Wine Reviews

Ventana Vineyards 2011 chardonnay

Let me be up front with you. I like chardonnay. I don’t care that it’s what the masses drink (No. 1 varietal in the country) or that sophisticated enophiles roll their eyes at the mention of it and have gone so far as to form a satirical ABC club (Anything But Chardonnay). And I don’t…

Gruet Grand Rosé

It’s summer here in the San Francisco Bay area which means that I’m wearing, jeans, a shirt, a sweater, a jacket … and I’m still cold. I’ve been assured by scholars at the University of California, Berkeley, that there’s no evidence Mark Twain actually said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San…

Drew Barrymore, wine-starter

The wine-drinking world is made up of three kinds of people. Those who think the idea of a Drew Barrymore wine is just peachy; those who wouldn’t be caught dead, dead, drinking Drew Barrymore wine. And me,  whose first thought on getting a sample bottle (which came with a delightful little handwritten note) was, hmmm, can…

A sweet ride: Motos Liberty 2009 Merlot

Sometimes you just want to drink the [freaking] merlot. And you don’t want to wrestle with a cork or empty out your wallet to do it. For times such as these may I suggest Motos Liberty 2009 Merlot? This is a relatively new label from Panther Rock Company, a division of Bronco Wines, which is…

Sauvignon Blanc, Three Ways

My views on wine are ecumenical. There’s room in my life for a big, buttery chardonnay and a steely, unoaked version. Ditto a big, lively zinfandel (esp. if served alongside a chilly day and a warm fire) and, at other times, a refined and delicate pinot noir. So, I was tickled when a wine importer…

Desiree: A sweet wine for Valentine’s

I’ve never really gotten the whole wine-chocolate pairing thing. Apart, they’re both terrific. Together, they’re either downright horrible or tolerable but in a strained sort of way. (And suddenly I’m remembering college dating adventures for some reason.) I feel much the same about Valentine’s Day. A heart-shaped box of chocolates is not romantic. Going out…

Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noir 2010

With January enveloping us in its grim embrace, it’s nice to have a glass of red wine to look forward to with dinner and this wine, which I got as a sample, fits the bill. Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2010: An easy-drinking pinot noir that is ready to go right now and…

Frenzy 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

It looks like the era of trying to sell wine with cute critter labels has given way to an edgier trend of names that are unconventional if not shocking. Sometimes this works not at all for me. Although I know some women find all those “Bitch” wines amusing, I don’t. (But do let me know…

Sparkling Dialogue, Part 1

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, it sometimes seems to be impossible for a wine-lover to open his bottle without making some other wine-lover hate or despise him. So around this time of year I’m never too surprised when I see a flurry of “budget bubbly under $10″ stories followed by “OMG, can you believe people drink bubbly…

Paso Grande wines from Chile

Four new wine samples to taste today _ Paso Grande, a new line imported from Chile by California-based Bronco Wine Co., the people behind Two Buck Chuck. All have a suggested retail of $9.99. Paso Grande 2011 Sauvignon Blanc: A winner. Classic aroma of fresh cut grass. Tastes of crisp apple with an underpinning of…