As the summer winds down, we’re taking a look at some good-value wines that we and/or our neighbors enjoyed in the last five months. Summer sippers make us think of white wine on the deck or the patio, paired with tasty cheeses, seafood or chicken. But let’s not forget about robust reds to accompany delicious BBQs during the warm weather!
First, let’s talk about the featured wineries:
In 1836, Wente Vineyards began with 48 acres in Livermore Valley, California. Today the winery draws from approximately 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed Estate vineyards. While we’ve written about their reds in the past, Wente is known as California’s First Family of Chardonnay. In 1912, the Wente family brought Chardonnay cuttings from France and planted them in the Livermore Valley. Their 1936 vintage was the first varietally labeled Chardonnay in the United States. During crab season, we enjoyed 2013 Small Lot Eric’s Chardonnay, which was fermented and aged in stainless steel. But our neighbors preferred 2012 Riva Ranch Chard.
For five generations, two families — the Maggios and Reynolds — have grown grapes and made wine in the historic Lodi region of California. They transformed the oldest winery in Lodi, Oak Ridge Winery, into a state-of-art facility, where Old Soul wines were crafted because “the winery has an old soul.” You can definitely taste it in the rich 2012 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, with a price point of $14.
Launched by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2005 as a restaurant-only brand, 14 Hands introduced its “The Reserve” label of wines sourced from the Horse Heaven Hills appellation in Washington state in 2012.
Santa Cristina produces Italy’s No. 1 selling red wine, Rosso, and is also represented by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. This Tuscan winery released its first wine in 1946 and has become a “benchmark” in Italian wines.
Motto Wines debuted this June, with a collection of distinct, dark, rich wines from California that offer a new take on that state’s wine. Motto is made by the renowned winemaking team at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, “putting a Washington spin” on California grapes. According to the winery, “the Motto winemaking team defies ordinary and makes it their motto.”
Of note, many of these wines are so reasonably priced that you can pour them at any time of the year. Just make sure to decant first for a few hours.
Summer Sipper Whites
- Old Soul 2013 Lodi Chardonnay, $14
- Wente Vineyards 2012 Morning Fog Chardonnay, $22
- Wente Vineyards 2012 Riva Ranch Chardonnay, $22
- Wente Vineyards 2013 Small Lot Eric’s Chardonnay, Small Lot (Unoaked) $25
- Other good-value summer sippers
- Santa Cristina 2013 Rosso, $12
- 14 Hands 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, $12
- 14 Hands 2013 Merlot Columbia Valley, $12
- Old Soul 2012 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, $14
- Old Soul 2012 Lodi “Pure Red” Blend, $14
- Motto Wines 2013 Unabashed Zinfandel, $15
- Motto Wines 2013 Gung Ho Red Blend, $15
- Wente Vineyards 2012 Southern Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, $19
- Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $30
- 14 Hands 2012 The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, $30
- Other good-value BBQ Reds
Thanks to Wente, Oak Ridge Winery and Ste. Michelle Estates for these and other samples provided in the last five months.
Margot and Dave