It’s been a long time since I’ve done a good old wine tasting roundup. So let’s do this!
Last night, Peter and I met up with my folks and sister-in-law, Kate, for an evening of wine tasting at the brand new Binny’s Beverage Depot in Lincolnwood.
The theme for the night was “California Wines” so this was right up my alley.
Binny’s set up 7 tasting stations throughout the store with six to eight different wines being poured at each station. There were lots of fellow tasters present but it didn’t feel crowded because of the fabulous setup.
Now the wines.
My step-dad who, by the way, turned 98 on the 4th of July, was in search of a new Chardonnay to add to his list of favorite wines.
The favorites among the Chardonnays were:
The 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($55) is a wonderfully complex wine with layers of flavor. It has great body and a pleasing finish. The winemaker says that the 2013 vintage is very strong in this coastal region of Sonoma County. He feels that this wine could age for five to seven years.
Another favorite was the 2014 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($45). This wine, made from grapes sourced from several of the Flowers vineyards literally right on the Pacific Coast, has a bit more minerality while still providing plenty of the honey and citrus notes that Chardonnay lovers love.
If you are looking for something at a more modest price point, try the 2014 Stags Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay ($20). A bit less complex that the two wines above, the Stags Leap still provides lots of flavor and quality for the price. It is crisp and clean and quite good.
The 2014 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($18) has a bit more of a creamy flavor but still with enough acidity to provide good balance. This could be a nice choice for a house Chardonnay.
Other White Wines
The 2015 Cade Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($33) was a big hit. Cade is a member of the wonderful PlumpJack family of wines. I love a Sauvignon Blanc that is crisp and refreshing without being too citrusy. The Cade Sauvignon Blanc delivered this profile beautifully.
Remember what I’ve said, if you ever see a wine with “Bien Nacido Vineyard” on the label, you can be pretty certain it will be awesome.
Because we are experiencing a heat wave here and temperatures are hovering around a zillion degrees, we were all inclined to try more white wines than red wines.
Still, I am a red wine gal so I soldiered on.
The Pairing is what you might call the younger sibling of Jonata and The Hilt, two ridiculously outstanding wine producers. The same winemaker is responsible for all three members of the family and the quality shows.
While the 2012 The Pairing Red Blend ($25) contains some Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, the highest percentage of the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine tastes like a classic Napa Cabernet but at a fraction of the price.
Merlot, unfairly criticized in the movie, Sideways, can be the perfect wine for folks who want a bold red but prefer slightly softer tanins than what is usually found in Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2013 Emmolo Merlot ($56) comes from the Oak Knoll region of Napa Valley which has both the best soil and best climate for growing Merlot grapes. This lovely wine is smooth and has all the great flavors of luscious fruit balanced by a touch of earthiness.
By the way, Emmolo is part of the Wagner Family Wines which include Caymus and Conundrum.
We first discovered this wine on a trip to Solvang and Los Olivos in Santa Barbara County. Then the winery was called Cane & Fable but they have rebranded as The Fableist. Either way, the wine is quite recognizable because of the grasshopper on the label.
The 2014 The Fableist (Cane & Fable) Cabernet Sauvignon 373 ($23) is produced in Paso Robles and drinks like a Napa Cabernet at more than twice the price. This gem of a wine is a real bargain and could absolutely be a great choice for a red house wine.
I love the description by the winemaker:
“Every little sip leaves you comfortable, content and just feelin’ lucky.”
We did, indeed, feel lucky to have had the opportunity to try so many great wines at Binny’s. And, hopefully, our research will give you a few suggestions for new wines to try.
Do you have any new favorites to share with me?
- I received no compensation from Binny’s or the wineries. The wine tasting was complimentary for anyone with a Binny’s loyalty card.
- The prices listed are Binny’s. You should be able to find these wines at your local stores but the price may vary.
Thanks for stopping by,
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