By Bob Hosmon
City & Shore Magazine
Lovers of pinot noir (and who isn’t?) should be impressed with the Olema Pinot Noir ($20). It’s a blend of 50 percent grapes from the Russian River Valley, 25 percent from the Sonoma Coast and 25 percent from Sonoma County, and its modest price (for a really good pinot) belies the quality of the product in the bottle. It’s become one of my regular favorites.
The Hilt Vanguard Pinot Noir ($50) from Santa Barbara County’s acclaimed Santa Rita Hills is a classic red that also deserves our attention. It’s a powerful, full-bodied wine with rich cherry-berry tastes on the palate. Indeed, each sip makes me think of the expression “like liquid velvet.” Try this exceptional red with roast duck or Beef Bourguignon.
If you prefer a smooth red with soft tannins, consider the SAVED Red ($25). It’s a rare California blend of nine grapes (merlot, zinfandel, syrah, petit verdot, petite sirah, souzão, grenache, cabernet sauvignon and malbec) produced by the artist Scott Campbell and the winemaker Clay Brock. If you like having wine with roast beef or pot roast, this is a red for you.
Those who hanker for pizza, pasta or burgers should put Besieged ($15) on your shopping list. A blend of old vine California Heritage varietals (petite sirah, carignane, zinfandel, syrah, Alicante bouchet and barbera), mostly from Sonoma County vineyards, this winning full-bodied red shows rich flavors and delivers a smooth finish on the palate. Add this winner to your New Year’s resolutions this year.
If you’re a fan of malbecs from Argentina, you owe it to yourself to sample the Trumpeter Rosé from Rutini Wines ($13). I had never seen a rosé from malbec grapes until this one, and it’s a winner. Credit the winemaker using the same production process used in Provence in southern France. Pair this chilled pink with spicy Chinese and Thai foods, and cheeses made from lambs milk. You’ll be glad you did.