There are still a few grapes to pick, but most of the harvest in the Northern Hemisphere is completed, as global warming continues to push grape maturation earlier and earlier. So now, while winegrowers in the north continue to assess the quality and quantity of vintage 2022, those in the southern half of the world are still hoping that frosts and other forms of bad weather during bud break and flowering will not adversely affect their vintage 2023, already in progress.
This Dozen reflects mostly vintages from this hemisphere, ranging from 2016 to 2021, and types of wine from red to white to rose to sparkling. And, for us consumers, a reminder that there is never a bad season to drink wine.
2021 Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($13). Very nice for the price with spicy aromas and rich texture with green fruit flavors – satisfying without being complex.
2021 Fresh Vine California Sauvignon Blanc ($18). A very light wine, one more for sipping than with food, with flavors of lime and baking spices.
2021 Babich “Select Blocks” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Tangy green fruitiness – lime, kiwi, apple – good texture and a lengthy finish.
2021 Cantarelle Riviera Bistro Côteaux Varois en Provence Rosé ($13). Pleasant tart orange flavors with some lactic notes and a crisp finish.
2021 Chêne Bleu “Le Rosé” Vaucluse Rosé ($33). From one of the best red-wine producers in the South of France, this mainly Grenache and Syrah blend is elegant but with substantial fruity flavors of strawberry and fizzy orange with light tannins and metallic minerality – delightful!
NV 19 Crimes “Snoop Dog Cali Gold” California Sparkling Wine ($17). A lightly sweet sparkler in the crémant style – like a vinous shortbread cookie – with touches of green fruit and apples. It makes a very good aperitif.
2019 Symington “Comboio do Vesuvio” Douro Red ($10). A table red from the famous Port estate with good red and black cherry fruit, a few savory notes, a lean finish, and dusty tannins.
2016 Torrevento “Vigna Pedale” Castel del Monte Riserva ($12). Very enjoyable with rich berry fruitiness and good, raspy acidity and tannins in the finish.
2016 Montecillo Rioja ($13). An affordable, everyday red, somewhat light, with cherry fruits and some piquancy.
2018 Castelli del Grevepesa “Clemente VII” Chianti Classico Riserva ($16). It needs a little time to open – round fruitiness with a lean, tart finish.
2021 Robert Mondavi “Naturally Sweet” California Pinot Noir ($16). A nice enough pour for those who like their table wines somewhat sweet with only 9% alcohol, although the calories are still in the grape sugar.
2018 Château de Pez Saint-Estephe ($54). Enjoyable blackberry fruit that becomes tart in the finish and with a few carbon notes.
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.
Feature photo: Château de Pez vineyard