Here we are in August and the onset of Dog Days. It is generally the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere and a time when even the most rabid wine drinker is tempted to switch to cold beer during the late afternoon.
For winemakers up north, it means that the red grapes are going through, or have already gone through, the color change of veraison. In the warmest growing areas, the first harvests are already happening. The long wait for the new vintages is almost over.
Down south, the wines are slumbering in their barrels, occasionally turning over. Perhaps the most tannic of them are even snoring through their winter’s nap.
2022 LangeTwins “Merrill Vineyard” Clarksburg Chenin Blanc ($25) – Nice Chenin flavors of Asian pears and white grapes.
2021 The Vice “The Lakers” California Orange of Viognier ($36) – All the fragrance of a Viognier but with a spicy, peppery kick.
2020 The Vice “The Napa Dream” Los Carneros Chardonnay ($46) – A lot of wood notes among the apple flavors along with hints of tobacco, orange peel and bitters – not a classic Chard, but an interesting one.
NV Villa Sandi Vino Spumante Rosato Brut ($17) – Crisp, rich cherry fruit, a touch tart in the finish – satisfying.
2021 Villa Sandi Prosecco Rosé ($22) – Refined yet firm body, good texture, creamy with strawberry fruit, a little spicy and a rich finish.
NV Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ($25). Very nice. Good minerality, slightly fruity with hints of dried herbs including geranium leaf.
2019 Bricco dei Guazzi Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($14) – Bright, rounded red fruits, slightly tart, lightly herbal.
2020 Costa Arènte “Valpantena” Valpolicella Superiore ($15) – Light and juicy raspberry flavors, slightly sweet but with a good finish.
2021 Pali Wine Company “Huntington” Santa Barbara Pinot Noir ($24) – A light red, a touch on the sweet side, with good raspberry fruit and modest savory notes.
2021 Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($36) – By Paul Hobbs, it is a dark and fruity Pinot with penetrating cherry flavors and dusty tannins.
2018 Costa Arènte “Valpantena” Amarone della Valpolicella ($59) – Rich tastes of black raspberries, quite robust (16.5% alcohol) but well-balanced.
2019 The Vice Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) – Tangy and juicy cranberry flavors, enjoyable though just a tad hot.
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.