LOUIS MARTINI CABERNET SAUVIGNON SONOMA COUNTY 750mL
Never being the kind to just rest on their laurels, the Louis Martini winery keeps making top-notch wine for exceptionally reasonable prices. Not only has this been a previous Hi-Time "Wine of the Month", but it has also been rated at the top of the restaurants list of greatest wines for the price! Heck…even wine critic Robert Parker called a previous vintage of this wine, "one of the great values in Cabernet Sauvignon in the marketplace".
For more than 70 years, Martini family winemakers have walked the hillside vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties, searching for the most distinctive flavors of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Winemaker Michael Martini performs every aspect of winemaking by hand; no "wine factory" mentality, here! He blends small batches of mouth-filling wines (for this bottling, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley) that can highlight the differences in the vineyards or balance their individual strengths in a marriage of flavor and structure.
The tannins make the young wine approachable but will still give it enough texture to age gracefully. This vintage had a long, calm growing season, helping create elevated and concentrated flavors that include wild berries, plum, licorice and mocha. The full-bodied and mouth-coating feel on the palate leads to a long, graceful finish with tones of intense fruit, dried herbs and cedar inside firm structure.
SHANNON RIDGE 2016 CHARDONNAY "HIGH ELEVATION" LAKE COUNTY 750mL
When the mercury starts its annual climb we know it's time for a wine just like this Shannon Ridge "High Elevation" Chardonnay. We need something refreshing and lively, not too heavy, loaded with flavor and easy on the wallet. This one has it all! We tried this a few months ago and were impressed with its across-the-board credentials. First, it's delicious. Second, the winery utilizes sustainable practices (including a flock of sheep that cleans the vineyards, removes the excess canopy, and reduces the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer). Third, it drinks way over its price niveau, giving Chardonnay and white wine lovers a ton of "bang for the buck" (while synthesizing multiple elements found in the Chardonnay spectrum to create a greater whole). And with summer icumen in, this is what we'll be sipping on the porch, by the pool, on the boat or beach.
The High Elevation Collection is a careful blend of three appellations within Lake County. The clusters from High Valley bring citrus and acidity, the Red Hills Appellation contributes lush fruit and ripe characteristics, and Big Valley grapes add grassiness and mineral tones to these lively wines. The ABV is 13.8% and the wine sees 6 months in a mix of French and American oak.
The nose is luscious and rich with hints of Golden Delicious apple, creme fraiche, vanilla and coconut with background notes of cedar, oak and a slight citrus zest. The palate reveals mixed tropical fruits, from pineapple to plantain, all enwrapped in a medium body that is both rich yet lively with enough acidity to keep it aloft and refreshing. Light brown spices and toasty touches lead to a lengthy finish of sweet fruit and a touch of cream and minerality. You may have seen any number of wine memes across your social media account utilizing this quote from Galileo Galilei: "Wine is sunlight, held together by water." This Chard, with its panoply of scents, flavors and texture, is a hella good bottle to put next to it.