sidebar Part Deux
sidebar 2017 Kerner Mokelumne River Lodi 14.1% $25
I adore Kerner, but I’ve never had one from outside of Italy’s Alto Adige until now. That echoed winemaker David Ramey’s experience, too. He fell in love with Kerner when Paul Greico poured him a glass blind at Terroir Tribeca. So, I jumped at the chance to taste this cross of Riesling and the black grape Trollinger, a.k.a. Schiava Grossa, from California. This is the ONLY Kerner vineyard in California. The vines were planted in 1988 and 1998.
This is a glistening yellow wine with scents of lime blossom, Calvados and minced ginger paste. The palate is velvety smooth and pleasantly robust. Mouthfilling flavors of guava and passion fruit dominate, lifted by a hint of celery on the medium finish. So delish, so refreshing and so very Kerner! Don’t miss this!
sidebar 2017 Rosé Russian River Valley 13% $21
A full-on Syrah Rosé isn’t very common as this variety tends to be blended when made as pink wine. It is even more distinct in that it hails from the Russian River Valley, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominate the vineyards.
This is a wine modest in aromatics yet pleasantly charasmatic on the palate. The nose starts with subdued tones of warm watermelon slices and just-picked-on-a-hot-summer-day, sweet-tart grape tomatoes. The palate feels round and juicy with a big dollop of mid-palate weightiness and concentration. Some benchmark Syrah spice creeps in toward the moderate, red raspberry and minerally finish. With its combo of considerable heft and solid refreshment, this is more of a food wine rather than a pool-side sipper.
Drink: Through 2018
sidebar 2015 Zinfandel Old Vine Russian River Valley 14.5% $28
I love a good Zinfandel, and this one fits the mold with its pop of spice, smash of forest berries, sculpted tannins and chunky mid-palate concentration. I opened it to accompany homemade pizza, and the wine fit the bill.
There were, however, some awkward and overt, vanilla-driven oak tones (despite the fact the wine was aged in neutral oak). I enjoyed half of the bottle, vacuvin-ed the rest then checked it out the next evening. On Day 2, the wine was spot on with a brilliant harmony and a bewitching jumble of blackberries, boysenberries and mulberries that slid into a mocha-ed finish. It’s a crowd pleaser and buying a bottle supports a heritage vineyard planted in 1890 and 1950!