Russ Winton: Wine List

Nothing to whine about in 2018


According to the California Wine Institute, “The 2018 harvest began anywhere from 10 days to three weeks later than in 2017 and vintners are reporting exceptional quality, thanks to consistent growing conditions and cooler temperatures, which allowed the grapes to mature slowly.” Cheers to another banner year for California wines!

What Was On Our Table in 2018

Roses have finally made it to the top shelves. My favorite 2017 roses were Robert Hall Rose de Robles, Charles and Charles Rose, Cardella Sangiovese Rose, Matchbook Tempranillo Rose and Bonny Doon Vin Gris De Cigare.

White wines that made our table this year were the Noble Wines Sauvignon Blanc and the Hess Select Monterey County Chardonnay, both 2016. Yes, I enjoyed more roses than white wines.

Red Wines included a smooth 2017 J. Lohr Valdiguie and two 2015 Zinfandels, the Terra d’ Oro Amador County and the Peachy Canyon “Westside” Paso Robles. Two 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon winners were the Educated Guess Napa Valley and the Fetzer 50th Anniversary Reserve. We enjoyed Three Petite Sirahs, a 2015 Cycles Gladiator, a 2016 McManis and a 2016 Michael David Petite Petit. My favorites were the 2016 Lodi St. Amant Souzao and a French blend, the 2015 Domain LaFage Bastide Miraflores from the Cotes du Roussillon. And yes, I love red wines.

Bargain Wines I discovered at the Grocery Outlet were two French 2016 roses, the Bila-Haut M. Chapoutier and the Comtesse Florence Cotes de Provence, both under $6. Also, four reds under $5; the 2013 Vina Robles Red 4 Blend, the 2015 Puglia Rosso Familia Cossarini, the 2013 Sicilian Boccantino Nero d’ Avola and the Mercer 2015 Sharp Sisters Red Blend. They are perfect price points for Monday wines.

Where we did our research

our wine research this year took us north to Lodi for Wine and Chocolate, a wine walk of downtown and a one-day escape to the east Lodi wineries. We went south to taste at CRU winery and in September, celebrated at Papagni Winery with the Madera Vintners Association. We took three trips east, tasting four small wineries on the way to Amador’s Shenandoah Valley, tasted and picked up wine from Runquist Winery and spent three days at the Grand Grape Celebration. We headed west to the Santa Cruz Passport Weekend and stopped at four wineries in Gilroy’s Stomping Grounds and sipped wine on the Corralitos Wine Trail. The Garagiste Wine Festival was fun and so was the wine walk in Arroyo Grande. Gallo’s makeover of the Edna Valley Winery was impressive and so was the new tasting room Croma Vera Winery opened in San Luis Obispo. 2018 was all about great wines and definitely no whining. Cheers!

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