Winemakers often will add oak chips, oak powder or oak staves to wine aging in stainless steel casks. As a rule, I’m not a fan of these methods — it seems like cheating.
The 2016 A to Z Oregon Chardonnay is a well-balanced unoaked, versatile white wine that’s good to drink by the fire in winter and on the porch on summer evenings.
Started in 2002, Bodegas Naia had a straightforward purpose: making high quality white wines using grapes from old, indigenous Verdejo vines. The experiment worked. The winery has succeeded in making some of the best Verdejo in the world, and its affordable Naia is no exception.
The reasonably-priced Farmhouse red first came to my attention because it was made by a family-owned California producer known for quality wines.
Sparkling wines are terrific year round, not just for special occasions. Still, there is a persistent belief that the only time to drink sparkling wines is when you’re celebrating on New Year’s Eve or some other momentous event.
Famille Perrin’s Cotes du Rhone Reserve, Rouge, produced by one of the top winemakers in France’s Southern Rhone Valley, is an excellent wine to accompany a varied holiday feast.
Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay is lightly oaked with subtle vanilla and baked fruit flavors and apple and lemon aromas, a wine with enough fruit-forward character to make it a good companion for most holiday fare.
Ferrari-Carano 25th anniversary Siena is a dry red blend with complex flavors of plums and cherries and aromas of raspberry jam, maple and bacon (if the tasting notes are to be believed), which makes it an excellent wine to have with Thanksgiving dinner.
Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir, a light, dry red wine with layers of complex fruit flavor, is good to drink any time of year.
Laya, a rich, red wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit and berries, is made primarily from an obscure grape grown in a small wine region in high, arid vineyards in southeastern Spain.