Here are 25 wines for every budget and every mood.
Bollinger Champagne Brut Rosé NV ($90). A frisky sparkler, very rich yet very clean with minerality and light berry flavors.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2007 ($166). Fresh and full with lots of tart, mineral flavors, some notes of lemon and other citrus and an aroma/flavor of freshly cracked grain — delicious!
Tasca d’Almerita “Regaleali” Sicilia Bianco IGT 2017 ($12). Light and crisp — a serviceable picnic wine.
Côte Mas Blanc Méditeranée Pays d’Oc NV ($13 – 1 liter). An easy-drinking wine with soft, creamy, and mellow-apple flavor.
Peter Zemmer Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2017 ($15). Piquant flavors, good mouthfeel with dried stemmy notes.
Locations New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc NV ($17). Very aromatic — that pungent, sweaty New Zealand scent — with kiwi and lime flavor.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($17). A good chardonnay for toasty oak lovers with a balancing tartness in the finish.
Trimbach Alsace Pinot Gris Reserve 2013 ($21). Lightly and pleasantly sweet with lively, spicy fruit.
Groth Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($24). Good structure with pleasant, mild green fruitiness plus some spiciness and light tannins.
FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Gris 2017 ($25). Very good — spicy, tart but fruity, full-bodied but lean finish.
Sidebar Mokelumne River Lodi Kerner 2017 ($25). Kerner is a German grape with some riesling genes that isn’t grown that much in the U.S. This one is enjoyable, a little tangy and pétillant, but it doesn’t leap out at you.
Jordan Russian River Chardonnay 2016 ($31). Jordan always appears as a restaurant wine list favorite because of its emphasis on fruit (apple, pear, some tropical notes), rather than oak, with added stony minerality.
Groth Hillview Vineyard Napa Valley Chardonnay ($32). A good mix for those people who like a nice balance of tart and creamy in their chards.
Michael Mondavi Family “Emblem” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 ($35). Very pleasant with crisp apple fruit, a little tangy and with moderate oak notes.
Stewart Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay 2016 ($37). Very good fruit flavors, a little soft in the middle body, but good streak of minerals, green fruit, and defining bitters flowing through the wine.
Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2013 ($16). Nice berry aromas with a plummy fruitiness and good wood-fruit balance.
Locations “E” Spanish Red Wine NV ($17). A tad hot — 15 percent alcohol — but with some nice, tart, red berry flavors.
Domaines Schlumberger “Les Princes Abbés” Alsace Pinot Noir 2015 ($24). An excellent food wine with ripe fruit, yet very lean with some ending savory notes.
Domaine Ostertag “Les Jardins” Alsace Pinot Noir 2016 ($28). Dark berry flavors, some gamey notes, and a finish of dusty tannins.
Flora Springs Napa Valley Merlot 2015 ($30). An enjoyable merlot in the “old” style — dark, somber fruit with a tight texture and an earthy, chocolate finish.
Barmès-Buecher Alsace Pinot Noir Réserve 2015 ($34). Tangy and appetite-inducing with concentrated cherry flavor.
FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016 ($38). Spicy, creamy, cherry-flavored, elegant — a food wine.
Flora Springs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($50). A lighter style cab but with big tannins, spicy fruit, and some savory notes. Another good food wine.
Inman Family Pratt Vine Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015 ($68). A complex, lush pinot but one with a crisp finish, lots of dark cherries, and spicy, savory flavors.
Gamble Family “Paramount” Napa Valley Red Wine 2014 ($88). I could rave about this wine — so I will. With about equal parts of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, it is a lovely, complex wine with perfectly integrated oak notes blended into a beautiful combination of fresh and dried blackberry and black raspberry flavors and finished with smooth tannins. The kind of depth and complexity you look for in top Napa reds. Throwing a steak on the grill for dinner? Here are 25 amazing wines that will pair with it perfectly.
Wines for review were provided by their producers or importers at no cost to the writer.