By Rick Riozza

This column has always followed the calendar when it comes to the new wines on the market. And here we are ushering in September and a new slew of tasty wines at very decent prices. So let’s jump right in with Wine Spectator’s take on things.

The weather continues warm and one of the most refreshing Sauvignon Blancs on the market is the Dry Creek Fumé Blanc Sonoma County ($15). This is a classic Dry Creek Vineyard “house” style of Sauvignon Blanc. Aromatics of lime, lemon, apricot and mango leap forward from the glass with nuances of cucumber, lemongrass and white pepper. On the palate, the wine is intense and bright with grapefruit, passionfruit and white peach. Underlying minerality and hints of jasmine, fresh cut grass and jalapeño contribute to this wine’s refreshing, crisp finish.

As you can tell, there is so much going on to keep things interesting. This is a nice juicy California Sauv Blanc when you wish to take a break from the New Zealand stuff.


Oh—by the way, should you feel adventuresome and wish to try a Sauv Blanc from Italy, we always love the Attems Sauvignon Blanc Venezia-Guilia 2020 ($20) Fresh, tangy, floral, chive blossom, Thai basil, white peach, tangerine, and stone. What’s not to like here!

Just hitting things at random, you Italian Barbera fans will absolutely enjoy the Marchesi di Barolo Babera del Monferrato 2019 ($13). Classic Barbera flavors with macerated plum with almond and loam. A nice rustic bottle with a fresh earth finish.

For you Kendall-Jackson fans, their Merlot Sonoma County Vintner’s Reserve 2017 ($24) excellent. Fresh and juicy, with red currant and dried berry and bright minerality. And if you haven’t considered it yet, do remember that the winery produces all of their wine with sustainable farming.

The Clos De Los Siete Uco Valley Argentina 2018 ($20) is a red blend, and one of the best from Argentina for the price. It’s a red wine lovers delight: dense and powerful, dark cherry roasted plum with hints of dark chocolate on the finish. And it utilizes all of the usual suspects in the red varietal club. I think Malbec is the predominant grape, but again, all your other red grapes are in play.

Back to some white wines, the California Artesa Chardonnay Los Carneros 2018, ($23) is always an outstanding buy for a world class Chard. Classic Carneros fruit, the wine is a gem when it comes to structure. A vibrant Chard with green apple and Asian pear flavors. A top quality dinner wine as well.

If you’re ready for a French Chard—a White Burgundy, without breaking the bank, look to Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages 2019 ($17). This wine has peach, melon, and apple flavors. This fruity wine is a touch rich and oh so charming. A perfect match for a cheese platter.

Going back to a Malbec—why not try a French Malbec from its original stomping grounds in Cahors France. George Vigouroux Malbec Cahors Chateau de Haute-Serre 2017 ($25). If you haven’t had a Cahors Malbec, it’s time. You’ve got blackberry, currant, and black olive flavors. It’s a concentrated red with forest floor, anise, and dried violet on the finish.

A couple of Pinot Noirs show up here: Sean Minor Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2019 ($22). Rich and toasty, with hints of cedar bark, dried red fruit and berry flavors. It owns a creamy finish is long and plush, showing accents of hot stone and cooking spices.

Hahn Pinot Noir Arroyo Seco 2019 ($20) As with great Pinots from the Arroyo Seco, this wine is elegant with red fruit and spice flavors and a focused minerality. Creamy nuances with a silky and delicate finish.

Who knew? I don’t get over to Costco much, but if I must, while there I will be picking up the Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2019 ($9). This bottling offers black cherry, spice, and tobacco flavors that finish with some appreciated tannins. This Kirkland brand can put out some nice, tasty stuff for a good price. And I like the Costco Bordeaux offerings when they do come out. Haven’t seen anything lately, but again, I don’t get out there much.

A great buy for a Monastrell from Spain is the Volver Monastrell Alicante Tarima 2019 ($9). Red plum and dried black cherry flavors in this red, mixed with rich elements of mocha and licorice. Finishes with smooth tannins and herby notes.

And finally, here’s a wine produced by one of our local and beloved vintners: Carol Shelton Coquille Blanc, Paso Robles 2019 ($25). This white wine is in the category known as Rhone-Style White. Remember the full-bodied whites from France’s Rhone Valley are rich and quite aromatic—particularly made with Viognier an Marsanne.

This Shelton Coquille Blanc is a Grenache Blanc blend. Chill this wine up for it is intense, mouthwatering and fragrant, offering orange blossom, marmalade, green apple, and mango flavors. A fun apéritif or a nice dessert wine. Cheers!