2011 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Chardonnay “Lindsay Paige Vineyard” Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
This wine is one of the best kept secrets in Chardonnay in California, and is a fantastic value, truly one of my favorite Chards, year after year. Richard Alfaro grows some wonderful Chardonnay and his estate wines show just how good it can be, in fact other winemakers are now coming to him for fruit, like the talented crew at Arnot-Roberts which did an amazing Santa Cruz Chardonnay from Richard’s vines, which are planted to Wente and Dijon clones on slopes none to far from the Pacific near Corralitos and Aptos. The 2011 vintage was long and difficult with a tiny crop that needed attention 24/7, but in the end there was magic, and this beautiful detailed 13.5% Alcohol white shows vivid Burgundy like flavors and charms with chalky minerals, hints of smoke, brioche and layers of lemon, apple, pear and white peach fruit along with honeysuckle, hazelnuts and subtle oak shadings. This Chardonnay delivers bright acidity and steely coolness, but still fills out on the creamy palate gracefully and shines with a golden hue that is gorgeous.
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.alfarowine.com
2011 Weingut Dr. Hermann, Riesling Urziger Wurtzgarten Kabinett, Mosel Germany.
Dr. Hermann’s old vines, which originated when his plots were part a grand estate that included the ones now under J.J. Christoffel Erben as well, produce some of the Mosel’s most distinct Rieslings, with the Urziger Wurtzgarten being one of the most prized sites in the region. The 2011 Urziger Wurtzgarten Kabinett is a classic Mosel with lovely flavors, vivid clarity and beautifully crafted balance of fruit and acidity making for a wonderfully pleasing wine that is joyous now and should age well for another decade. Nicely judged sweetness and interesting aromatics help lift this fresh Riesling with green apple, apricot, tangerine and smoky mineral notes leading the way plus hints of saline, lime and honeyed pineapple adding complexity. Broadbent Selections imports this gem, and while pretty rare it would be worth a bit of running around to find it and it certainly is a fairly priced wine for the quality found in the bottle and it’s pedigree.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2012 Sineann, Pinot Gris “Wy’ east Vineyard” Columbia Gorge, Oregon.
The latest release of Sineann’s Pinot Gris is utterly delicious and truly world glass with beautifully detailed fruit, vigorous acidity and poise making for a must have white wine for the summer. As a long time fan of this winery and this Pinot Gris especially, it seemed a long wait to have it live up to my expectations and memory, but this 2012 absolutely blew me away and rekindled my faith, and while most Oregon Pinot Gris has become as boring as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc over the years, this wine brings it back to the highest level of coolness. While I’ve not been into the whole Pinot Grigio (Gris) hype, which is now turning into the Muscato craze, I must say if Pinot Grigio (Gris) tasted as good as this Sineann I’d be drinking it a lot more! The 2012 Wy’ east Pinot Gris from Oregon’s Columbia Gorge lays out melon, green apple, lemon/lime and white peach fruit with hints of orange blossom, mineral essence, zippy grapefruit and a touch of tropical notes on a tangy palate that is vibrant and freshly focused. This vivid white seduces with every sip and while light and elegant has plenty of interest and lingers on the dry crisp finish. Not a wine to miss if you can help it, well worth the time an effort to locate, so don’t wait, drink over the next year or so.
($20 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive