Category Archives: Varietal

Pinots & Plaid in SF on October 26th!

Mark your calendar for this First Annual Pinots & Plaid “Best of the Best” Pinot Noir Tasting, featuring 25 leading Pinot Noir producers from Northern California.

Wine lovers, foodies and luxury connoisseurs are invited to enjoy fine wines paired with high end cuisine in the historic, stunningly restored, Hibernia Bank Building, at 1 Jones Street, in San Francisco.
A VIP reception will offer one-on-one conversation with winemakers from 2p.m. to 3 p.m.,  followed by a General Admission reception from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The VIP Lounge Sponsored by San Francisco Magazine & Roederer Estate will feature Sparkling Wine & Caviar and will be open from 3:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. VIP ticket holders and sponsors will enjoy Roederer Estate Sparkling Wines paired with caviar from The Caviar Company in an intimate setting.

Well-known, premium brands including Anthill Farms Winery, Blue Farm, Bucher, CIRQ, Clarice Wine Co., Cobb Wines, Copain Wines, Coursey Graves, Dunstan, Dutton Goldfield, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Gary Farrell, Hyde Estate, Kutch, Lando, Maggy Hawk, Peay Vineyards, Red Car, Reeve, Roederer Estate, Sangiacomo Vineyards, Sojourn Cellars, Stewart Cellars, Texture Wine, Three Sticks, Williams Selyem and Works & Days will showcase rare wines not typically available to the public.

Featuring rare and newly released wines from The Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley, Sonoma and Napa, the event is expected to draw an audience of approximately 500 guests from around the Bay Area. A portion of ticket sales will benefit two San Francisco charities: Meals on Wheels SF and Mission Graduates. Tickets are available on

Pinot & Plaid Tickets are $185 VIP and $115 General Admission

Thinking Pink: A summertime favorite!

If you don’t frequent The Somm Journal, you may have missed the truncated version of my article The Pink Tide: Sonoma County Rosé this June.  Enjoy the read, try some of them out before the temperature cools down! ~CS

Although he is well-known in the winemaking circuit for his ability to craft world-class offerings of Pinot Noirs, cool-climate Syrahs and other red and white varietals during his stints at Paul Hobbs and Kosta Brown wineries in Sonoma County and the eponymous Shane label he started in 2006, Shane Finley is also a true believe in dry pink wines.

For Finley, it’s a journey that began in 2002, when he fell in love with crisp, clean and stylish pink wines while working a year-long internship at Domaine Pierre Gaillard in Cote-Rotie. As an homage to the region, he made the first few vintages for his Shane label with Syrah and Grenache before switching to focus on Pinot Noir.

As the years have passed, Finley has gotten pickier about the sites and Pinot clones he worked with for his pink program. He’s also shifted towards using more stainless-steel and neutral barrels to capture fresher flavors and minerality instead of overshadowing them with oak in the cellar.

This attention to detail shows in the new release of the Shane 2018 Ma Fille Rosé. Made with fruit from the Sonoma Coast, the wine dazzles the senses with enchanting aromas and lively flavors of ripe red fruits, watermelon, citrus, and a hint of saltiness leading to a long, zesty finish.

But rest assured, Finley is definitely not the only one committed to making high-quality roses these days. This is especially true in Sonoma County, where a plethora of boutique producers are now working with a diverse selection of red grape varieties to create new styles of dry pink wines that invigorate the senses and provide a growing number of consumers freshness, bright acidity, and balance in every sip.

This is a sweeping change in comparison to the days when import brands like Mateus and Lancers, White Zinfandel and ubiquitous wines with the title “blush” led most consumers to think all pink wines were sweet. But change can be a good thing—especially over the past decade. Or, as Finley puts it: “It really is incredible when you think about the shift from no one wanting it to everyone making it has happened in a ten-year period.”

Another Sonoma County winemaker helping nurture this “rosé everyday” movement is Rick Davis of Calstar Cellars, who makes his Pinot Meunier with grapes from the Balletto Vineyard in Russian River Valley that were originally used to make sparkling wine.

In comparison to the Pinot Noir grapes he works with for his red wine program, Davis says Pinot Meunier is well-suited for making rosé because the thicker skin and higher levels of tannins allow him to produce and preserve the natural color, flavors, acidity and structure with less skin contact. The end result is a fresh, clean and vibrant wine that always comes out between 13.8 to 14.3 percent alcohol.

As a consulting winemaker at Halleck Vineyards, Davis made the Sebastopol-based winery’s debut release of an adventurous, bone-dry style of White Zinfandel with fruit sourced from the De La Montoya Vineyard on the border of the Russian River and Dry Creek Valley appellations in 2018. Once picked, Davis let the skins soak with the juice overnight before pressing it the next morning. By aging 30 percent in neutral barrels, he was able to create more distinct flavors, texture and a lovely light magenta hue without compromising quality.

Another important factor that makes the rise of dry pink wines more than a trend is how well they pair with fresh cuisine. Winemaker Bill Nachbaur of Acorn Winery took these thoughts to mind when he and his wife Betsy began crafting their Italian-style rosato with Sangiovese grapes grown at their Alegria Vineyard near Healdsburg in 2005.

To match the more diverse styles of cuisine now being offered at restaurants, seasonal meals and social gatherings, the style of the Acorn Rosato has shifted to a more classic field blend that is more representative of the estate as a whole. The most recent example is the 2018 vintage, which contains with 41% Sangiovese, 30% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah, 11% Dolcetto, 10% Cabernet Franc and 3% others varietals from the old vines planted in the 1880s.

“Our ultimate goal is to make a classy pink wine that is distinct, delicious and substantial enough to set it apart from your typical porch pounders and other sweet pink wines that are made for sipping in hot tubs,” says Nachbaur.

P.S. I Love You at CIA Napa on July 14th

Celebrate Bastille Day at this P.S. I Love You event, hosted at the CIA in Napa!  Last year I moderated the seminar and will be in attendance this year as well.  The panel event has SOLD OUT, but join in afterwards for a Tasting Reception featuring delicious bites paired with none other than Petite Sirah:  Register HERE!

Some DEETS about “The Petite Masters” Panel & Tasting Reception, hosted by P.S. I Love You

A historic journey with the American heritage grape, Petite Sirah and the top taste makers from Napa Valley

Discover Petite Sirah’s extraordinary journey to America and how the formidable pioneer forged a cornerstone in America’s rich wine history. Today, this all-American varietal is a grape on the move and trending in popularity among winemakers and savvy consumers alike. Enjoy a fascinating and informative roundtable tasting with notable winemakers specializing in premium Petite Sirah.

You’ll hear from top taste-makers, including George Urquiola of Robert Biale Vineyards, Stephanie Douglas of Aratas Wine, Randle Johnson of The Hess Collection and Artezin Wines, Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores Winery, and Miro Tcholakov of Miro Cellars and Trentadue Winery. These panelists will be joined by other Napa Valley producers to share why they are passionate about producing Petite Sirah.

Following an informative conversation, you’ll have the opportunity to sample stylistic Petite Sirah from 20 California producers. The wines will be paired with gourmet bites from CIA chefs.

P.S. I Love You is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness.

Participating Wineries:
Aratas Wine Napa Valley
Artezin Wines
Aix Sponsa Cellar
Ballentine Vineyards
Berryessa Gap Vineyards
Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah
Denier-Handal Wines
Foppiano Vineyards
Merisi Wines
Michael David Winery
Miro Cellars
Quixote Winery
Tenbrink Vineyards and Winery
Robert Biale Vineyards
Stanton Vineyards
Theopolis Vineyards
Three Clicks Wines
Tres Sabores
Vincent Arroyo Winery
Vezer Family Vineyard

Pinot Noirs of Sonoma Tasting! Thursday, June 13th

Make June 13th a special #ThirstyThursday and get yourself to Gravenstein Grill‘s second annual Summer Wine Series for a taste of WORLD CLASS Pinot Noir by Sonoma County wineries, from our neighbors in the Russian River & Sonoma Coast as well as Dry Creek, Sonoma Valley & the other amazing winegrowing regions here in Sonoma!

The event is from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.  Get your TICKETS to enjoy a slew of Pinot Noir from Moshin Vineyards, Laura Hawkes from Carpenter Vineyards, Ken Freeman from Freeman Winery, Papapietro Perry Winery, Matrix Winery, Eric Sussman with Radio Coteau Winery & County Line wines, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Emeritus Vineyards, Scherrer Winery, Halleck Vineyard, Claypool Cellars, Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Alquimista Cellars, Anaba Wines, Talisman Wines (Official Fan Page), Noria Wines, Donelan Family WinesBacigalupi Vineyards, Benovia Winery, Trombetta Family WinesCalstar Cellars, La Pitchoune Winery, LaRue Wines, Domaine Della, Aiken Wines, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Merry Edwards Winery, Paul Mathew Vineyards, Jigar Wines & More!

Noria Pinot Noir bottle 001

Make your way to Rosé at Gravenstein Grill on April 18th!

Join us for the first event of Gravenstein Grill‘s second annual Summer Wine Series for a taste of the AMAZING new Rosé releases by Sonoma County wineries!

On April 18th, from 5:30-7:30,  enjoy sips and appetizers with these participating wineries; Radio-Coteau, Kokomo Winery, Papapietro Perry Winery, Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Talisman Wines (Official Fan Page), Claypool Cellars, ACORN Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Jigar Wines, The Larsen Projekt, Muscardini Cellars, Halleck Vineyard, RED CAR WINE and many more stylish producers of dry pink wines!

All for $25: Get your TICKETS!


There will also be live music in outdoor on our Grove Patio, so come ready to eat, drink, mingle and have a great time in West Sonoma Wine Country!


Pinot On The River: This Sunday Oct 21 at Healdsburg Plaza

Join me at  Pinot On The River, this Sunday, October 21, from 11am to 3pm.  A must-attend wine event in Sonoma County, featuring a full program of exclusive Pinot Noir tastings, artisanal food vendors, silent auction, and raffle. The event benefits the efforts of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, helping serve over 10,000 YOUNG PEOPLE ages 6 to 18.

Use promo code VINE18 for 25% off general admission!


Last minute tickets! Hospice du Rhône on April 26-28

Just a short note to say online ticket sales ends this Friday April 20th!   I will be there enjoying the stellar wines and company.  Some availability already SOLD OUT so get them while you can.  If not sold out, tickets to the Opening and Closing Tastings will be available at the door for $10 more. All other tickets must be purchased in advance.


Enjoy Oodles of Petite Sirah on Sunday, March 18th!

P.S. I Love You!

Yes, YOU, but also Petite Sirah!  Next weekend on Sunday March 18th get ready for the P. S. I Love You event put on by the Petite Sirah Advocacy Organization at the Culinary Institute of America’s COPIA campus in Napa.

The Petite Masters class that I will be leading is already sold out and the tickets to the public tasting that will follow are moving fast. So get yours TICKETS asap!


The Thrilling Oregon Rieslings of 2017 – Part II

To start off the new year in style, below is the second segment of my notes and reviews of the top Oregon Rieslings I tasted in the second half of 2017. Most of these wines were originally tasted at Nick’s Restaurant in McMinnville, following the conclusion of the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC). Besides myself and a small group of wine writers and sommeliers; other people at this event included Oregon Riesling Alliance (ORA) members Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem Winery and Sheila Nicholas of Anam Cara Cellars, as well as Sally Murdoch of the Oregon Wine Board.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to taste the new releases in 2018. But if you feel intrigued by travel to the Oregon wine country to sample these wines over the next few months, I certainly recommend that you do! For more information about the Oregon Riesling Alliance and the upcoming Oregon Riesling Revival events, visit and

Airlie 2016 Dry Riesling, Old Vines, Willamette Valley. $20 / 93 pts
Known for its portfolio of hand-crafted boutique wines, this new release from the Corvallis-based Airlie Winery reflects the passion for Riesling shared by winemaker Elizabeth Clark and proprietor Mary Olson. Bright and elegant, this stylish medium-body wine opens up with alluring scents of ripe melons, honeysuckle, celery salt and fresh flowers. On the palate, flavors of green apple, lemongrass, cantaloupe, mineral and white pepper are balanced with a pleasurable combination of silky texture, crisp acidity, and a dry finish.

Airlie 2015 Riesling, Willamette Valley – $16 / 88 pts
Intriguing scents of candied pineapple, lime, wild herbs and earth tones. Distinct flavors of ripe melons, citrus and hints of ginger and white soy leading to an acidic sensation that creates a tasty wine that is crisp, playful, and refreshing. Great buy for the price.

Anam Cara 2014 Riesling, Nicholas Estate, Chehalem Mountains. $22 / 92 pts
Located near Newberg, Nicolas Estate has emerged as one of the great Riesling vineyards of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Modeled after the classic medium-dry style Rieslings crafted in Germany and the Alsace region of France; the 2014 vintage was made with fruit from the original acre of vines developed by proprietors Sheila and Nick Nicholas in 2001 and a separate two-acre parcel on the estate that was planted in 2008. Big, bright and lively, the wine features attractive aromas of Meyer lemon, ripe quince, honeysuckle and a freshly opened jar of macadamia nut.  In the glass, the citrus-driven flavors of fresh grapefruit, lime, lemon curd, sweet tarts, mineral and tangy acidity create a complex profile and a persistent finish. Pure refreshment in every sip.

Aram Cara 2013 Riesling, Nicolas Estate, Estate Grown, Chehalem Mountains – $22 / 93 pts
Dynamic aromas of wild flowers, ripe stone fruits, melon, citrus and petrol. On the palate, the crisp and refreshing flavors of Anjou pear, green apple, cantaloupe and fresh quince are complimented with citrusy sensations of ripe lime and Meyer lemon, a hint of raw honey, and a long zesty finish. This wine recieved a Gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which I judged as well. Therefore, besides being an instant crowd-pleaser; it is also very youthful and a great example of a Riesling that gets more elegant over time.

Argyle 2015 Spirithouse Riesling, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley – $35 / 91 pts
As part of the Master Series at Argyle Winery, this flavorful, limited-release gem is made with fruit from the winery’s Lone Star Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. To preserve the fresh and expressive flavors, the wine is fermented to dry and aged in neutral barrels. Delicate, with a beautiful light straw hue. The perfumed nose is filled with lively scents of spring flowers, ripe fruits, chamomile tea and fresh herbs. On the palate, the core flavors of ripe melon, white peach and lychee are balanced with a brilliant combination of elegant texture, tangy acidity, and long, dry finish. Refreshing, graceful and very food-friendly. Only 200 cases made.

Argyle 2015 Riesling, Nuthouse Vineyard, Estate Grown, Eola-Amity Hills – $30 / 88 pts
Crafted with fruit from three special blocks at the Nuthouse Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills, this small-production Riesling was aged in 80% stainless steel and 20% neutral barrels. On the nose, the senses are energized with concentrated notes of exotic fruits, lemongrass, raw coconut, macadamia nuts and overall freshness. On the palate, distinctive notes of pineapple, cantaloupe and coconut are lifted with a lively mouthfeel, crisp acidity, and a spicy finish to heighten the experience.

Brandborg 2015 Riesling, Elkton Valley, Oregon – $16 / 92 pts
For a flavorful selection from Southern Oregon, try this new release from Brandborg Vineyards and Winery. This unique wine is a blend of premiere fruit from the Bradley Vineyard and the Anindor Vineyard, which are planted near the small farming community of Elkton and the Umpqua River in 1983. The Elkton clone, featured at both sites, is named after Ken Thomason Elkton, who planted the original Riesling vines in this charming region in 1972. On the nose, the wine features floral aromas of fresh jasmine, magnolia blossom, chamomile tea, lemongrass, honey and ripe tree fruits. In the glass, the medium-bodied flavors of pineapple, tangerine, exotic melon, lime, cucumber and spicy notes are masterfully integrated with a rich, round and waxy texture, a burst of crisp acidity, and a long tangy finish.

Brooks 2016 Riesling, Old Vines, Willamette Valley – $20 / 93 pts Crafted with mature vines and a variety of intriguing Riesling clones planted in a special selection of microclimates and classic Willamette Valley soils; this bright, cheery and provocative wine offers abundant aromas of fresh wildflowers, white peach, apricot, fresh citrus, and lingering hints of petrol, beeswax and orange blossom. In the glass, the energetic fruit notes of ripe peach, white cherry and exotic melon are accented with layers of spicy and a bone-dry finish. Dry, classy and complex.

Brooks 2016 Riesling, Ingram Lane Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills – $26 / 94 pts
Developed by Bethel Heights Winery in 2008, the Ingram Lane Vineyard is planted in the signature volcanic soils of the Eola-Amity Hills. As a true interpretation of the site, this new release immediately leaps out of the glass with fresh floral aromas interlaced with vibrant notes of ripe stone fruits, zesty citrus, wild herbs, mineral, and spiced nuts.  These delights continue on the palate with persistent flavors of green apple, papaya, tangy grapefruit, fresh lime, tangerine peel and clove, intertwined with crisp acidity, natural verve, and a rich, silky texture.

Brooks 2016 ARA Riesling, Old Vines, Willamette Valley – $38 / 96 pts
Although the “ARA” Riesling is named for the Alter constellation; here on earth, it’s really more of a “statement” wine focused on crafting a world-class Riesling with flavorful fruit from old vines and two classic soil types of Willamette Valley: volcanic basalt and marine sediment. In the glass, this enticing blend opens up with dazzling aromas of ripe stone fruits, melon, fresh citrus, wild herbs, and sea smoke. On the palate, the core flavors of ripe apple, pear and peach are accented with citrusy notes of lemon, lime, grapefruit, mineral and a kiss of oak. As these flavors expand, spicy notes emerge with underpinnings of crisp acidity and a long, graceful finish. Overall, a terrific introduction to the wonders of Oregon Riesling, and a great domestic brand to follow if you love Riesling.

Brooks 2016 Sweet P Riesling, Willamette Valley – $28 / 92 pts
Sweet P is a shortened version of the endearing nickname winery founder Jimi Brooks called his son, Pascal. Therefore, to preserve the purity of fruit, high acidity and the youthful attributes associated with mature vines planted on special sites, this medium-dry Riesling is fermented without the addition of yeast. The result is a complex wine that starts with heady aromas of white flowers, fresh melon, citrus and peach, enlivened with subtle nuances of honeysuckle and tangerine blossom. From there, the ripe and fleshy flavors of passionfruit, tangerine, white peach and Casaba melon mingle with spicy notes of ginger, cardamom and pumpkin spice. To add more depth, the layers of sweetness are balanced with refreshing acidity to create a fresh, vibrant finish that makes you want more. Pair with fresh cheeses, prosciutto & melon, spicy dishes, and savory tarts.

Chehalem 2015 Three Vineyards, Willamette Valley. $20 / 92 pts
Reminiscent of high-class Rieslings from the Old World with an Oregon twist, the Chehalem Three Vineyards Riesling is designed around capturing the complex flavors of three distinct estate vineyards—Stoller, Ridgecrest and Corral Creek—inside each bottle. This new release features fragrant floral aromas of jasmine, lemongrass, candied ginger, exotic fruits and slate. In the glass, the crisp and youthful flavors of green apple, sweet mango, papaya and accents of mineral and spice lead to an amiable sweet and tangy finish. The end result is a well-balanced wine that offers instant refreshment of the palate and lively flavors that pair nicely with a wide range of fresh cuisine. Terrific.

Chehalem 2015 Riesling, Corral Creek Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains $25 / 93 pts
Although he was not part of the original group of pioneers that planted the first Riesling vines in Willamette Valley in the 1970s, Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem Winery has been one of the key leaders of the resurgence of Oregon Riesling movement over the past fifteen years. From the best blocks on the families Corral Creek Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains, this fantastic new offering features tropical aromas interlaced with dazzling notes of candied fruit, honeysuckle, kerosene and wet stones. As the wine opens up, the complex flavors of white peach, poached pear, papaya, exotic melon and kiss of honey are balanced with a rich, smooth and viscous texture, zippy acidity, and a long, refreshing finish. In short, a dazzling example of a Oregon Riesling with a true sense of place in every sip.

Chehalem 2015 Riesling, Wind Ridge Block, Ribbon Ridge. $25 / 93 pts
As the name suggests, the Wind Ridge Block is located in a very windy section of the Ridgecrest Estate Vineyard, a high-elevation site in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. For that reason, the berries have a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity when they are picked. From the warm 2015 vintage, this new release with lofty floral aromas and generous flavors of candied mango, papaya and tangerine peel are further enhanced with underlying notes of fresh herbs, spice, mineral, and a long, seamless finish. Delicious now, the wine will continue to develop for years to come.

Cristom 2016 Riesling, Tunkalilla Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills – $22 / 96 pts
Situated next to one of the classic Cristom Pinot Noir vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA; the Riesling blocks at the Tunkalilla Vineyard were developed by Brian and Ann Crosen in 2005. On the nose, this new release features fragrant floral aromas, accented with hints of ripe melons, beeswax, mineral and wild herbs. As the wine opens up, the lovely flavors of ripe peach, melon, golden delicious apple, raw coconut and citrus rind become more complex, concentrated and tangy. The end result is a world-class Riesling that is sophisticated, sexy, and definitely worth exploring in more detail.

Elk Cove 2016 Estate Riesling, Willamette Valley – $19 / 93 pts
Crafted by talented winemaker Adam Campbell and the staff at Elk Cove Winery, near the quaint hamlet of Gaston in the northwestern segment of Willamette Valley; this elegant, food-friendly wine opens up with enticing aromas of fresh stone fruits, wild sage, honeysuckle, mineral and lime. The flavor profile is packed with lively notes of tart apple, ripe pineapple, candied mango, green tea, white pepper and fresh acidity, leading to a long crisp and refreshing finish. An easy Riesling to fall in love with—especially for the price.

Lemelson Vineyards 2015 Dry Riesling, Estate Grown, Willamette Valley – $19 / 91 pts
Made with the fruit from the certified organic Meyer Vineyard on the hillside above Dundee, this dazzling new release from Lemelson Vineyards features aromas of lemon zest, dried flowers, ginger and ripe stone fruits. On the palate, the ripe and enchanting flavors of crisp green apple, tart pear and ripe pineapple are accented with notes of fresh lemon, Kaffir lime, mineral and a burst of racy acidity leading to a lean, dry finish. In addition to drinking great on its own; this is also a great wine to pair with fruit-based salads, shellfish, Vietnamese cuisine, and other delicate dishes. Great value too.

Love and Squalor 2014 Riesling, Willamette Valley – $20 / 86 pts
Need to get in touch with mother nature? If so, try this deep, vibrant and mature wine from Portland Wine Company. Made with premium fruit from older Riesling vines, this intriguing wine starts off with fresh and funky aromas of waxy fruits, dried flowers, lemongrass and tart citrus. In the glass, the flavor profile is anchored with ripe tropical fruits, mango, papaya and jack-o-fruit, as well as sweet and tangy notes lemon drops and key lime pie. While this creative wine is a departure from the more bright and fresh styles of Oregon Rieslings, it definitely offers plenty of personality, intensity and plenty of dense flavors that are tart and savory, instead of sweet and cloying. Pair with gourmet salads with tangy dressings, grilled veggies, stuffed mushrooms, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, roasted goat, and other styles of spicy cuisine.

Love and Squalor 2014 Sunnyside Vineyard, Willamette Valley – $20 / 85 pts
From the famed Sunnyside Vineyard planted near Salem in 1971; this stately single-vineyard designate wine opens up with vibrant notes of sweet and sour fruits, ripe citrus, earth, and exotic flowers. The flavor profile is layered with ripe stone fruits, raw sugar cane, honey and fresh herbs. Austere, intriguing, and an interesting pairing to try with rich cheeses, fresh mussels and fine Asian cuisine. Only 25 cases made.

Ponzi 2015 Riesling, Willamette Valley – $22 / 92 pts
Representing the 45-year anniversary of Ponzi Vineyard, one of the pioneer brands of Willamette Valley; the Ponzi 2015 Riesling is a true charmer to the senses. On the nose, the beauty and natural energy of this wine comes through with vibrant notes of ripe stone fruits, fresh jasmine, fresh herbs, tangy citrus and graphite. While zesty flavors of white peach, ripe apricot, lemon and tart lime pie provide the fruit core, the fresh acidity and delicate texture carry through to a long, satisfying finish. Fresh, elegant and full-bodied, it’s a great Riesling to serve with goat cheese, fresh seafood, and richer, spicier dishes.

Rain Dance 2016 Estate Riesling, Nicholas Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains. $22 / 89 pts
Taste-tempting scents of white flowers, ripe fruits, melon and lemongrass lead to refreshing flavors of ripe apple, lime and grapefruit, creamy texture, and lingering finish. Fun, fresh and approachable.

Yamhill Valley 2014 Riesling, McMinnville – $18 / 91 pts
The original Riesling blocks at Yamhill Valley Vineyards near McMinnville were planted on their own roots in 1983 and 1985. Therefore, as this wine deliciously demonstrates, there are advantages to having mature vines. As a very approachable medium-bodied Riesling, the flavors are framed with charming aromas of magnolia blossom, fresh cantaloupe, lemon and delicate Asian spices. Ripe, lively and expressive flavors of apple, tangerine, mango and lemon are balanced with a succession of sweet, tangy and creamy nuances leading to a clean finish. Lovely, complete, and convincing to the very last drop.