb chops, and most other red meat game, yet it’s not too big to enjoy the remainder of the bottle (skip dessert) after the meal. Learn more about them online, where you can order this wine, too: www.grgich.com.
Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Chenin Blanc Clarksburg, CA
Dry Creek is one of my all time favorites for this classic white variety. While they grow most of their own winegrapes in Sonoma County, this one comes from Clarksburg in the Sacramento Delta region. It’s a beauty, it’s so delightfully refreshing and beautifully balanced. The tiny bit of residual sugar is only .04% and it’s so well balanced by bright acidity, it is ideal for the dinner table with an array of fine foods.
I paired it with my Tex-Mex salad, that changes according to what I have on hand. My salad is always chicken, jalapenos, and avocado which is mildly hot, we love chiles, but this brilliant wine was a perfect choice with it (if you want the recipe let me know by email, and I will add to the recipes page). It’s a steal at only $15 retail, which you can order online easily at www.drycreekvineyard.com, but you can also watch for it in stores like BevMo!
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay Area
Wente 2015 Chardonnay Eric’s Chardonnay Small Lot Series
This particular white from the five-generation-run Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California, is named after the fourth generation vintner Eric Wente. His grandfather bought the original property in 1883, and their webpage says Wente is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. Karl D. Wente, fifth generation, is now the winemaker who draws from nearly 3,000 acres of sustainably-farmed estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, and Monterey County. It was my favorite of three samples sent to me in celebration of National Chardonnay Day in late May. I missed the event date for promoting Chards but I thoroughly enjoyed their Chardonnays, especially this one). No surprise to my regular followers, this one is fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain the delicate aromatics, then aged in stainless steel tanks for four months. While we liked all three Chardonnays we tasted from this vintage, this was undoubtedly our fave!
It’s brilliant in its wonderfully balanced ripe tropical fruit flavors, yet perfectly balanced by nuances of lemon and orange citrus notes. Food friendly on every level and quite enjoyable alone, at $30 you’ll want this wine on hand to celebrate special occasions, or the fact you’re enjoying a holiday on Monday at home. Learn much more about this family’s history, and buy their wines at www.wentevineyards.com.
By the way, there are plenty of excellent Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons made in SLO and Santa Barbara Counties. But there are far less Chenin Blancs. That said, there are two Central Coast producers you must try for first class California Chenin Blancs: Chalone in Monterey County, and Foxen in Santa Barbara County, you’ll be glad you discovered them!
We used to limit ourselves to recommending fine wines available in Central Coast wine shops. But let’s face it, we’re in a future world, nowadays, where you can order anything online–and that is a luxury we’ve only had in barely over the last decade (based on the first iPhone being released in 2007). Thank goodness that has changed! We just hate it when we find a killer wine, and the local store runs out. Although we don’t like drinking the same wine over and over again, we do like being able to stock up on some of the wines we love that we consider great buys–who doesn’t?
Cheers, dear friends!