Five wines that deliver a late-summer kick

10210547tHere are wines I’ve sampled recently which represent high quality and values.
• 2011 Healdsburg Ranches Sonoma County “Unoaked” Chardonnay, $9.99 — It’s nice to taste the chilled minerality and fresh fruit without big, buttery oakiness, and this wine offers great sipping for this price. Clean grapefruit, apple and pear settle in nicely on the palette. It’s a worthy deal at the Wine Connextion.
• 2012 Chateau St. Michelle Gewurztraminer, $8 — It’s amazing how this Washington State producer continues to craft excellent low-cost wines that deliver outstanding quality. Here’s a lush, spicy Columbia Valley specimen for all types of food, but especially Asian, Indian and chicken dishes. It gets an extra citrusy kick from a touch of Muscat.
• 2011 CA-2, $17.99 — From winemaker David Phinney’s Locations project, where he hunts down the best grapes from specific vineyards and builds a powerhouse blend. This California red mixes Tempranillo, Barbera, Petit Sirah, Syrah and Grenache into a fascinating library of complex tastes: There’s chocolate cherry, mocha coffee, plum and berries of all kinds. It hits the mouth with velvety appeal and finishes in Route 66 cruising mode. I doubt this wine will stay at this price through another vintage year, that’s how good it is. Counting CA, there are now five Locations wines, including F (France), I (Italy, E (Spain) and AR (Argentina).ls_0804_wine
• 2012 Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard, $15.99 — An upper Loire Valley white wine imported by Kermit Lynch, it’s a nice expression of Sauvignon Blanc (85 percent) and Semillion (15 percent) with aromas of perfumed flower blossoms and pleasant tastes of grapefruit and kiwi in the glass. Don’t serve this too cold, because it will be a disservice to the clean acidity and minerality drawing out more flavors in an enduring finish.
• 2009 Freakshow Peasant, Paso Robles (pictured below) $36 — If the California drought gets worse, will the red Rhode-style blends get even better? This inky blend of Mouvedre, Grenache and Syrah scored 92 points from the Cellar Tracker community and is just beginning to peak (drink now through 2018). This is a heavy-feel wine, yet silky smooth. There’s a blueberry patch of flavors exploding from the the first pour to the last.
— Jim Campanini