Writers for major wine business magazines taste thousands of wines a year so their recommendations are pretty good. Relatively unknown is the annual selection of ten “hot small brands” by Wine Business Monthly. Wine drinkers rarely see industry magazines, but they are vital to those of us who want to know what’s behind the label.
I tasted them all. Yummy. If you can’t find these specific wines, try others from these wineries.
Wine by Joe
Cecchetti Wine Company: Sonoma, CA. 2009 Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County. This could be your new aperitif wine. Refreshing and light, with flavor of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and a nice acidity on the finish. $10/bottle. 13.5 percent alcohol. Www.cecchettiwineco.com
JC Cellars: Oakland, CA. 2008 The Imposter. One reviewer called it a “Provencal-styled red”. With rich flavors of pepper, spice, blueberries, cherries, it is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo and Carignan. $35/bottle, 15.5 percent alcohol. www.jccellars.com
Truett Hurst: Dry Creek Valley, CA. 2009 Red Rooster old vine Zinfandel. A really delicious zinfandel, a classic Dry Creek wine. Flavor of dark berries, pepper, a bit of smokiness too. $29/bottle, 15.8 percent alcohol. www.truetthurst.com
Barnard Griffin: Richland, Washington. 2008 Grenache. Taste of tropical fruit with a touch of oak and some rich dark berry flavors , with pepper and black tea. Great with spicy foods! $25/bottle. 14.4 percent alcohol. www.barnardgriffin.com
Bennett Valley Cellars: Sonoma County, CA 2009 Pinot Noir. Taste of red fruits and berries, with a medium finish. $39/bottle. 14.5 percent alcohol. www.bennettvalleycellars.com
Talbott Vineyards: Monterey County, CA. 2009 Logan Chardonnay, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands. A fruity and structured wine, it is full bodied, with nectarine, kiwi, honey and some oak. $22.50/bottle. 14.9% alcohol. www.talbottvineyards.com
Veritas Vineyard & Winery: Afton, Virginia. 2009 Petit Verdot, Paul Shaffer 3rd Edition, Monticello. Petit Verdot is primarily used in Bordeaux blends, but if you like it by itself, this is a classic. $30/bottle. 13.7 percent alcohol. www.veritaswines.com
Barrister Winery: Spokane, Washington. 2009 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley. It is fruit forward with a silky mouthfeel, soft tannins and a long finish. It is a blend of 88% Cabernet Franc 12% cabernet sauvignon. $28/bottle. 14.9 percent alcohol. www.barristerwinery.com
Lone Madrone: Paso Robles, CA. 2007 Tannat. This is a Rhone varietal generally used for blending, but the pure blueberry taste of this wine, with a hint of tobacco, makes it special by itself. $40/bottle. 16.8 percent alcohol. www.lonemadrone.com