One of the many interesting things about wine is its collections – not just collections gathered in their cellars by people who love to drink but also by the people who make wine.
This edition features four such collections. One is of offerings from the Plumpjack Group’s three Napa Valley estates, another a two-vintage comparison of Tom Gamble’s premier Napa Valley red, two different varieties from two different regions by veteran Napa winemaker Chris Phelps and two different levels of Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County’s noted Chalk Hill winery.
Take down multiple glasses to compare and enjoy.
2022 CK Mondavi “Family Select” California Chardonnay ($16). Good apple flavors with a hint of spice, although it fades a bit quickly from the palate.
2021 Chalk Hill Winery Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc ($38). Very enjoyable with a great mouthfeel, complex flavors of tart apple, Asian pear, and a hint of lime – more European in heritage than Kiwi.
2021 Cade Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($39). Delicious – midway in style between NZ and France – with tart green fruits minus the lime and with good texture and a hint of juiciness in the finish.
2021 Chalk Hill Winery “Windy Ridge” Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc ($52). The flavors are similar to the regular bottling, but this one adds extra complexity with almost-neutral wood and is not quite as vegetal – I would love this with a chicken-and-cream combo.
NV Bird in Hand Australia Sparkling Rosé ($24). An enjoyable quaff with fine bubbles, orange and nectarine flavors, a moderate body, and a crisp but not tart finish.
2019 Coil “Signal Ridge” Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir ($50). A bit underpriced for the quality – a Burgundy style Pinot with impactful flavors of cherries and savory notes that is long on the palate and is very versatile for just sipping or with food.
2017 Gamble Family Vineyards “Paramount” Napa Valley Red Wine ($90). Elegantly lean but very floral and rose-watery in the finish with cassis, raspberry, and blackberry flavors, some baking spices, and moderate apparent tannins.
2018 Gamble Family Vineyards “Paramount” Napa Valley Red Wine ($90). Similar in flavor to 2017, but with more gravitas, a crisper finish, and more length on the palate. Although both are charming, I would take this one if I could only choose one.
2019 Cade Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($122). A well-structured, flavorful cab with slightly lush fruit – lots of blackberries and black raspberries, chewy tannins, medium body, and earthy notes in the finish.
2018 Odette Estate Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon ($166). Rich, dark flavors of cassis and plump blackberries, hints of bitter chocolate, and some dusty tannins – formidable!
2019 Ad Vinum “Sleeping Landy” Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon ($167). Lovely muddled fruit flavors of blackberries, raspberry, and red pears with a taste of chocolate, loads of dusty tannins, and a moderately crisp finish.
2019 Plumpjack Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($171). Lean, tangy cherry and blackberry flavors, still quite tight with lots of tannins – put it away for later or decant in it for a few hours.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.