24 Bottles That Demonstrate the Variety and Bounty of American Wine
Pour a glass, close your eyes, and imagine the smell of fermenting grapes from coast to coast.
Franciscan Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($13). Nice, tangy fruit, good acidity, and a taste of bitters around the edges, partly from the wine having additional skin contact — less common these days for white wines than it used to be — and moderate herbaceousness. Quite enjoyable.
Priest Ranch Napa Valley Grenache Blanc 2015 ($20). Lots of flavors of peach and apricot, white pepper, and light bitters with good finishing acidity.
Flora Springs Soliloquy Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($22). Full, very fruity, and a tad toward the sweet side with some savory notes.
Franciscan Equilibrium Napa Valley White 2015 ($23). Sauvignon blanc-dominated with minor amounts of chardonnay and muscat canelli, it’s a quite expressive wine with very good, lightly perfumed fruit, nice mouthfeel, and good structure.
Quivira “Fig Tree” Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($24). Very grassy and Marlborough-like in its lean structure and fruit-forward flavors.
Stinson Monticello Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($24). Lots of lime, yet not overly tart; crisp with medium body and good mineral notes.
Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay 2014 ($25). Rich and spicy with good flavors of crisp apple flesh and peel.
Bouchaine Napa Valley Pinot Gris 2015 ($30). Interesting savory flavors, though could be a bit livelier.
Treana Central Coast Blanc 2014 ($30). A blend of mostly viognier and marsanne, this is a lovely wine with tropical fruits, lots of vanilla and spices, and a long, lean finish.
Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay 2014 ($35). A big wine with a fair amount of wood, if a little short on charm.
Michael Mondavi Family “Animo” Heritage Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($65). The best Napa sauvignon blanc I’ve tasted in a long time — a delicious combination of floral and herbal flavors that is full-bodied and well-structured; for sipping or with heavier fish and poultry dishes.
Stinson Virginia Cabernet Franc 2014 ($25). Well-balanced with bright cherry fruit and some creaminess.
Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir 2013 ($27). Medium body, good balance with warm, rooty, spicy flavors.
Michael Mondavi Family “Emblem” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($35). A softer cab with mulberry and muddled fruit flavors along with distinct dusty tannins — not the typical Napa cab profile.
Stinson Monticello Tannat 2013 ($36). Tannat generally has bitter edges — part of its attraction — and here they are met with lively red fruits and food-loving acidity.
L’Ecole No. 41 Estate Walla Walla Valley Merlot 2013 ($38). A lot like a St-Émilion, moderately full, and very smooth and mellow with light cherries and a hint of cream.
Bouchaine “Swan Clone” Napa Valley Merlot 2014 ($40). Well-balanced with rich cherry fruit, dusty tannins, and some savory notes.
Flora Springs “Halloween Label” Napa Valley Red 2013 ($40). Quite nice once it gets a little air — red and dark cherries as well as plums, some chocolate, and some cream.
Trefethen Oak Knoll Merlot 2013 ($40). A nice offering with dark cherry flavor, notes of mature oak, and good firm tannins.
Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2014 ($45). Ripe yet tart cherry flavor with some cola and rooty notes.
Long Shadows “Pedestal” Columbia Valley Merlot 2013 ($57). A big wine with nice dark berry and powdery chocolate flavors, granular texture, well-integrated tannins, and some finishing savory notes.
SLO Down “Love Hammer” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($59). One of those wines where the dark fruit turns into chocolate; a little tangy with noticeable tannins — the kind of rustic wine you could fall in lust with.
Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot 2013 ($84). Tangy, but a large, voluptuous wine with lots of a dark fruits and hints of chocolate; probably a better sip-and-savor than a pure food wine.
Wayfarer Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir 2014 ($88). The emphasis here is on the ripe fruit — full-bodied cherries that are almost plumy — with good woody flavors.