Looking for some red wines for weekend suppers, or Valentine’s Day, possibly? My tasting schedule was disrupted just recently while I ran out the nation– though I did sample some great Mexican red wines (more on that later)– however I’m back in the swing of things and have a few bottles for your consideration.We’ll start with a white
wine, the 2019 Acumen PEAK sauvignon blanc($ 75). I was looking forward to tasting this bottle because the 2016 vintage pleased me significantly when I sampled it two years ago. The 2019 did not dissatisfy and will not disappoint you. Whether you open a bottle now, or purchase a case and cellar the majority of it for 5 years or so. Both are capital ideas.The Attelas Vineyard is the source for this red wine, and the fruit came from only 2 blocks in the vineyard. The website lies 1,300 feet above water level. In California, 97 percent of all grapes come from vineyards located at elevations lower than 1,000 feet above sea level … this fruit is special.Phillip Titus, Acumen’s wine maker, aged this vintage in new French oak, neutral oak and stainless steel (roughly 33 percent each), and this is no ordinary sauvignon blanc. Its minerality and structure impress. Citrus and a subtle herbaceous note (basil?) raise the aroma, and citrus and spice greet the taste buds. Set this white wine with sea bass steamed in parchment paper with lemongrass, or a roast chicken– if a herb-based sauce is on the plate you’ll be even happier.If a classic champagne is more your design, I propose you choose domestic and attempt the 2017 Knudsen Vineyard Brut from Argyle Winery, an Oregon pioneer. It retails for$55, and is produced from vines planted in 1974. It is fermented and aged in neutral wood barrels, which adds intricacy and depth. I have actually matched this red wine with escargots, oysters and butter-poached shrimp, all exceptional. The 2017 Knudsen Vineyard Brut from Argyle will please.(Courtesy Argyle Winery)The Argyle Brut is one hundred percent pinot noir; 1,300 cases were produced. Its sensuous mouthfeel improves any meal. If Valentine’s Day is on your calendar, this bottle is a winner.I f you buy white wine on a regular basis– and I hope you do– canned juice
is probably not unfamiliar to you. Possibly you’ve even attempted a can or two. There are some fine examples out there, and if benefit is a priority (travel, dining al fresco in the
park, etc) don’t ignore this segment.Super Bowl Red wine A couple of days ago I tasted the canned variation of the official Super Bowl LVI wine called The Paring, and loved all three– a chardonnay, a rosé and a pinot noir.(Legends, SoFi Stadium’s cooking operator, has assembled a fantastic white wine program at the space-age stadium
, a lineup that concentrates on Santa Barbara County.)The size format of these white wines make them perfect for sharing a can with a friend. And I challenge any regular drinker of wine to discover anything wrong with these offerings. Quality wine making, excellent fruit, freshness and vivacity. The Paring, made by Matt Dees, provides excellent value at$25 a bottle. If you
are at Super Bowl LVI, search for it in charming little cans. (Courtesy The Paring) The Paring is made by Matt Dees, whom I have actually featured in Red wine Talk, and the fruit he utilizes comes mostly from
the AVAs of Santa Barbara County, including Ballard Canyon and Sta. Rita Hills. The best way to get your hands on some canned The Paring is to be at the Super Bowl today, but you can find the bottled variations at your favorite red wine merchant nationwide. They retail for$25. A Napa Wonder On to a storied Napa estate and a red blend made by Trevor Durling. It’s the 2018 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve (78 percent cabernet sauvignon, 8 percent Merlot, 8 percent petit verdot, 5 percent malbec, 1 percent cabernet franc), which I tested this week ($65). Note to the smart: The winery is using
of wines for as much as half off for Valentine’s Day. Click on this link for all the details.Durling is just the 5th wine maker in Beaulieu’s impressive history. He signed up with the estate in 2017 after posts at Provenance Vineyards and Moon Mountain Vineyard, to name a few– and he’s stepped into some giant shoes with aplomb.
The 2018 Tapestry is an excellent red wine, and I eagerly anticipate opening another bottle of it come 2030. The tannins are approachable and this white wine pairs splendidly with rack of
lamb, ribeye steak and merguez, the latter of which I took pleasure in with this bottle.The cabernet sauvignon grapes Durling used for this classic originated from the Rutherford, Calistoga, Coombsville and Oakville AVAs, the merlot hails from Carneros and the Rutherford Bench, and the petit verdot and malbec are sourced from BV estate vineyards in Rutherford. Though it’s just one percent of the blend, the Howell Mountain cab franc lends an astonishing expression to this red wine. Leather, cassis, a little forest flooring and graphite … all in all, a wonderful bottle.As I always urge, consume well and wisely, with those you love.For more stories from James Brock, check out Mise en Place.