This week I’ve been entertaining my family visiting from the east coast, where I grew up. This is my mother’s first visit to the west coast since 1975! Of course, I had a long list of things to see and do. We took a few days to explore California, including the Russian River and Sonoma Coast, and I must say that I loved being able to take the time to explore my own ‘backyard’. My mini ‘stay-cation’ reminded me how much I love California and the wines we produce here. As a result, this week’s newsletter is a tribute to some of the new California wines hitting our shelves. Grab a bottle tonight and enjoy exploring California anew.
And don’t forget to mark your calendars for this year’s two Wine Blitzes, where you save 20% off 12 or more bottles (mix-and-match) with free delivery in San Francisco:
Wine Blitz #1: Thursday, November 8th – Sunday, November 11th
Wine Blitz #2: Thursday, December 6th – Sunday, December 9th
While Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma may be best known for Zinfandel, Unti Vineyards is focused on Italian and Rhone varietals. Mick Unti and his father George founded Unti Vineyards in 1997 and have sought to express their Mediterranean heritage in this corner of Sonoma by planting Mediterranean varietals that thrive in this area. Segromigno is the name of a village in Tuscany where Mick’s grandfather was born and where he and George still have family. The blend is mostly Sangiovese with Montepulciano and is a tribute to Rosso Piceno, a traditional blend found in Tuscany. Unti’s Segromigno is one of our favorites every year. Lively red cherry and dried herb aromas are followed by equally bright red fruit flavors, chocolate, bright acidity, and mid-weight tannins. This is the perfect red for a variety of dishes, especially Italian food!
Perfect Pairing: Roasted brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and pecorino
Winemaking pair Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts are producing some of California’s most exciting and sought-after natural wines. They consistently produce interesting and elegant wines from a variety of vineyard sites throughout California. Nathan is himself a trained cooper and produces all the barrels they use for aging. This bottling is 100% Trousseau, an obscure red grape from the Jura, France, that is making quite the impression on the California wine scene. This unusual grape produces very light red wines with aromatic and savory qualities. The Luchsinger vineyard is located near Clear Lake on volcanic and geothermal soils. The color is a light ruby, almost like a dark rosé. It has layered aromatics of orange peel, strawberry, and pomegranate. What you think will be a light palate actually has more gripping tannins with flavors of fresh cherries, tart citrus rind, and savory herbs. Only 4 barrels were produced so get it while you can!
Perfect Pairing: Roasted salmon with dill; arugula and persimmon salad
2010 Onward Hawkeye Ranch Pinot Noir – $39.99; Blitz Pricing – $31.99
After working for years in the wine industry, Faith Armstong Foster launched her own brand in 2009. She has long, deep relationships with two growers in the Anderson Valley and Mendocino and, so far, produces wines entirely from Pinot Noir, her personal favorite to drink and work with. This bottling is 100% Pinot Noir from Hawkeye Ranch at the north end of the Redwood Valley in Mendocino. The cool climate here and Faith’s hands-off winemaking technique result in a wine of great elegance. It has aromas of soft red fruit, a light floral quality, medium-bodied palate, and great acidity. Thanksgiving wine anyone??
Perfect Pairing: Turkey roulade and sweet potatoes
Many of us don’t realize that Pecorino is a blanket term for any Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Italy produces a wide variety of Pecorinos ranging from piquant and peppery to more subtle and nutty. Pecorino di Rocca is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Tuscany. It’s on the less peppery, more sweet and nutty end of the spectrum with a slightly crumbly texture. It’s perfect at the end of a meal or paired with a Tuscan style red like the Unti Segromigno.
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:
Thursdays, every week, 6-10PM, Drop-in: 18th Hour Cafe
Friday, November 2, 6-8PM, Drop-In: Thanksgiving Wine Blitz Preview Tasting
Friday, November 9, 6-8PM, RSVP and Drop-In: Rioja Tasting with Bi-Rite and K&L Wine
Wednesday, November 14, 7-9PM, Ticketed: Producer Dinner: Bucklin Winery