This issue of The Dozen features wines that are easy summer drinking. That doesn’t mean they aren’t flavorful or lack complexity. But it does mean they aren’t fruit bombs, alcohol-crazed blockbusters or tannic monsters. Even the Bolgheri reds behave themselves nicely in the glass.
It’s the week of the Fourth of July. Let others do the fireworks. Drink on!
2021 Harken California Chardonnay ($17) – This producer prides itself on barrel-fermented Chards, and this one exhibits more white peach than standard apple flavors and is lightly juicy and creamy, but not sweet. A little more acidity would be nice, but why quibble?
2022 Cakebread North Coast Sauvignon Blanc ($30) – A bit delicate and dainty in all the right ways, it is very smooth with light-green herbal fruits.
2022 Fiddlehead Cellars “La Pressa Vineyard” Los Olivos Sauvignon Blanc ($36) – Not your average fern-bar fiddlehead – lovely, crisp herbal and apple flavors, very fresh, very structured.
2021 Talbott “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay ($34) – Ripe, savory apple and pear flavors with lingering hints of baking spices.
2021 Crosby Romann Napa Valley White Wine ($85) – Lovely green and fruity taste, spicy aromas and flavors with a squirt of lime, yet not too tart. Good to go with pesto pastas.
2022 Fiddlehead Cellars “Pink Fiddle” Sta. Rita Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir ($32) – A pleasant pink with hard-candy fruitiness – watermelon, strawberries – and chalky, tart acidity.
2022 Flora Springs Napa Valley Rosé ($32) – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Vermentino, it is a big and darkly colored wine with a lot of intense flavors of baking spices and jammy strawberries.
2020 Domaine Bousquet “Gaia” Gualtallary Cabernet Franc ($20) – Warm and generous, more-rounded than the Cab Sauv (next review) with cherry flavors and a lot of dusty tannins.
2020 Domaine Bousquet “Gaia” Gualtallary Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) – A little tarter than most Cabs, but the fruit is very enjoyable, and the body is of medium weight.
2021 Talbott “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($50) -Plump, rounded cherry flavors with some cola notes – enjoyable though a bit short on the palate.
2019 Sapaio Toscana Red Wine ($94) – One of the lesser-known super Tuscans, it has lots of raspy fruitiness with cherry flavors and dusty tannins – great for red meats and aged cheeses.
2020 Luce Toscana Red Wine ($118) – Lovely ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with notes of creamy chocolate, including balancing savory components and texture.
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.