Wow — what a difference in styles with three sauvignon blancs, three chardonnays, and a solo pinot blanc, from big and buttery to fragrant and crisp. It’s a time to chill out with your favorite whites before starting to watch the leaves turn color.
The Franciscan sauvignon blanc and the Hahn pinot gris are also great buys.
2011 Robert Mondavi Oakville fume blanc ($16). Lots of apricot skin tastes. Crisp, but not as severe as in Marlborough Country. The iconic wine seems to continue a move toward the more austere side of sauvignon blanc.
2012 Waterstone Napa Valley sauvignon blanc ($19). Simple wine, with green, slightly chalky flavors and a little flabby. Pleasant, but no complexity.
2012 Franciscan Napa Valley sauvignon blanc ($16). This is a very refreshing wine with a clean blend of peaches and kiwi fruit flavors and a crisp and fresh finish.
2011 Paul Hobbs "Ulises Valdez" Russian River chardonnay ($83) A classic 1990’s-style California chard with lots of buttery and sharp oak on the nose, remindful of David Bruce. After opening, it has pineapple and citrus juiciness, but still splintery oak in the finish. Although I like the style and weight (14.3 percent alcohol), the sharp wood tends to overpower the fruit.
2013 CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast chardonnay ($27). Lively flavors of tropical fruit and vanilla and just a little custardy. Rounded and rich and long on the palate. Will improve with moderate aging.
2011 Chappellet Napa Valley chardonnay ($33). Big Napa chard with butter and toffee flavors and light sweetness. It’s a bit big to take a back seat to most entrees, so probably better to drink with some cheeses or other appetizers.
2012 Hahn Monterey pinot gris ($14). Quite fragrant and elegant, mindful of a good viognier. Full body, but crisp stone fruit flavors. Great to sip on.