2012 Les Voleurs Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California ($19) — Keith Crowell and Matthew Purdon founded this small winery in order to follow their passion for wine. It’s the definition of boutique, crafting only 73 cases of their Chardonnay and a bit more elegant Pinot Noir. Supple and succulent, the Chardonnay is a serious sip “best when shared with an accomplice” as the owners say. I couldn’t agree more. Cheers guys!
2009 Las Rocas Garnacha “Vinas Viejas,” Calatayud, Spain ($14) — The wine-growing region of Calatayud is in Aragon in the northern portion of central Spain. Known for hot days and cold nights, the hearty red grape, Garnacha — otherwise called Grenache — thrives in this area and produces intense, spicy reds like this old vine version from Las Rocas. It’s affordable, complex, and delicious. Pair alongside grilled sausages, braised meats and stinky (in a good way) cheeses.
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. The brand belongs to Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, which has formed the Light Horse Foundation. A portion of all wine sales go to the foundation assisting high-risk individuals afflicted with autism. Raise a glass and do good deeds at the same time.
2012 Reata Chardonnay, Carneros, California ($25) — I’m a huge of Chardonnay. Balanced, mouthwatering yet rich styles are what I crave and that is exactly what Reata makes. Grapes hail from the cool Carneros region straddling Napa and Sonoma allowing them to get ripe, full flavors, but maintain their acidity and brightness from cool nights. This wine is aged in half stainless steel and other half in oak barrels creating the perfect balance of crisp fruit notes and a creamy texture. It’s a wine at home with salmon dishes as well as pork chops bathed in mustard sauce.