Opening a new flight of California wine releases from the samples rack is always an interesting adventure. First, there are familiar labels of wines enjoyed, vintage after vintage, from wineries that have been visited from time to time. Then there are the new places – new “hopes’ is one way of looking at them. Finally, there are the ones that fall in between, and you are still getting to know better.
This issue of The Dozen has ten wines from California, with Beringer, BV, and Flora Springs among the familiars, Cult and One Stone the fresh faces, and Aperture in the getting-to-know category. All are worth exploring.
2020 Cult Lodi Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Nice, requisite green fruit, though it fades a little quickly.
2020 Flora Springs “Soliloquy” Napa Valley White Wine ($46). Very nice Sauvignon with a crisp mouthful of generous citrus and other tropical fruits along with lovely fruit oils.
2018 J.A. Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé ($47). Springy – good combo of minerality and orange citrus flavors followed by a nice slice of crisp apple.
2019 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc ($56). Lovely full-bodied, rounded tropical fruits and spicy apples linger hauntingly on the palate.
2021 One Stone Central Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir ($18). Our first pink of the season is lightish with banana aromas and strawberry tartness.
2019 Cult Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon ($22). Rich and enjoyable – mainly cherry flavors and some fruity-sweet red raspberries.
2018 Etude “Grace Benoist Ranch” Carneros Pinot Noir ($41). Excellent – lots of cherries in the nose and on the palate, dark creamy fruitiness, full-bodied and generous but not assertive.
2019 Aperture Sonoma County Red Blend ($55). The leanness of a Bordeaux blend – lots of combined dry and juicy black raspberries – with minimal tannin impact, perfect for red meats and stews.
2018 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($56). Another great food wine – lean and intense with blackberries and dark, but not creamy, chocolate.
2018 Beaulieu Vineyards “BV Tapestry” Napa Valley Red Wine ($57). Good complexity – medium-bodied with cherries, black raspberries, good barrel notes, flavorful tannins, and lingering fruit in the finish.
2019 Flora Springs “Trilogy” Napa Valley Red Wine ($77). Very perfumed and powdery fruit aromas, perhaps from new barrels, with good black raspberry and blackberry flavors. It could use a little more heft.
2018 Stags’ Leap “The Leap” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($92). I like the flavors of this wine – lean, dark fruitiness – and it has a good tannic structure, yet it is surprisingly light and not very long on the palate even after airing.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
Feature photo credit: Aperture Winery