Box Scores: 15 Top-Rated California Value WinesWine SpectatorTime was, box wines were bypassed by bargain-hunting wine lovers. Times change. A new and improved breed of box wines is offering crowd-pleasing wines that are luring young wine lovers with a trifecta of good quality, great value and eco-friendly ...
Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (dessert Wine) | Cabernet Shiraz India | Rosé India
As efforts continue to conserve water in drought-plagued California, one grape farming method has an added benefit of creating more flavorful wine.
Chenin Blanc Dry farming is a method that takes advantage of the water naturally available in the soil. When strictly applied, it excludes all forms of irrigation during the productive period of a vineyard.
Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (dessert Wine) According to Tod Mostero, viticulturist at Dominus Estate in California’s Napa Valley, dry farming forces the vine’s roots to plunge deep to explore greater volumes of soil and areas that are naturally moist.
Cabernet Shiraz India
When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, corks will be popping across the Bay Area. So instead of pouring pricey Champagne, or your go-to Napa or Sonoma sparkling wine, why not celebrate with local bubbly? There’s never been a better time to sip homegrown festive sparklers. At least 18 Bay Area and Monterey County wineries are producing more than two dozen bubblies these days at prices that range from $15 to $80. Whether you prefer your sparkling wine bone dry, slightly sweet or almond-tinged, there’s an amazing array of local bubbles just right for toasting to a Happy New Year.
Sauvignon Blanc This coppery salmon-hued dry Brut ($24) tickles the nose with grapefruit, raspberries, baked apple and pear flavors and a fresh, lively finish.
Chenin Blanc Caraccioli Cellars: If you closed your eyes and sipped, you might think the 2009 Brut Cuvee ($52) came from Champagne, not California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. Pale, tiny, golden-tinged bubbles, crisp yellow apple and fruity red berry notes burst from the glass. Nutty, toasty brioche flavors make for a rich bubbly.
Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (dessert Wine)
Wine has been produced in Italy’s Sicily region for millennia. Legend has it that Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) brought pleasure to mankind and wine to Sicily. Nonetheless, Sicilian wines have never been among Italy’s most sought-after or respected. For much of the last century, grapes grown in Sicily were exported and added to wines made in other parts of Italy. But, that is changing.
Rosé A new generation of winemakers has, in the past couple decades, introduced changes in techniques and philosophies about how Sicilian wines should be made, and some of Italy’s best wines are now coming from Sicily. One such producer is Cusumano. I recently had the pleasure of sampling some Cusumano wines and was very, very impressed.
Sauvignon Blanc The winery is owned and operated by the brothers Cusumano, Alberto and Diego, who work closely with expert winemaker Mario Ronco. All of the grapes for Cusumano wines are hand-harvested and estate-grown. They are artisanal wines that somewhat hearken to the past in terms of vineyard techniques such as hand-harvesting, yet are modern and innovative on the palate. These wines of the “new” Sicily are adventurous and dynamic, meticulously made from vineyards spread across seven holdings throughout the region.
Mark Squires of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocates chose the Sagaponack vineyard’s 2013 Fatalis Fatum as one of the East Coast’s best wines and the winery’s 2013 Caya Cabernet Franc as a 2016 best value. The list included selections from the East Coast, Portugal, Greece and Israel/Lebanon.
Cabernet Shiraz Squires had rated both wines 93 out 100 points earlier this year. He also rated Wölffer Estate’s 2013 Christian’s Cuvée Merlot a 94 “Plus.” And in October, a Wölffer Estate Vineyard wine received a rating of 94 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Rosé “2016 has become a banner year for Wölffer Estate receiving some of the highest accolades that a winery can only dream of,” said winemaker and partner Roman Roth. “This is just absolutely amazing — out of the hundreds of thousands of wines and wineries in the world, we are receiving such wonderful recognition and praise.” The 2013 vintage is considered to be one of Long Island’s greats, Squires noted. He gave high praise to the Fatalis Fatum, a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and a touch of petit verdot, in a review in June.
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