Have you been to the water lately? I have it on top authority that it is now okay to not only go to the water, but that it’s also okay to go out on it-sailing, boating and even harbor cruising. Having mentioned this, I hope everyone remembers to bring some wine for whatever you’ll be doing this year, water-wise.
Here are some thoughts-
CH. Gassier Le Pas Du Moine Rose 2016, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, ($19.99), Members of the Gassier family have worked the vineyards in Provence for five generations. Located in Puyloubier, a few kilometers from Aix-en-Provence, Château Gassier has developed its expertise in both winemaking and wine discovery in Provence. The estate lies at the foot of Mt. Sainte-Victoire, a magical place that has inspired a number of artists, including Paul Cézanne. This is the cradle of the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire AOP appellation.
This wine has a brilliant orange-pink color with potent, mineral-accented red berry, cherry pit and blood orange scents show very good clarity and lift. Taut and focused on the palate, offering concentrated red currant and bitter cherry flavors that deepen and become sweeter on the back half. Smoothly blends depth and energy and finishes long and minerally, with a suave floral note coming in late. This is drinking really well right now, but you can put some aside and drink it through 2020.
Belle Glos 2016 Pinot Noir, Las Alturas Vyd., Santa Lucia Highlands, Magnum, 1.5L, ($84.99), is a super-premium Pinot Noir produced by none other than the Wagner family, famous for their Caymus Vineyards. The striking red wax capsule is a statement to the exceptional character of this wine. The Wagner family purchased prime vineyard property in the Santa Lucia Highlands, famous for bold, distinctive Pinot Noir. Their Las Alturas Vineyard is a mere 15 acres and the sandy loam soils provide good drainage and yields are kept under two tons per acre. In this high altitude coastal enclave, the carefully selected clones ripen slowly, developing rich, intensive flavors. 2016 was an excellent vintage, June warmed up and was followed by mild temperatures for the remainder of the season. The result was even ripening of a beautiful crop and a harvest that began two weeks earlier than normal. After de-stemming but not crushing, the grapes were cold-soaked for up to two weeks to soften the skins and allow for ideal extraction. Only free-run was sent to barrel, discarding the press juice, the wine aged in 100% French oak (60% new, 40% seasoned) for up to nine months. The nose shows a rich perfume of strawberry, sugar plums, licorice and vanilla. There’s a core of fruit that pervades the palate of this deeply colored Pinot. The flavors unfold boldly showing strawberry, raspberry, black plums, star anise and vanilla. This is a super, “Summer Pinot “for seafood, especially fresh salmon and crab.
Chloe Pinot Grigio, 2015, Valdadige DOC, ($15.99),hailing from the cool Northern Italian Valdadige D.O.C., Chloe Pinot Grigio is a classic expression of this timeless varietal. Alluring aromatics lead into an intense expression of the Pinot Grigio grape with a generously structured mouth feel. On the palate, this Pinot Grigio displays flavors of juicy white peach, soft melon, crisp apple and floral honeysuckle with a subtle undertone of Meyer lemon. This bright, classic Pinot Grigio is fermented in 100% stainless steel and delivers pure panache for sophisticated wine lovers.
Mason Cellars, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Yountville, Napa, California, ($23.99), nestled on the backside of Yountville Hill, the organically grown Yount Mill Vineyard was established in the early 1930’s in a spot where one of Napa’s early settlers George Yount had his mill and farm. The owners started planting the Sauvignon Blanc block for Mason Cellars in 2001 so today the mature vines reach deep into the soil and bring rich complexity to the grapes. But the uniqueness of this wine doesn’t stop there. Randy Mason, who been producing wine in Napa Valley for 40+ years is UC Davis grad and lifetime Bay Area resident. He was a pioneer for California Sauvignon Blanc and is recognized as one of the best producers in the country. He takes a hands-on approach with this Sauvignon Blanc using different techniques to bring out exceptional nuance. A quarter of the fruit ferments in stainless steel while another quarter get barrel fermented in oak “cigars”. The rest is stainless steel fermented and aged in tank on the stirred lees. Blended together, the combination gives a wine with texture, bright fruit character and beautiful balance. This definitive wine carries a vibrant acid backbone, subtle vanilla spice and core flavors of fresh fig, quince, cantaloupe and a touch of grassiness – all combined for an elegant and lively sensation.
Don’t wait for a day on the water, though; these all work really well on dry land, too!
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