Warm Weather Wine From California, Italy and Germany

In keeping with the theme of “warm weather wines,” this week we will sample six wines that are light-, friendly and approachable for the humid, hot months ahead. Altogether there are three whites and three reds; a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling-blend (yes, sweet), two Pinot Noirs and a Chianti (Sangiovese is the grape variety). The wines are from various regions, mostly California, while the Riesling-blend is German and, of course, the Chianti is from Italy. Hope to see you there!


Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc 2011– California. 100% Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel tanks. Made by Mason Cellars of Napa Valley. “Primarily sourced from Lake County, Pomelo’s characteristic grapefruit profile is consistently found in our blocks situated on the Kelseyville bench. We also source a small percentage from an old, established block in Lodi- amazing balance and texture, the Sauvignon Blanc sourced from this region is grapefruit pith with a weightiness contributing to the mid-palate. A mouth-watering, vivid style; this wine explodes with delicious flavors of passion fruit, guava, quince, lime peel; with an intensely grapefruit nose.” $11.99

Schug Chardonnay 2010– Sonoma Coast, California. 10% aged for 5 months on the lees in neutral oak barrels. “We crafted this Chardonnay from select vineyards located in the Sonoma Coast appellation, including the microclimates of western Carneros, southern Sonoma Valley and the Petaluma Gap. Produced in a lively, crisp style that emphasizes varietal character without the use of new oak, it has a spicy citrus bouquet that leads to juicy flavors of white peach and nectarine, followed by a sleek, juicy finish. Try it as an elegant aperitif paired with hors d’oeuvres, or with lighter dishes such as soups, salads, seafood and pasta dishes.” $23.99

Schug Pinot Noir 2011– Sonoma Coast, California. Aged in a combination of neutral oak casks, neutral French oak barrels, and stainless steel. “The microclimates of the Sonoma Coast AVA include the western portion of Carneros and the Petaluma Gap. The cool climate and low yield of these vineyards allow Pinot Noir grapes to mature slowly while retaining their natural acidity, resulting in a balanced wine with ripe flavors, silky texture and crisp acidity. Bright ruby color with aromas of cherry skin, dried cranberries smoky undertones. The palate shows more cherry and dried fruit flavors with earthy notes. Clean with a nice solid backbone completed by a racy acidity. Balanced and tight, an ideal accompaniment to grilled fish and fowl or barbecued meats.” $23.99

Bliss Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010– Feliz Estate Ranch, Mendocino County, California. “The Pinot Noir was produced from grapes grown in Mendocino County, where the cooling influences are ideal conditions for Pinot Noir. This elegant wine has aromas of violet, which are followed by flavors of raspberry and cherry cola. The long, refined finish is highlighted by an earthy spice.” $16.99

Toscolo Chianti 2011– Tuscany, Italy. 100% Sangiovese. Aged in oak barrels for 6 months. “Brilliant ruby color, elegant bouquet of violets, berry fruit and iris confirmed on a soft, round, well balanced palate showing good body, silky texture, abundant fruity flavors and intensity. Moderate ageing in oak (6 months) does not stifle the freshness and fragrance of this delightful red.” $12.99

Valckenberg Madonna Spatlese 2011– Rheinhessen, Germany. “A skillfully crafted cuvee of traditional grape varieties [Riesling, Muller-Thurgau, Gewurztraminer, etc.]. Due to riper grapes than those from the main harvest, this Spätlese (= late harvest) has expressive fruitiness, very outgoing intensive floral bouquet, delicate sweetness and rather soft acidity. The inherent sweetness of many crustaceans like crab, shrimp and lobster is echoed and made more interesting by pairing them with elegant, subtle sweetness.” Tilman Queins, winemaker of P.J. Valckenberg: ”Vintage 2011 will yield light wines with consumer-friendly lower alcohol content. The wines are well-balanced with marked fruit aromas.” $13.99

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