Closet, Clos de papillon, Savennieres, 2002

Deep golden color, slow-forming legs. On the nose bruised and baked orchard fruit mingles with butterscotch, toasted almond, honey and ginger. Quite botrytis-forward in appearance and aromatics. The wine is full-bodied and just melts on the palate; creamy, borderline decadent but balanced by a long, slightly bitter finish. Incredible texture, this wine should be enjoyed with rich, earthy dishes. It can even hold its own with gamey meats and stews. Definitely comes with a price tag, but a real beauty in its prime. Will hold up nicely for another 8-10 years but it’s hard to imagine this wine ever drinking better than it does right now. W.M.

Dolcetto D’Alba, Bruno Giacosa 2016

Stumbling upon any of the late Barbaresco genius Signor Giacosa’s bottlings for under  30 at a wine shop should get a whole bunch of neurons firing in the brain of any wine lover. This beauty of a Dolcetto lives up to all the hype that comes with the name on the label. Deep ruby color with bright reflections. Blue and black frutti del bosco meet woodsy aromas of underbrush, mulch and drying violets. Medium-bodied, very dry but lush with fresh berry fruit, velvety tannins and a mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long and slightly bitter, making this an ideal food wine. Pair with churrasco-style hangar steak, sausage and peppers, firm cheeses and cassoulet. W.M.

Chablis Domaine Vocoret

Vintage 2014, four-generation winemaking family in Chablis. This is as classic as it gets; high-toned and racy with bracing acidity and long, lip-smacking mineral finish. Developing a medium-lemon color in its adolescence. You can definitely feel the cool ’14 vintage’s effects with lean fruit and green apple freshness, but there is plenty of weight and leesy texture to provide some tension on the palate. The nose offers orchard fruit, flint and shells, with the subtlest hint of baked bread. This one will age well for at least 7-8 years. A real winner for $21 at the shop. Enjoy with almost any food: raw bar items, broiled lobster, bouillabaisse, braised pork shoulder with apples, as well as anything rich, fried or cheesy. W.M.

Doran Vineyards Pinotage 2013

Nice, balanced offering of South Africa’s patented Pinot Noir x Cinsault crossing from a fairly new domaine near Paardeberg Mountain (fun fact: at the turn of the last century, South African farmers had nicknamed Cinsault “Hermitage,” so “Pinotage” naturally followed). Pale ruby with bright reflections and pink-ish rim. The nose at once shows ripe and dried red fruits, but still has a real brooding character, offering intense notes of smoke, crushed stone, leather, wilting violet, bitter herbs and petrol. Musky. Medium-full; fairly concentrated and plump on the attack, velvety tannic feel on midpalate, with lots of sage/herbal notes on the back end and a mouth-drying finish. Enjoy this one with duck breast with stonefruit compote, wild salmon with cream sauce or pasta/risotto with mushrooms and butter. W.M

Kumeu Village Chardonnay 2014

This is some of the best New Zealand has to offer for serious, food-friendly Chardonnay at an “everyday drinking” price point. The flinty, Chablis-esque nose entices with subtle aromas of crisp green apple and wet stones; as well as not-so-subtle aromas of aged sheepsmilk cheese. Concentrated but mineral-driven and bone-dry. Slightly spritzy feel on attack indicating lees contact and unoaked ageing environment, but balanced otherwise. Drink right away with oysters and cream sauces. W.M.

Les Dionnieres Hermitage 2015

Decant this one for an hour or two before drinking; at this point in its development it needs time. Complex bouquet of blueberry/blackberry jam, cured meat, violets and dark chocolate. New oak is evident. Medium-full-bodied, velvety and spice-laden. Dark, brooding and tightly knit on the palate. Drinks great in its youth but will cellar very nicely. W.M.

Villa Rosa Barbaresco 2013

Bright, pale cherry red in the glass. Pretty yet intense aromatics of brambly red berry fruit, mushroom, rose and underbrush. Full bodied and structured with classic Nebbiolo acidity and length. Perfect use of oak; softens the texture and frames the fruit nicely without masking its purity with vanilla and clove aromas. Long finish. Gorgeous. Pair with white truffle pasta. 🙂 W.M

Batroun Mountains Riesling 2015

Pale gold color, aromas of bartlett pear, pineapple and honey. Layered fruit on palate with rather rich, round mouthfeel and lifted acidity. Surprisingly ripe and juicy. Minerality very neatly interwoven; nothing tart or sour on this dry Lebanese mountain Riesling. Enjoy with brie or lobster bisque. W.M.

Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Pale straw color and star bright. Pretty nose offering candied lime, grapefruit, melon, peach, citrus blossom and wet stones with the slightest hint of bitter herbs. Fresh and lively with a core of citrus wrapped neatly in minerality, the finish is bright and crisp. Beefed up a bit by a sprinkling of S millon and fermented mainly in stainless steel with a sprinkling of neutral barrel. Fruity yet food-friendly, this wine offers balanced ripeness, minimal green-ness and should be drunk either as an aperitif, a partner for oysters and sushi, or a foil for rich, earthy dishes like gnocchi with mushrooms or jaeger schnitzel. W.M.

Sleight of Hand, The Sorceress. 2015

Killer juice from one of the great producers of Rhône varietals in Walla Walla. Don’t let the cartoon-y branding fool you; the team at Sleight of Hand makes some of the most seriously delicious and food-friendly wines in WA State. This blend is sourced from old vine sites in the Columbia Valley. Pale ruby in the glass, with an intense nose to be fawned over. Kirsch, raspberry/blackberry jam and violet aromas intermingle with pepper, smoke, herbs and black olives. Ripe and rich but graceful on the palate with a nice open-knit feel and spicy finish. Truly a wine of character and terroir. Definitely pay a visit to SOH if you’re ever in Walla, it’s the only tasting room I’ve been to where one can sip world-class wine and jam out to Soundgarden in a backdrop of wine-stained barrels and vintage concert memorabilia. Rock ‘n’ roll lives at Sleight of Hand! W.M.