Picpoul Blanc





I’ve posted some wines I highly recommended earlier this year because they are still available, and deserve reposting here. Previously posted January and February 2014

Summerwood Res

Summerwood 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

This pretty red, 100-percent cabernet sauvignon, offers bright notes of red and black cherries, blackberries, plums, cassis, and spice. Nuances of leather, bitter dark chocolate, and oak aging make it layered and complex. This is a perfect steakhouse wine that’s sure to complement any grilled steak. The finest lots of cabs were chosen by winemaker Mauricio Marchant to create their flagship wine, all 100-percent free run juice. I found it quite nicely balanced with the juicy acidity to make it a perfect foil for a well-marbled steak, a bison burger, or prime rib roast. Available at the tasting room at $55 retail, it’s a special choice for a special celebration.


Summerwood 2010 GSM Paso Robles

This delightful red Rhone wine is labeled GSM for its blend of 59 percent Grenache, 27 percent Syrah, and 14 percent Mourvedre. It’s so well balanced it does a great job of hiding its higher alcohol level. Despite that, it’s a pretty wine that’s layered with notes of blackberries, plums, red cherries, spice, leather, and herbs that lingers deliciously long on the palate. Drinkable alone and with great with food, pair it with leg of lamb, grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, and most wild game dishes. It’s a special occasion wine for most of us at $40 retail, available at the Hwy. 46 West tasting room, but one you’ll find worth opening for any celebration.


Bogle 2011 Essential Red California  

This interesting blend of old vine zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and petite sirah is quite tasty, and one that people wouldn’t think was only an $11 red blend. A unusual combination of varieties, aged 18 months in French and American oak, it tastes of ripe red cherries and bold black berries. Yet it’s as friendly on its own as it is with food. It’s a good choice for a dinner of tri-tip fajitas, a cheeseburger, or a pepperoni pizza. After all, few of us can drink the $50 plus bottle of wine daily. You’ll find it on sale at BevMo! at the bargain price of $8.99.


Lumen 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

This pretty pinot noir expressed exactly what I love about Lane Tanner’s winemaking style: Bright and balanced with tangy flavors of red and black fruit like Bing cherries, black cherries, plums, and spice, weaved with a gossamer thread of peppers and herbs. Not to the mention its great pedigree, it was grown in the historic Sierra Madre Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. This is a wine that will age for decades to come, but I’d bet you can’t resist drinking it much sooner. The amazing part is its price, only $27.99 opposed to its peers that are much more expensive. Pair this delicious wine with a good steak, prime rib, rack of lamb, quail, ahi, or salmon, it’s that versatile. Currently, it’s available at Woodstock Marketplace in Avila Beach or at lumenwines.com.


Tablas Creek 2012 Picpoul Blanc Paso Robles

This pretty Rhone white is so well balanced, it’s delicious on its own and with food. A delicate white, much like Roussanne, this is winemaker Neil Collin’s sixth vintage at making this Southern Rhone varietal. With above average yields in 2012 the hang-time until ripeness was long and resulted in brighter notes of tropical fruit and bright lemony notes. I found it his best effort yet. The winemaking team recommends pairing it with fried calamari, Dover sole, swordfish, ceviche, or tangy citrus based Thai foods. Available at the tasting room for $27 (lower prices for club members), it’s a special wine that’s quite unique.


Rodney Strong 2012 Chardonnay Chalk Hill 

I found this French-oak-fermented Chardonnay so well balanced and delightful I enjoyed it with my favorite main dish salad of roast chicken, cranberries, goat cheese, Fuji apples, walnuts, and baby kale. The exotic aromas of ripe apple and sweet pears highlighted with notes of honey, spice, and lemon complemented every bite of my healthy dinner. I would choose this for Dungeness crab salad or crab cakes, lobster with butter sauce, roast chicken, or veal. Not usually a fan of this style of chardonnay, but this one was also quite drinkable on its own. It’s priced only $19.99 at BevMo! in SLO.