This Dozen could be the lab segment of a wine appreciation survey course. Many styles and terroirs, organic and not, reds and whites, plus rosé and sparkling, entry-level wines and classic icons, fruit-forward and fruit-backward.
There will be an open-bottle final exam.
2022 Taft Street “Garagistes” Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($30) – Quite nice – smooth, mellow green fruitiness and a little creamy.
2020 La Chablisieme “Le Finage” Chablis ($36) – This wine and the one that follows show two sides of Chablis that go beyond the cru pedigree of the next one – crisper versus creamier, although that’s a bit of an over-simplification. Anyway, this one is elegant, almost delicate in a good way, with light green flavors, fine acidity, river stone minerality, and a citrus-peel finish.
2020 La Chablisieme “Fourchaume” Chablis Ier Cru ($80) – Creamy and less steely than the prior, with warm apple and pear notes, good structure, and light hints of tannins.
2022 Joseph Carr Josh Cellars Prosecco Rosé ($15) – Interesting gamey aromas and flavors with bright strawberry and citrus flavors with candied fruitiness in the finish – different, but enjoyable.
NV Vilarnau “Rosé Delicat” Cava Reserva ($20) – Refreshing – very floral and fruity in the finish with wild strawberry and blueberry flavors, medium body, good acidity.
NV Clos du Château de Bligny “Cuvee 6 Cépages” Champagne Brut ($111) – Aromas of straw and meadow flowers, rich apple and citrus flavors, very good structure, crisp finish and the only Champs with all six of the permitted grape varieties.
2021 Domaine Bousquet Virgen Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon ($13) – Bright cherry flavors with some dried-stemmy savory notes.
2021 Domaine Bousquet Virgen Mendoza Malbec ($13) – Very refreshing with bright cherry flavors, but with balancing savory notes – good structure.
2020 Martinelli Winery “Vellutini Ranch” Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($62) – Ultra fruit-forward with dark berry flavors and quite a few savory notes, and a hint of cane-sugar sweetness in the finish.
2021 Rombauer Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($65) – Light cherry flavors with good body and a touch of mocha cream in the finish.
2018 Lapostolle “La Parcelle 8” Vieilles Vignes Apalta Red Wine ($180) – Very good – a lean wine, but with lots of tight fruitiness – cassis and blackberry – and excellent wood notes and savory flavors, chewy texture and lots of tannins.
2019 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” Napa Valley Red Wine ($346) – Almost entirely Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a delicious wine with muddled berry flavors, hints of dark chocolate and a boatload of savory notes and well-integrated 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.