Malbec is often a dark and brooding wine, especially in the traditional Cahors manner. However, the Argentines like to make it with a lot of fresh berry flavors though still with plenty of heft – in the same manner, that Napa Valley Zinfandels were once made, though not quite the same flavors. The Dozen has a couple of those today, both fresh from the 2020 vintage.
We also have another small tranche of Virginia wines and two wines grown and made in Los Angeles – Bel Air, no less.
Pull up a glass and enjoy.
2021 Château de Fontenille Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc ($15). Very crisp and fresh with lively green fruits – lime and kiwi – and quite enjoyable. The blend is not atypical but nevertheless interesting, with half Sauvignon Blanc and the rest Sauvignon Gris, Muscadelle, and a touch of Semillon.
2020 50 West Vineyards Petit Manseng ($30). Very fragrant and somewhat sweet, like apple juice with a little spritz and bitters added in.
2019 Moraga Bel Air California White Wine ($115). More politics – winery owned by Rupert Murdoch. Great texture, flavors of sugar cane, vanilla, apples, tangerine, and hints of whey. A big-volume wine, quite enjoyable and best served with richly-sauced white meat.
NV Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir ($22). Crisp and lean like pink from Provence, though not as elegant, with orange citrus flavors and crisp minerality.
NV J Vineyards “Cuvée 20” Russian River Valley Brut ($34). Nice and crisp with a touch of vanilla to go along with the apples and a clean finish.
2016 Trump Winery Monticello Blanc de Noirs ($55). Politics aside, if reluctantly so, this is an excellent sparkler, more in the Champagne style than are most California bubblies, with excellent structure, tart apple fruit, and a metallic minerality that keeps the taste long and lingering.
2020 Susana Balbo “Signature” Valle de Uco Malbec ($25). Similar to the “BenMarco” below, but perhaps a bit more mellow in the flavors.
2020 Susana Balbo “BenMarco” Valle de Uco Malbec ($35). Lots of fresh berry aromas and flavors – dark and dense rich – with nice wood flavors.
2020 Williamsburg Winery Virginia Petit Verdot ($49). Fruity yet mellow berries with good wood treatment and dusty tannins.
2019 Trump Winery “New World Reserve” Monticello Red Wine ($54). A lean red, a little light, a little like an old Medoc with its spare, less-lush structure, but nevertheless a well-made wine.
2019 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($61). Enjoyable with bright red berries, tart blackberries, and green herbal flavors – think green briers as in old-style Bordeaux – with good weight and structure.
2017 Moraga Bell Air California Red Wine ($154). Very nice with muddled red fruits, well-integrated barrel flavors, and slow-rising, dusty tannins.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are shipping directly to consumers, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
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