Wine Basics…So Many Choices!

Original Review: The Bookster Pinot Noir from Sonoma, CA, hails from Sherbrooke Cellars wholesalers and importers. They offer some interesting wines, like Finnegan’s Fin and Chaz Point Cabernet Sauvignon, but their impoverished website is one of the sparsest I’ve encountered.

Folonari Pinot Nero 2009 is a lighter-bodied Pinot Noir, which is exactly what you would expect from a wine made from this grape that hails from northern Italy. If you’re looking for Rafting Tara Pinot, look elsewhere. If you want a light wine with lovely berry flavors and a mid-palate lift that easily pairs with most foods, look here. It’s also available for $17 per box at Shop-Rite Liquors Pearl River Wines, 46 North Middletown Road, Pearl River, NY 10965; 845.735.2023 .

The Commission hosted many wine tasting events for both the trade and the public. One of the events open to the public was a walk-around tasting held at Binny’s South Loop location at 1132 S. Jefferson, one of Binny’s newer locations (complete with lounge stocked with a full bar). Over a dozen wineries were on hand, pouring samples from their portfolios. The task at hand? To find a handful of wines to tote to BYOBs for the near future. Of particular interest are wines to bring to BBQ BYOBs and summery wines that pair well with a wide variety of cuisines. I’m always on the outlook for wines that are versatile, food-friendly, and, above all, “value wines,” or exceptional wines available at low price points (read: $20 and below).

In California, Chardonnay is grown in both cool and warm regions. This means it varies from crisp and acidic to sweet and tasting of tropical fruit. The coastal fogs are the biggest influence. They can slow the grape ripening so that it develops more potent flavors.

Other local breweries that placed well were Marin Brewing of Larkspur which finished #68 (up from #82) and Shmaltz Brewing, based in San Francisco, who finished #85. Petaluma’s Lagunitas (#54 in 2010) and Moylan’s of Novato (#95 in 2010) both fell out of the rankings this year.

Imagine the freedom to take this type of impromptu road-trip on a whim. Pack a few clothes, make a quick trip to the grocery store, gas up and you are off. Follow that ribbon of road to find your own quiet lake, a warm sandy beach or a camping spot deep within a pine forest. No matter where you decide to spend the night, you have your own warm bed to look forward to after your day’s explorations.

The production of quality California sparkling wine started in 1892. The Krobel brothers came to Sonoma Valley and started making wine using the champenoise method. The charmat method was also used but the resulting wines where of poorer quality. Some of the lower cost sparkling wines are Andre, Cook’s and Tott’s.

So there you go. These are the grapes that keep California sparkling wines on top of their game. When we add to this the excellent terroir and the passion of the wine makers we find ourselves in wine heaven.

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Wine Basics…So Many Choices!

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