Sitting pretty on the Pacific coast and inland, the California wine country sports a wonderful assortment of varietals that are as diverse as the states countless microclimates. From restrained Pinot Noirs in Santa Barbara and rugged Rhone blends from Range Rover Randall Gram at Bonny Doone Winery in Santa Cruz. While, up north, the Zany Zinfandels in Healdsburg will bring a savory smile and bold Napa Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignons get down to business.
The fun, fabulous sipping opportunities are endless, but selection a great date wine does have to mean a big dent in the piggy bank. While Cali crafts barrels of pricey pourers, they also have a lovely line up of nice-priced savory sippers that will leave you with enough pocket change to buy dinner - that hopefully, leads to dessert. Let's go!
- 1. Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc, NV, Napa, CA
Minerally brightness pops with every swirl, sniff and sip. Its delicate touches ofGrapefruit and gooseberry make this Sauvignon Blanc refreshingly quenching and a fabulous fish partner, with leafy greens, citrus chicken, mild cheeses - or on its own.
- 2. Solo Rosa, Sonoma, CA
A tongue-tapping creation from wine guru Jeff Morgan, this medium-dry rose' sports freshly picked red cherries and raspberry that seductively linger with each mouthwatering taste. Made from 50% Napa Valley Sangiovese and 50% Lodi Merlot it's enticing nose vibes with violets, grapefruit, and herbal overtones. Served slightly chilled. Terrific with smoked salmon, ripe cheeses, spicy Mexican, char-broiled fish and poultry and real winner with your favorite pizza
- 3. Rex Goliath Pinot Noir, Central Coast, CA
The Giant 47 Pound Rooster label may be goofy, but this brawny Pinot Noir from Monteray, is a fun example of precocious Pinot Noir crafting. Named for HRM (His Royal Majesty) Rex Goliath, a legendary Texan Circus 47-pound rooster, around during the turn of the 20 th Century, Goliath pinot has an unusually dark purple hue and palate pleasing ripe plum and black cherry nuances. A bit burly upfront, it finishes with a soft silkiness that's a must with roasted poultry, smoked fish, and grilled sirloin.
- 4. Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi CA
A sturdy medium-bodied sipper with hints of cherry and spice, it's made from 100% Zinfandel grapes that grow on old-vines. Its crimson red hue and ripe dark cherry fruit flavors have splash of pepper and spice making it terrific with roasted chicken, BBQ, ketchupy burgers and grilled salmon.
- 5. Wyatt Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, CA
Jammoliscious! Action-packed with ripe, black plum and chewy sweet currants, the bold, inky black hue tells all. This big, brooding Cab with a voluptuous soft, round finish comes from a blend of Cabernet grapes from Monterey, Lodi, Mt Veeder Napa Valley, and Howell Mountain Napa Valley. Its luscious, layers of dark fruit unravel with every energetic gulp. Great with sturdy steaks, roasted chicken, root veggies, cheddar burgers, BBQ chicken, hearty stews, fat tuna steaks and blue-lined cheese.
Stefani Jackenthal, President of NTS Wine Tasting LLC and author of WANDERLUST WINING, a fun, delicious guide to outdoor activities in wine regions across the USA. She crafts private & corporate wine tastings and teaches wine classes at 92y.org. www.stefjack.com * www.wanderlustwining.com www.facebook.com/wanderlust.wining *Twitter: @stefjackenthal