Everyone loves something worth celebrating.
This coming week, you have a whole host of reasons to raise a glass of something special.
The Final Four of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments.
Or perhaps just a nice, warm, sunny spring day – or maybe another last gasp of winter weather.
Whatever the reason, here are six wines worth splurging on this week – four reds, one white and one sparkling wine. Some of these wines might be familiar to regular readers of this column. But I also made a point of picking out some excellent wines from some lesser-known wineries that deserve some extra attention. Hope you enjoy.
6 WINES WORTH SPLURGING ON THIS WEEK
2017 Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah ($47 Suggested Retail Price)
2019 J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett ($40 SRP)
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage (SRP $55)
2018 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification ($60 SRP)
2018 Penner-Ash Yamhill-Carlton Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75 SRP)
2018 Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Franc ($80 SRP)
WINE TASTING NOTES
2017 Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah
Region – Napa Valley, California
Grape – Petit Syrah
Tasting Notes – Not to be confused with Stags Leap Wine Cellars in same area in Napa Valley (seriously?), Stags’ Leap Winery has been making wine in this part of California since 1872. One of the things I love about their wines is how consistently great they are, no matter what the price. This elegant, delightful red wine is no exception. Like many other Stags’ Leap reds, this one is smooth and dry and easy going from the first to last sip. No decanting or waiting required. Just soft notes of blackberry, raspberry and cherry that linger quietly in the background for a full thirty seconds after each taste.
2019 J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett
Region – Mosel, Germany
Grape – Riesling
Tasting Notes – Another well-known, well-established winery (founded in 1911 by J. J. Prum, whose family has been making wine in this part of Germany for hundreds of years) this winery remains the gold standard for producing subtle, understated luxurious white wines in this famed Mosel wine region of Germany. If you like your wines on the drier side (like myself) make sure to get the “kabinett” version of these wines. Let me add that now’s the time to stock up on these wines since 2019 is widely considered the best vintage for Germany’s Mosel region in the past twenty years. Crisp, dry, refreshing and perfectly well-balanced. Wunderbar!
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage
Region – England
Grape – Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier
Tasting Notes – English sparkling wines have become increasingly popular in recent years. I was skeptical before I first tasted them a decade or so ago. But all it took was a few sips of these sparklers to convince me of England’s potential for producing truly great, dry sparkling wines. This distinct blend from Nyetimber has a wonderful toasty, dry finish with hints of almond, spice and baked apple flavors. If you love dry Champagnes with a dry, flinty, chalky finish, you’ll likely love distinct sparkling wine from the other side of the Channel.
2018 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification
Region – Paso Robles, California
Grape – Blend of 65 percent Cabernet Franc, 35 percent Merlot
Tasting Notes – Another long-time favorite winery that deserves more attention, this California winery in Paso Robles (the outstanding, unpretentious wine region located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles) consistently produces outstanding wines year after year. Last year, I raved about the 2017 vintage for this same wine in my annual wines worth splurging on this holiday season column. The 2018 is just as delicious and understated and bursting with subtle, ripe fruit flavors. No cloying oak notes. Just silky smooth and intense from start to finish.
2018 Penner-Ash Yamhill-Carlton Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir
Region – Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grape – Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes – Oregon has been on a roll the past few years, consistently producing outstanding Pinot Noirs, one year after another since 2014. This voluptuous 2018 Pinot Noir from Penner-Ash Wine Cellars is another stunning wine from another great vintage. Made with grapes from the Yamhill-Carlton subregion in the widely-respected Willamette Valley famous for its complex Pinot Noirs, this wine hits all the rights notes – bright yet subtle fresh berry flavors, a hint of toasted almond, vanilla and fresh herbs mixed with a dash of roasted figs. An outstanding wine that will drink well for at least the next 10 years.
2018 Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
Region – Napa Valley, California
Grape – Cabernet Franc
Tasting Notes – California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys are filled with dozens of distinguished wineries famous for their renowned wines. Some frankly are overrated. Others deserve all the attention. Darioush has a well-deserved cult-like following for its austere, understated wines. This dazzling Cabernet Franc illustrates why. Make sure to give this wine an hour or so open up properly. Like many restrained wines from France’s Bordeaux region, this wine took its time to slowly reveal its flinty flavors, which range from dried blackberries to roasted cherries and toasted almonds. Everything about this wine is crisp, clean, refined and subtle. A great wine with at least another decade of aging potential, but which can easily be enjoyed this coming weekend.
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