Wines we’ve been drinking, including a California surprise
Wines we’ve been drinking:
With the understanding that not all wines need an extensive post, these mini-reviews, as The Wine Curmudgeon calls them, cover a handful of recent tastings.
flipflop 2010 California Pinot Grigio; 2009 California Pinot Noir (samples) – These are part of the “inaugural release” for flip-flop wines (yes, they use lower case letters), a line distributed by Underdog Wine Merchants, the same people bringing you Cupcake (recently named the country’s top-selling wine brand), Fish Eye, and Big House, wines whose names you’ll remember even if the wine is forgotten.
The flipflop wines (the labels have an image of a beach sandal) are line-priced at $7. Both were light and enjoyable, with nothing too fancy. The Pinot Grigio had a hints of citrus and ripe fruit and just enough acidity to go with a light summer lunch. Ditto on the Pinot Noir, light-bodied, red cherries, certainly resembles a Pinot Noir, we had it lightly chilled on a day the temperature topped 95 and it held its flavors. Not very complex or deep but at $7, it’s pleasant and drinkable, you really can’t ask for much more.
Octavin’s Pinot Evil (sample) – A nonvintage Pinot Noir, available in a three-liter box ($24) and 750-mL bottle ($10). Speaking of Underdog Wine Merchants, this Pinot Noir is the latest offering in the Octavin Home Wine Bar’s line of international wines. We took this French-made Pinot Noir to a barbecue with some dedicated pinot-philes and most everyone was impressed by the ripe-cherry flavors, light acidity and decent finish. A value-priced and delicious Pinot Noir at a time when Pinot prices are skyrocketing.
St. Francis 2009 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($15, sample) – Summer rarely finds me drinking California chardonnay, which in the recent past all-too-often turned out to be oak bombs, for the same reason I dodge big, over-lush reds – they are uncomfortable to drink when the heat’s up. But this one from St. Francis, coming from top vineyards in the cooler climes of Sonoma County, surprised me. Lots of pineapple and green apple aromas on the nose with citrus, melon and more tropical fruits in the glass. A deft touch of oak brought out the nuances of this wine and there was a touch of honey on the lingering finish. Maybe I’m changing my mind about California Chardonnay.