Wines I’ve loved in 2012

With the year drawing to a close,  I figured I’d dig through my cork bucket and Instagram feed to blog about  some wines I’ve gotten to know and love this year. (Along with some that should be forgot and never brought to mind….) Most are from California, which for me is fitting since Husband and I lived there for most of 2012.

Cheers to you!


Cakebread Cellars, CA 2009 Sauvignogn Blanc   After reading an article last year about this “Savvy B” in Bon Appetit, I stalked this wine for months at my local BevMo. When they finally got it in for more than 3 days, I bought a few bottles and gave it a whirl. Rich and buttery, this vintage has skyrocketed to the top of my list for the year. Who knows what the coming years will bring, but at $40 this was well worth it for a special-occasion white.

Donovan Parke, CA 2010 Sauvignon Blanc – Browsing Bevmo’s 5 cent wine sale, I grabbed this little bottle for about $15 for two during the sale. Clean, crisp and dry with a hint of fruit … great for a causal dinner. 91 points Wilfred Wong.

Main & Geary, CA  2011 Pinot Grigio – Like the label, this wine is clean and whimsical without being too sweet. Pairs nicely with peaches. And I like the label. About $12-15 Bevmo, and also featured a few times in their 5 cent wine sales. 93 points Wilfred Wong.

Valdo Prosecco – I had some at a friend’s sushi party and, unlike the way I feel with most sparkling wines, I didn’t suffer with a headache and a tummy full of regret the next day. A toast!

Michael David Winery CA,  2009   7 Deadly Zins – I’m constantly judging books by their covers, and overly-clever or edgy wine labels turn me off. So when I spied  7 Deadly Zins on sale at Whole Foods, I googled reviews of it. This one by Kim and Tonic sold me and I quickly bought two for the bargain price of $14 total. Folks, I became so enamored that the next day I went back and bought up 4 more bottles. It’s jammy, it’s jewel-y, it’s a berry-licious, yummy good time. Get it while you can.

Ramey, Napa Valley CA, Claret 2010 – So technically this was a 2011 experience, which you can read about in my Thanksgiving post from last year, but I had to blog about it in more detail here.A dear friend Jason brought this wine to our holiday table. Not one to reach first for a claret, I can say I really enjoyed this lively, berry-ridden bottle, which though young still had enough acid and nose to cut through all the rich flavors of our Thanksgiving turkey. Great color, and a nice little compliment to a heavier fall or winter meal. Good to drink sooner rather than later.

Russian River Valley, CA  2010  En Route Pinot Noir My brother and sister-in-law claim to have a secret in to getting this wine. Since they buy up just about every spare bottle in the San Fransisco area, to get your hands on this one, sign up with En Route or inquire at your local wine shop.This mouth-staining, fruity, intense yet mellow pinot noir knocks my socks off every time.

Crane Lake Cabernet Not sure of the vintage (probably a 2010 or 11), but this has been my go-to glass at happy hour. At $8 a glass (instead of comparable Cabernets costing $14), it’s got the legs to fortify me through the social time, but it’s not too heady for the drive home. Deep berry notes with nice tannins and a hint of spice.

Orin Swift Cellars, Napa, CA  The Prisoner 2010 – I was generously gifted this bottle for my birthday, and it can be seen gracing the pages of Hosting With Style. I’ve had the 2007 before, but the older this wine gets, the headier it becomes, and, for me anyway, develops too much of an alcohol in the nose. I find that this 2010 is the perfect age this year to enjoy without the sting. Deep, rich, and a great balance of berries and oak with a fruity, tannin-y finish.

Aaaaand here’s the stuff that didn’t trip my trigger.

For all the love I give Cakebread’s white, the Cakebread 09 Cabernet (at a whopping $80) gets none. This flat, heavy, purple potion and its hefty price tag left us with buyer’s remorse. Too bad, perhaps it was just a bad bottle?

Chateau Grande Cassagneto, France  Granache/Syrah Rose 2011  Apparently Rose is trending right now, and though I was skeptical, I decided to put my White Trash associations aside and give a nice dry French blend a chance. So, for our Bed Picnic Date one evening, I brought a bottle of  Chateau Grande Cassagne to bed with some fruit and cheese. I wanted to like it, but I just didn’t. A friend suggested that I try DuVal LeRoy, a sparkling Rose, which he deemed “A bit pricey, but good.”

Husband asked “So do you have it out of your system, now?”

Hey, man, it’s my journey.


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