Amid all the springtime crush of rosés, crisp whites, and refreshing sparkling wines, there is still a place for big and sturdy reds of some sophistication. This collection has five of them, all in the over-$50 category. Each comes from a different grape: cabernet sauvignon from Alexander Valley, pinot noir from California’s South Coast, malbec from Argentina, a Chianti Classico based on sangiovese, and an amarone from Verona, made mainly with cortina grapes.
Never fear, though: Plenty of good sparklers, whites, and simpler reds come first.
Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut NV ($15). Elegant with creamy strawberry flavor and good minerality.
Bruno Paillard Rosé Première Cuvée NV ($61). Love it — rich and satisfying, with great intensity and a metallic minerality.
Fetzer Sundial California Chardonnay 2016 ($6). Fragrant and pleasant with notes of pear and light spiciness.
Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($10). Typically green and limey flavors, but with some soft creaminess.
Simonsig Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2017 ($14). Very enjoyable with nice structure; think of this as a cross between chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
Luca Bosio Gavi 2016 ($19). The signature grape of Gavi, located in Piemonte, is cortese, and this version of the wine it produces is pleasantly tart and a little gamey.
Trinchero “Mary’s” Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($19). More mellow than assertive, and more Bordeaux-like than Marlborough-ish.
EQ Coastal Matetic Vineyards Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($20). From the valley in Chile and not the city in Morocco, this is classic sauvignon, very fragrant and very spicy with lime flavors.
Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis 2016 ($20). Arneis is another Piemontese white grape, here showing tart flavors and earthy, spicy undertones.
Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 ($32). Delicious, with a pale golden color, good fruitiness of apples and pears, and well-integrated barrel notes.
Sidebar Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($34). A very good if subdued sauvignon, with some juiciness, great depth of flavors, and light tannins.
Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuissé 2015 ($35). Classic chardonnay, showing crisp apple flavor and savory notes at the finish.
Provenance Carneros Chardonnay 2016 ($35). Smooth and creamy, with some notes of baking spices.
The Prisoner “The Snitch” Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016 ($35). Nice, toasty charm, and a little sweetness.
Zuccardi “Fosil” Valle de Uco Chardonnay 2016 ($57). Quite enjoyable — tart and gamey, somewhat like a sauvignon blanc.
Fetzer Valley Oaks California Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($6). An entry-level cab with soft cherry flavor and dusty tannins.
Fetzer Eagle Peak California Merlot 2016 ($8). An acceptable entry-level, sweetish wine, with soft, dark cherries and a little more tannin than it needs.
Alta Vista Argentina Malbec 2016 ($15). Tart raspberry flavor with some bitter tannins in the finish.
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico 2014 ($19). A straightforward example of this kind of wine, offering light, tangy berry flavors with a lean finish.
Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2015 ($20). A nice Beaujolis village wine with fruit-forward raspberry flavor.
Lloyd Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2015 ($50). Very nice — spicy and rooty, but with a good balancing earthiness; one of those well-made California pinots that are on the big and bold side.
Musella Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2011($50). A nicely flavored, raisiny, figgy amarone with typical high alcohol — 16 percent — though it could use a little more backbone.
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 ($54). Lovely plummy nose and flavors, good mouthfeel, and a long and crisp finish.
Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($58). A big Jordan, with tart blackberry fruit and lots of spicy, herbal, savory notes.
Zuccardi “Aluvional" Altamira Uco Valley Malbec 2012 ($91). Lovely — a big wine with lots of plummy fruit, smooth tannins, and old-barrel flavors, already showing good maturity.