Having met the "bad boy" himself, I think he epitomizes this wine: nicely expressed flavors of Napa, becoming even more attractive as the evening progresses. In the wine: fruit, a viney spiciness, even a hint of cocoa, and mild tannins that meld together and pair with a surprising number of different foods.
This is a clear bright straw color and very viscous. The palate is rich with tropical fruit flavors, mango and pineapple, all with a light wood undercurrent rather than the heavily toasted oak of so many Sonoma Chardonnays. The finish is mid-length with fresh pineapple predominating. This is a food wine, one that would pair well with Pompano en Papillote.
After a few hours to blow off some funk, this showed as earthy, with raspberry, some dried strawberries, allspice and cloves. Use of new oak is a little heavy, loading jarring vanilla onto the finish. A couple of years in the cellar might bring it together, but the risk is a dumb period followed by loss of fruit.
This under $30 Syrah was probably not intended to sleep in the cellar until 2010, but it awakened with surprising maturity and complexity. A wine described as "lavishly oaked" two or three years ago is now balanced, aromatic, and flat-out savory. Olives, hickory smoked bacon, black pepper, and sage are all lightly brushed with soy sauce for a savory northern Rhone doppelganger.
A big, jammy wine, but balanced with a good streak of acid and very fine, firm tannins. Most of all, it is still very young, with many years of cellar improvement ahead of it. File this future tasting note away and test me in 10 years- blackberry and plums take a back seat to complex mature flavors of lavender, cigar box, a mix of leafy spices, marjoram, sage, and rosemary, and the meaty, crisp, smoky flavor of the well-done end of a nice prime rib.
Deep ruby red with ripe fruits and plum notes, this is a classic California Pinot Noir. Light, flavorful and beautifully balanced, the Heron Pinot Noir picks up on the savory flavors of the caper berries, olives and vinaigrette while being right at home with the grilled vegetables. Owner and winemaker Lealy Heron’s motto might well be “less is more,” but in my case, I just want more of this well-priced and addictive Pinot.
I will confess I am partial to Bonny Doon’s wines, but the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is one of the finest rosés I’ve tasted. I keep several bottles well chilled at all times. A blend of grenache, cinsault, roussanne, mourvèdre, syrah and grenache blanc, it is perhaps untypical of a Southern Rhône rosé since two white grapes (roussane and grenache blanc) have found their way into the blend, but to me the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is a quintessential rosé. Crisp and light yet round in the mouth, the strawberry and summer fruit notes harmonize with the sweetness of the tomatoes, while the citrus notes and crispness of the wine cut through the richness of the olive oil. You’ll keep sipping this one long after you’ve licked your plate clean.
Most people can confidently pair wines with seafood, meat or pasta—but pairing wines with salads can put even an avid wine drinker into a quandary. With the warm weather upon us, salads are about to take up more room at the dinner table. If you are stumped about what wine to serve with your salad, you’ll be pleased to know that many wines lend themselves beautifully to this more often than not underappreciated course.