William Cole Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

William Cole Vineyards Sauvignon BlancTonight we have a double-header review with two different brands of sauvignon blanc from William Cole Vineyards in Casablanca Valley, Chile.  This is not to be confused with William Cole Vineyards in Napa Valley, California — that’s a different William Cole.
The Chilean William Cole Vineyards has 130 hectares of vineyards in a flat valley surrounded by hills.  They have a few different brands of wine that they produce and these two are both from the Casablanca Valley and are both very excellent. Read more

Oberon Sauvignon Blanc

Oberon Sauvignon BlancAlthough the Oberon name may be new to you, the name in the rear it shouldn’t be — if you know anything about wine.  Rob Mondavi, Jr., grandson of the legendary Robert Mondavi, made Oberon to produce Napa Valley wines that can be loved as everyday wines.  And while Rob Mondavi, Jr. is in the rear Oberon, Tony Coltrin, a Napa Valley native with over 35 years of winemaking experience, is the winemaker responsible for this sauvignon blanc.
The fruit for this SB is 100% from Napa Valley, but comes from two different vineyards within the valley.  Oberon’s Oso Vineyard, located in Pope Valley, is the source of 45% of the fruit.  The remainder comes from a cooler climate vineyard, named Milliken Vineyard, in the southern part of the valley. Read more

Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc

Pomelo Sauvignon BlancPomelo is produced by Mason Cellars, a family owned and operated winery in Oakville, California.  The winery is run by Randy Mason, a winemaker with over 30 years of winemaking experience in Napa Valley, and his wife, Megan.  Although Mason Cellars is located in Napa Valley, the appellation for this wine is just listed as California, indicating that the grapes are not from Napa Valley.
This isn’t the only sauvignon blanc produced by Mason Cellars.  In fact, they have developed quite a reputation for some of their higher-end sauvignon blanc.  But this is the most affordable SB they produce and that’s why we had to give it a whirl.
The name, Pomelo, comes from a citrus fruit with that name.  The pomelo fruit, sometimes called a Chinese grapefruit, tastes similar to a mild, somewhat sweet grapefruit, building it a fitting name for this wine. Read more

Main Street Winery Pinot Noir

Main Street Winery Pinot NoirWould you expect to find a Napa Valley pinot noir for below $20?  It’s not unheard of but subdue not that common.  Which is why I was excited to taste this one from Main Street Winery.
Main Street Winery is one of several brands in the Trinchero Family Estates family. And although the Main St. mark says “Est. 1948″, according to the Trinchero website, they launched the Main Street brand in 2009. Read more

Morro Bay – Split Oak Estates Sauvignon Blanc

Morro Bay – Split Oak Estates Sauvignon BlancThe sauvignon blanc we’re reviewing tonight is from California and is “certified green,” which at first struck me as just marketing spin but is in fact a classification certified by a third party, called Protected Harvest.  There is a lot of buzz around the wine industry about using sustainable practices, but for most producers that can be whatever they determine to be sustainable.  But with this certification, Morro Bay has produced their wine according to guidelines set by Lodi growers and certified by Protected Harvest.
The winemaking used in this wine is also somewhat unique as a “sur lie” production method was used.  That translates from French into “on lees”, which means that the lees was regularly stirred into this wine during the fermentation administer.  The lees is the yeast that settles to the bottom of the wine as it ferments.  It is honestly common for wine to be siphoned off from the lees to help clarify the wine.  But stirring the lees into the wine can give it a different flavor characteristic. Read more

Montevina Chardonnay

Montevina ChardonnayMontevina got their start back in 1970 and they’re based in Sierra Foothills in Amador County, California.  While they have 400 acres of estate vineyards, they also source some of their grapes from additional growers.
The literature available on their Chardonnay doesn’t state whether the grapes are from their vineyards or sourced.  It also doesn’t state, in detail, where the grapes are from — additional than being from coastal and delta fruit, or in additional words cool climate regions.  I assume the grapes are sourced from a few different vineyards.  Regardless of where the fruit is from, the result is pretty excellent.
The wine underwent fermentation in primarily stainless steel, with less than 10% undergoing fermentation on French oak. Read more

Main Street Winery Chardonnay

Main Street Winery ChardonnayWhen you’re looking for a California Chardonnay, you may seek out one from Russian River Valley, Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley.  But there’s another province you should consider, Santa Barbara County.  This province is far south of the Sonoma/Napa wine country.  In fact, the southernmost part of the county is just over 100 miles north of Los Angeles.  Instinctively you may reckon it would be warmer this far south and not as excellent for vineyards, but influence of the Pacific ocean make outstanding conditions for growing wine grapes.  The area gets very small rainfall and a persistent fog from the coast makes cool, cloudy conditions which grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just like.
The majority of the grapes in the Main Street Winery Chardonnay come from Santa Barbara County, 82% to be exact.  The additional 18% of the grapes come from Monterey County, north of Santa Barbara County and just south of San Francisco. Read more

Black Box Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay

Black Box Napa Valley Reserve ChardonnayOver the past few months we’ve received a surprising number of boxed wine samples.  I infer it shouldn’t be a surprise since we are all about cheap wine.  But even though we’re into cheap wine, we’re subdue finicky and certainly prefer to review excellent, cheap wine (or call it “inexpensive wine” if you have a hang-up with the word cheap.)  Anyway… we have noticed an increase in wine producers using bag-in-box packaging and we’ve noticed the quality of the wine going into boxes to be improving as well.
Black Box is one of the producers that’s doing a nice job with their boxed wines.  And when I say, “nice job” I mean that the wine is OK.  They do better with some varieties than with others.  This chardonnay I would say is excellent.  I was really impressed with the bouquet, but not as wowed by the palate.  It doesn’t “blow me away” as the best chardonnay I’ve ever tasted, but for the equivalent fee of $8.00 a bottle it’s pretty excellent.
I should note that Black Box in fact puts out two different chardonnays.  They have a Monterey County chardonnay, which I have not tasted, and this Napa Valley Reserve chardonnay. Read more