Theres no better way to toast the Fourth of July than by enjoying some of Californias (as well as Oregon and Washington states!) sumptuous wines. Sunny yet cool vineyards dominate the West Coast, yielding both stunning values and cellar treasures. The wines below cover a broad range of styles - all are full of flavor and perfect for this holiday weekend. And all, by the way, are on sale through the Fourth!
2014 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay
One of Californias best values, a textbook chard with more than a hint of California ripeness and generosity. Bright and tangy with citrus notes on the attack, tropical hints emerge with a swirl of the glass. Light on its feet.
2012 Four Vines Truant Zinfandel
Quintessential California red that is all about the fruit. Ripe, ripe blackberries, peppery spice, and mint suggestions - a spot-on zin, enjoyable on its own or with grilled meat.
2014 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Central Coast Lot 117
Demanding hard labor in the vineyards and a soft touch in the cellar, fine pinot noir is a labor of love. And well worth it. Inexpensive examples are almost as rare as hens teeth, yet somehow Ninety Plus Cellars finds a way. Red cherries, cinnamon hints, and floral suggestions - this 2014 Central Coast pinot is a stunning value.
2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma
A model California cabernet at a deal of a price. A long time producer, Louis Martini established vineyards not only in Napa but also in Sonoma, where the sunny yet cool vineyards yield flavorful wine. But at a fraction of the cost when compared to wines from Napa. Blackberries, dry herbs, and toasty hints - it's a classic cab at a killer price.
2012 Chateau St Jean Chardonnay Robert Young Vineyard
A single-vineyard chard from one of Sonomas finest estates. Fuller and richer than the Edna Valley above, with lemons, apricots, and ripe peaches on the palate. The fruit persists on the long finish of toasty oak and vanilla. Delicious on its own, will pair beautifully with shrimp or grilled chicken. On sale now, and perfect throughout the summer months.
2014 Decoy Pinot Noir
Crafted by the same team as Duckhorn, a more rich yet fresh expression of pinot noir. Bursting with ripe red orchard fruit, somehow remains as refreshing as it French ancestors. A bullseye pinot noir with just a touch of California richness.
2013 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knight's Valley
One of Californias hidden gems, crafted by one of the Golden States longest running estates. Beringer was among the first pioneers in Knights Valley (just north of Napa Valley), years before California cult cab producer Peter Michael did. Like Peter Michaels wines, the Beringer KV cab displays not only a California ripeness and power, but also a freshness found in many Sonoma wines. Black cherries, savory herbs, ground coffee beans - all you will find in this cab.
2014 The Prisoner
A California blend, comprised largely of zinfandel, that emphasizes ripe flavors above all else. Its inaugural 2000 vintage was crafted by former owner Dave Phinney, who took inspiration from zinfandel (perhaps THE quintessential California varietal), blending it with a number of other varietals to ensure a consistency and high quality from vintage to vintage. The 2014 vintage maintains that boldness of flavors, while displaying a complexity that adds to the whole. Blackberries, exotic spices, cool mint, and dark chocolate - the 2014 Prisoner is criminally decadent.
2014 Far Niente Chardonnay
A classically structured yet remarkably ripe and full-flavored California chard that is regarded by many critics and enthusiasts as one of Napas very best. Layers of orchard and tropical fruit, with smoky oak nuances and vanilla hints lending a spice note on the whole. The clarity of flavors is matched only by its persistence on the palate, and a mineral quality lends it an almost Burgundian polish. A marriage between New World power and Old World poise. Stunning.
2014 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman
A full-throttled yet polished California red. The pinot noirs from Belle Glos enjoy finer, more delineated flavors, without losing any of the power you'd expect from a California red. Essence of red and black cherries, exotic baking spices, floral hints, and all framed by chocolate suggestions - the Belle Glos is pure pinot pleasure.
2013 Calera Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard
Enjoying stints at Domaine Romanee-Conti and Domaine Dujac before establishing his Calera estate in Mount Harlan, California native Josh Jensen and his California pinot noirs have proven every inch the equal of its French counterparts. In France he learned of the significance of terroir, and in turn established a California vineyard whose limestone soils and elevated plots yield some of the finest pinot clusters in all of California. His gentle, hands-off approach in the cellar brings to the fore floral-inflected raspberry fruit notes and baking spice suggestions, with a persistence on the palate that rivals any Grand cru from Burgundy.
2012 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
A cult cab from one of the California wine scenes elder statesman, who is still on top of his game. As their former winemaker, Randy Dunn played a pivotal role in the success of Caymus, La Jota, and Pahlmeyer (among others) - each a top-notch California estate. Throughout that time and in his own name, Dunn has crafted a Howell Mountain wine that to this day remains among the worlds finest expressions of cabernet sauvignon. A 96 point wine according to Robert Parker, its dense with creme de cassis, incense, and sweet oak, with an intensity and and purity that only the finest wines display. A cellar treasure.
2014 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling
A perennial favorite from one of Washingtons finest estates. Displaying ripe orchard fruit with a mineral driven citrus finish, this riesling will shine not only at the table but also on its own. Stock up for the weekend.
2014 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon
With the Cascade ranges on its western flank and as far north as they are, Washington state vineyards enjoy an especially dry and sunny environment - ideal conditions that yield with an envious ease flavorful wines like those from 14 Hands. Black fruit, dried herbs, and chocoalte hints - it's all in there.
2013 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir
As far north as Burgundy, Oregon enjoys the same cool conditions that its French counterparts enjoy, yielding breathtaking wines that can vie with the best pinots noirs of the world. Cherries and blueberries come to the fore, with baking spice and cocoa hints imparting a complexity to the whole.
2013 Lady Hill Winery Cuvee Etienne Lucier Slide Mountain
Established by Jerry Owen (one of the co-founders of Owen Roe), Lady Hill Winery aspires to craft wines that express as fully as possible the True Northwest. The fruit for this 2013 blend (39% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon, 19% cabernet franc, and 7% petit verdot) is sourced from the cool and northerly Yakima Valley, which enjoys on average 2 more hours of sunshine on any given day when compared to the Napa Valley. And you can taste those 2 additional hours. Bright red and vibrant black fruit on the palate, with savory cigar notes lending a welcome complexity. The flavors persist long on the palate and on the memory. Its vibrancy is reminiscent of a fine Grand Cru Bordeaux. Stunning wine.
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