You know how hosts love to alternate men and women when planning their seating charts for dinner parties — “boy-girl, boy-girl”?
This week, we have an equal number of Italian and American wines to taste, so we will alternate them throughout the tasting. Hopefully, no wine will find the one before or after it terminally boring.
We’ll start with an interesting Napa Valley white with great table manners:
Franciscan Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($16). A refreshing combination of lime and kiwi flavors with a nice dollop of Key lime pie creaminess in the finish.
Li Veli “Masseria” Valle d’Itria Verdeca 2012 ($19). Lots of nice green fruit flavors, mainly gooseberries and lime, with a touch of creamy vanilla bean.
Anaba Sonoma Valley “Turbine Red” 2012 ($28). A Rhône blend that is lean, but not mean — dried cherry flavors with a few savory notes.
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2012 ($19). Quite light, almost watery, without a lot of personality.
Fulcrum “Landy Vineyard” Russian River Petite Sirah 2012 ($45). Some rough-edge savory notes and a touch of raspberry sweetness — not complex, and the fruitiness will mellow some if you have a glass the second day.
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 ($33). A big wine, with straightforward flavors of dried cherries and lots of pleasant, dusty tannins — a great companion for Tuscan meat dishes.
CK Mondavi “Wildcreek Canyon” California Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($6). A bit sweet and a bit concentrated, but the flavors of black cherry and savory spice are nice.
Li Veli Salice Salentino “Passamante” Negroamaro 2013 ($12). Yummy dark and velvety fruit with a rich, somewhat chocolately finish — yet not a sweet wine.
Tom Gore California Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($14). A fruit-forward wine that is a bit rustic in style — not a bad thing — with a very nice blend of fresh and mellow fruits.
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 ($69). This has everything I love in a Brunello — compact flavors of dried fruit on a leathery base followed by distinct dry tannins that aren’t puckery.