The Wine Guy – Not Quite Yet

    It’s that time that’s ’not quite yet’; you know, not quite yet July 4th, but certainly still summer. Winewise, it’s pretty much about whites and pinks, with an occasional red in the mix, especially if there’s a grille involved. So, let’s start cold and finish in the red!

    While many of you may be familiar with Zak Brown and his band, you might not know that his latest collaboration isn’t with music, but with wine. The Z. Alexander Brown line of wines is made with the input of Delicato Family Wines and Napa’s John Killebrew and the latest release is Brown’s, “Uncaged”, Sauvignon Blanc.

     

    Z. Alexander Brown 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Uncaged, North Coast, ($16.99) is really a lot of wine for the money. For this Sauv Blanc, over half of the grapes come from nearby Lake County, best known for a warm climate perfect for growing juicy, ripe Sauvignon Blanc; the remainder of the grapes are sourced from Napa Valley and Suisun Valley, a southern Napa neighbor, adding a cooler climate influence apparent in the citrus and lemon grass notes in the wine. They’ve also added a small amount of nectar-like aromatic Muscat Canelli from Napa Valley, offering a hint of tropical fruit on the palate. Tasting Panel Magazine scored this 93 points saying “Lemon verbena combines a citrus floral perfume for this lighthearted white. On the palate, tart, mineral-driven stone and lime notes ascend with a vibrant acidity. Building character up the lean and edgy staircase of flavors are underlying notes of pineapple and mango. This is a food-worthy partner with a touch of salinity on the finish, reminiscent of a Sancerre. Oysters, anyone?”

     

    Poseidon 2016 Estate Grown Chardonnay (Carneros), ($27.99) is flavorful and rich in texture, this generous and full-bodied wine presents a rather light, toasty aroma. Ripe, concentrated fruit and oak flavors are carried on a plush texture that coats the palate with vanilla, baking spice and ripe pear that linger on the finish. Try this one with grilled chicken or lamb, as well as any medium or strong cheese. It’s definitely food-friendly!

     

    Not to be outdone, Australian whites can’t be overlooked. Mac Forbes 2016 Chardonnay (Yarra Valley), ($31.99) is a leading light when it comes to championing the Yarra Valley’s diverse terroirs through traditional winemaking methods. His 2016 Chardonnay starts reductively, but those onion-skin aromas blow off, replaced by subtle and integrated aromas of waxy lemon, white pepper and melon rind. The palate is the star of the show, with a taut and focused line of lemony acidity, stony minerality and long lingering salty and citrusy finish. Extremely food friendly but it is also delicious on its own.

     

    Even though it’s warmer now, we can’t forget the great summer reds and Chehalem 2017 Three Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley), ($24.99), is a great example of why Oregon’s reds are great anytime of the year. Effusively fruity, this delightful rosé mixes lemon oil, tangerine, red berry and cherry hints in a detailed, forward and delicious style. It’s a wine that simply insists you refill your glass, then magically disappears.

    This Rose may have a lighter, traditional Rose hue to it, but the body and finish will really enhance any salmon dish you can grill up.

     

    Next week, I’d like to introduce you to some of the best wine regions you probably haven’t heard of.

    Talk to The Wine Guy at [email protected]