2008 Navarro Vineyards Gewurztraminer – Mendocino

Gewurztraminer is my favorite white grape…   fragrant, round fruit, spicy notes.   I’ve heard of some great Gewurztraminers coming out of Mendocino, so when this was recommended to me by the staff at Prima’s wine shop I couldn’t wait to open it.   This wine is very fragrant, almost perfume-like.   Lychee, grapefruit, and lots of floral notes.   Citrusy and spicy on the mouthfeel and finish, and the pineapple definitely stands out on the finish… lingers for a while.   This wine is like a tropical fruit salad with a kick!

This delicious Gewurztraminer may be difficult to find because Navarro Vineyards is a small production winery.   However, you can buy it at Prima in Walnut Creek or order at http://www.navarrowine.com/  




2009 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

I enjoy 4 Vines Zinfandel and thought it was pretty awesome that my dad picked it up to pair with the shrimp scampi he made for Christmas Eve dinner. On the back of the bottle, it says “Step away from the barrel!” – yes, this Chardonnay has not touched ANY oak.

No butter or vanilla on this of course… Just lots of apple and pear. Midpalate has lots of sour apple and even some pineapple and the finish is crisp but doesn’t make my mouth pucker much. This was great with the shrimp scampi, would also love to try it with dungeness crab cocktail.


2010 Domaine Laroque Vin de Pays de La Cité de Carcassonne

France has some of the most strict wine laws in the world, and their wine is categorized in grades.   One of the “lower” grades is “Vin de Pays”, which translates to “Country Wine”.   I really do not think wines categorized as “Vin de Pays” are any lower in quality than the other grades, they just have less restrictions on everything from the winemaking practices to what they can put on the label.

This bottle was recommended by the staff at Wine Thieves in Lafayette – which is a great store I will definitely be visiting more often.  I was pleasantly surprised with the selection of wines they had under $20.   Awesome cheeses too!   

This Cabernet Franc with the very long name smells like fresh, ripe raspberries, a little pepper and rawhide.   The fruit is jumping out of the glass at me but this does not smell like a high alcohol fruit bomb.   Raspberry, pepper and some spicy notes come through on the midpalate but mostly raspberry.  I expected the finish to be juicy, but it is quite dry.   This doesn’t have the tannin of a Cab Sauv of course because it is a Cab Franc, but it is pretty rich and powerful.   For best results, open the bottle 20-30 minutes before consuming.

 $9.99/bottle at Wine Thieves