The Dozen Vol. 27 No. 04

The Dozen – Grab Bag

Napa Riesling, fortified reds, bubbly aperitifs, classic reds and...


Every so often, the sample rack decides it can’t decide on a theme – a group of interesting wines defying a single classification. So… why don’t we go with it?

2021 FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($34). Leaner than most California chards with apple flavors, sweet grapefruit, and a little orange peel – a very flexible food wine.

2018 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain Riesling ($36). Rieslings are often a difficult match with foods, but this one is an exception. It’s full-bodied without being heavy, its Riesling fruitiness is there but subdued, and its overall balance is good. Try it with crab cakes or quiche.

2018 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain Chardonnay ($42). Quite nice, with hints of vanilla to go along with the mellow apple, but only moderately toasted, with a very good fruit-acid balance.

2021 Flora Springs “Soliloquy” Napa Valley White Wine ($60). There is nice complexity, with lots of creamy green notes and tangy lime and spice in the finish.

NV Amare Italiano Spritz “Classico,” “Pompelmo Rosa” and “Hugo” (each $15). All three are 8% alcohol, have a rush of bubbles, and are backed by very aromatic bitters. The Classico is the most herbal, the Rosa has a creamy mint flavor, and the Hugo has notes of grapefruit and tropical fruits.

2021 Trivento Mendoza Reserve Malbec ($11). Very pleasant red berry flavors with a hint of whey; lean without being crisp.

2021 Paul Hobbs West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($80). Substantial if lean Pinot with good rip blackberry – not cherry – flavors, less fragrant than most Pinot, but more flexible as a table wine – delicious.

2019 Flora Springs “Trilogy” Napa Valley Red Wine ($85). A delightfully muddled style, with mulberry and dark fruit flavors and some blended oak – very textured with medium body and well-structured.

NV Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto ($26). The latest from an old standby – ripe, rich, concentrated red fruit flavors with notes of walnuts – enjoyable sipping.

2019 King Family “17” Monticello Red Dessert Wine ($34). Port-like, yet different, with rich, dark cherry flavors, some mocha, some charcoal from Bourbon barrel aging, lighter finish.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from 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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Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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