2008 Hayman & Hill Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Selection Pinot Noir ($18). If you think of a bowl of tomato soup as great comfort food, as I do, then a glass of well-made but simple Pinot Noir in the Burgundy style is a comfort wine. Although it comes from southern Monterey County, this California Pinot is such a wine, much like ones made in good vintages from the less-familiar vineyards of the Cote d’Or. It’s a light wine, but certainly not short on the palate – mellow cherry and cola flavors with a touch of creaminess and a smooth finish. That’s it. But I’ve bought cases of wine such as these from Burgundy (and from Sonoma County back in the day when extract wasn’t important) and opened bottles a decade or two later that were as comforting to savor as – another analogy – a mild cigar. Buy.
2007 Frank Family Napa Valley Chardonnay ($33). Redolent with stone-fruit flavors like ripe apricots and dark peaches and savory spices like those found in Southern Rhone whites. Quite enjoyable. Consider.
2007 Blackstone Monterey County Riesling ($12). Acceptable citrus flavors, but sugary and dull in the finish. Pass.
2007 Chaddsford Portfolio Collection Pennsylvania “Due Rossi” ($25). Pennsylvania’s Chester County continues to show that it can produce very good reds – generally blends – from Northern Italian varieties. This one is 80% Barbera and 20% Sangiovese, and winemaker Eric Miller has put together a full wine with dark, smoky berries, ripe cherries, warm oak and a hint of typical Sangio citrus notes in the finish. Buy.
20007 La Linda Mendoza Malbec ($10- $12). Very nice wine that seems more Northern Rhone than Bordeaux in its style and flavors – a dark black raspberry core of flavor wrapped in rich earthiness. Excellent for winter meals. Buy.
Until next time...