2012 Sparkman “Lumière” Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington ($30)
This is Chardonnay for lovers of the good stuff combining a touch of creamy complexity with a kick of sassy acidity. (Think of biting into delicious piece of lemon meringue pie and you’ll know what I mean.) Fleshy yet fresh, it’s a white that makes you want to drink the whole bottle by yourself. As the family-owned, unique boutique winery recommends, “This is best with pieces of Dungeness crab on your face and lemon butter dripping off your chin.” Sounds like the perfect pairing, n’est pas?
2011 Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($19)
Cabernet Sauvignon with an elegant side describes this Chilean version. The Hurtado family has owned the property for more than a century but only began making wine from the vineyards in the past few decades. It’s paid off with the range of well-priced, classic bottlings from Cabernet to Carmenere. Give them all a try including their delicious Malbec rosé.
2012 Light Horse Pinot Noir, California ($15)
It’s a challenge to find good value Pinot Noirs, but this is one of the best values on the market. The Light Horse is well made, well priced and to that I say, “well done.” With characteristic Pinot aromas of floral and spice, along with flavors of red berries and a silky texture, this is a wine you’ll want to drink any day with just about any dish.
2012 Reata “Three County” Pinot Noir, California ($35)
Reata comes from the Spanish word for lariat and symbolizes the uniqueness of each handcrafted wine in their portfolio. This Pinot Noir is a powerful blend of grapes from three California counties, Sonoma, Monterey and San Benito. The aromas are reminiscent of dark berry fruit with a hint of vanilla and spice. Tannins are well balanced and smooth giving the wine an overall sleek texture. It’s class in a glass.