Sips to Savor: Wines I liked in 2009

sips2savor-01sips2savor-02I went through stories and tasting notes from last year—still seems strange to say that—and found some wine favorites from bubbles to bargains. Please share your top picks with the rest of us Thirsty Girls.



J “Cuvee 20,” Russian River Valley, California $20 – J is focused on bubbly and at this price you can’t afford NOT to drink it all season long.

Mumm Napa “Brut Prestige,” Napa Valley, California $20 – Brut indicates a dry wine and this is smooth yet succulent.

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose, Cremant d’Alsace, France $23 – Hailing from the Alsace region, this top-notch pink sparkler is perfect paired with holiday fare.

Iron Horse “Russian Cuvee,” Green Valley, California $33 – With a crimson label and lush, rich style the Russian cuvee is a holiday treasure.

Henriot Brut “Souverain,” Champagne, France $44 – Henriot’s sleek sophistication is known to insiders who love Champagne.

Pol Roger Reserve Brut, Champagne, France $45 – A full-bodied winner from one of Champagne’s traditional houses.


2008 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier, California $13 – A racy yet rich combination that can both foil sausage stuffing and embrace sweet potatoes.

2008 Rodney Strong “Charlotte’s Home” Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County $15 – From this classic Sonoma winery comes an ideal summer sipper that’s vibrant, fruit-driven and pure fun to drink.

2008 Leeuwin Estate “Siblings” Savuginon Blanc/Semillon, Margaret River, Australia $20 – Western Australia’s most famous winery, Leeuwin is a name to know. This beautifull Bordeaux -style blend is a one-two punch of fresh citrus fruit with creamy notes.

2008 Persimmon Creek Vineyards, Seyval Blanc, Georgia $23 – This beautifully packaged white from Georgia’s top boutique winery shows off its unique clove and citrus notes.

2009 Casa Marin “Estero Vineyard” Sauvignon Gris, San Antonio Valley $25 – A charismatically eclectic producer who pioneered the uber-cool climate San Antonio Valley mere miles from the ocean, Maria Luz Marin’s Rieslings and Pinots shine, but explore this unique white, too.

2007 Domaines Leflaive, Macon-Verze $36 – This balanced, stylish white from highly-regarded Burgundy producer, Domaines Leflaive, is everything you’d want from world-class Chardonnay without a world-class price tag.


2008 Wolffer Estate Rose, The Hamptons Long Island, New York $15 – A stylish pink drink from one of New York’s famous wine names, Wolffer.

2008 McDowell Grenache Rose, Mendocino, California $15 – Brimming with red berry fruit and a peppery kick, this powerful pink is an ideal pick for red drinkers.

2008 Inman Family “OGV” Rose of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California $25 – Star Pinot Noir producer, Kathleen Inman, has crafted a stylish pink bejeweled with floral aromas and juicy strawberry flavors. It’s a beauty

2007 Domaine Drouhin “Arthur” Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Oregon $30 – From Dijon clones grown in Oregon, this classy white is named for winemaker Veronique Drouhin’s son.



2007 Toasted Head Untamed Red, California $13 – A raucous, muscular blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, this bold red is a must-buy for football season.

2008 Saintsbury “Garnet,” Carneros, California $20 – Over-delivering quality at an affordable price, the Garnet is a gem.

2008 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, California $24 – An aromatic, layered Pinot Noir that’s elegant and stylish.

2005 Albino Armani Foja Tonda, Vallagarina, Italy $25 – This 400-year old producer brought the spicy red grape, Foja Tonda, back from near extinction.

2007 Cadaretta Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington $35 – A boutique producer garnering rave reviews for intense, hearty reds.

2007 Barboursville “Reserve” Cabernet Franc, Virginia $23 – With a rich history, this respected winery is crafting sleek and succulent Cabernet Franc.

2006 White Hall “Monticello Cuvee des Champs,” Virginia $30 – Seamless blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.


Bargain Bets:

2008 Columbia Crest “Two Vines,” Riesling, Washington $8 – A bright, slightly- sweet sipper worth twice the price.

2009 Emiliana “Eco Balance” Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Bio Bio $9 – This super-value white focused on eco-friendly growing practices is simply a delicious sip

2009 Maquis “Calcu” Rose, Colchagua $12 – As a dry rose fan, nothing pleases me more than discovering a stunner like this juicy pink. The family-owned winery is one to watch…and buy.

2008 De Martino “Legado” Reserva Chardonnay, Limari $15 – With a commitment to expressing terroir in each wine, this boutique producer crafts wines of integrity. This classy white is crisp yet lush with impeccable balance.

Codorniu Pinot Noir Brut, Cava, Spain $15 – Impress for less with this beautifully-packaged pink wine made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. Complex and classy, it’s worth twice the price.


Splurge Sips:

2007 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California $42 –  A perennial favorite that captures the sexy allure of Pinot Noir.

2006 Melis “Elix” Priorat, Spain $45 – Power-packed yet approachable, this blend based on Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, marries Priorat’s ruggedness with New World flair.

2006 Pepper Bridge Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Washington $50 – Winemaker Jean-Francois Pellet is known for his way with Merlot. Deep and concentrated, this world-class red is a sexy summer indulgence.

2004 Ceretto Barolo “Zonchera” Barolo, Italy $51 – Classic Barolo showcasing personality and sense of place without a typical “ouch” price tag.

2007 Merry Edwards, Pinot Noir “Olivet Lane,” Russian River Valley, California $60 – Queen of California Pinot, Merry’s wines are simply stupendous.

2007 Jarvis “The Science Project” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, California $105 – Pricey, but nearly perfect wine. With layers of complexity, you can drink this limited-production bottle now or cellar.

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