Five from America and a New Sparkler from Italy

This week we will try three from California, one from Oregon, one Washington and an Italian sparkling wine. Half of these are new to our selection. There will be two whites: the new bubbly wine is a great-value Muscat-based blend that’s fizzy and slightly sweet, the white blend is aromatic, approachable and fresh. The four reds include a light, acidic and dry Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a good-value California Cab, a full and robust Columbia Valley Reserve Merlot and a “field-blend” from California that’s made from Zinfandel, Petit Sirah and Mourvedre.


Riondo Frizecco d’Italia NV– Italy. Muscat-based blend. Riondo Frizecco is a lively sparkling wine that offers vibrant, easy-to-drink effervescence, aromas of apricots and ripe white peaches, subtle citrus and floral flavor  with undertones of ripe white peaches and honey, followed by fresh lemon notes on the finish. Overall it is slightly sweet with persistent bubbles and substantial fruit flavors. $8.99

Sterling Vintners Aromatic White 2011– Central Coast, California. A blend of perfumey white grapes such as Muscat, Malvasia, Viognier, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. Each variety was fermented individually in stainless steel to accentuate the fruit profile and retain freshness. “The Aromatic White wine opens with an explosion of intense fruit and floral aromas. Green apple, Meyer lemon, and tropical fruit are joined by honeysuckle, ginger and rosehip. The lovely bounty of fruit evolves on the palate, layered by white floral notes. “The smell is one of summertime in an orchard,” comments winemaker Jim Corkin. “Long grass, bees buzzing, a gentle breeze and a delicious sipper of bright, rich fruit.” $10.99

Argyle Pinot Noir 2011– Willamette Valley, Oregon. 100% Pinot Noir. Vineyards: Knudsen, Lone Star and Stoller. “2011 was the coolest growing season since 1954, including a greatly truncated Indian summer. The wines turned out beautiful, perfumed, and have surprising depth and finish to them. Late season ripening seems to produce wine with leap out of the glass aromatics. This is a wonderful example of cool-climate grown Pinot Noir. The wine is alive on the nose with pie cherries, black fruits, bergamot [a yellow-colored orange], and pipe tobacco. The mouth shows a lightness and grace with notes of pink peppercorn and polished leather that will keep you looking for another glass.” $21.99

Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2011– Sonoma, California (Blended and bottled by Joseph Carr). “Handpicked at the peak of flavor development, crushed and cold soaked for 24 hours; punched down three times a day to maximize flavor extraction. Followed with a 10-15 day extended maceration. Barrel aging in new American oak and 1-2 year French oak for 16 months. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that offers ripe black currant and berry fruit flavors, and deep dark fruit nuances, accented by spice and smoke, followed by a long, soft finish where gentle oak emerges. Bold, expressive and approachable.” $11.99

Waterbrook Reserve Merlot 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. 100% Merlot. Vineyards: Mirage, Canyon Ranch, Elephant Mountain. Aged in oak barrels for 24 months, 28% new. The wine opens with aromas of cedar, cherry, smoke and leather aromas, followed by big flavors of plum, pie cherry and blueberry. The well-rounded palate is backed up with assertive tannins and solid acidity. It carries its rich, fresh fruit on a powerful frame, without a sharp angle of acidity, alcohol or tannins. The long, balanced finish offers notes of lingering oak, chocolate and spice. $22.99

Bogle Vineyards Phantom 2010– Clarksburg, Lodi and Amador, California. 51% Zinfandel, 47% Petite Sirah 47% and 2% Mourvèdre. Aged over 24 months in American oak. Phantom is a “limited-release” wine (meaning not available year round) and the new vintage was just released. “This ruby red spectre entices with rich blackberry and briary boysenberry. Provocative dark fruits envelop the nose and palate, leaving the essence of flavors brought forth by the grapes during winemaking. Black cherry and anise abound, leading to a sturdy finish of black pepper, pipe tobacco and spicy oak. Aged for over two years in 1 and 2 year old American oak focus and intensify the Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre.” $17.99

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