● By Wendy Sipple
Hayman & Hill Santa Lucia Highlands
Reserve Selection Pinot Noir
In the current climate of cautious fiscal and personal spending, many wine producers have taken heed to what wine drinkers are asking for: great wine at reasonable prices. Hayman & Hill produces exceptional wines representing exceptional growing areas for specific wine grape varietals, like Cabernet from Napa, for very modest prices.
One of these foremost regions for Pinot Noir is the Santa Lucia Highlands region in Monterey County. Mild temperatures, cool fogs and hungry soils create wines of terrific intensity. With most Pinots from the area being pretty pricey, Hayman & Hill has successfully brought to the table a great little Pinot Noir that can stand its ground with many of the competitors. Hayman & Hill’s Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Selection Pinot Noir is a hidden gem going for less than $15 a bottle. The unmistakable bright strawberry and raspberry flavors with a touch of smokiness and earthiness make this wine a contender for an honorable mention by Pinot-philes everywhere. The combination of flavors and elegance makes this perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Eat, drink, and be...savvy.
Julie is the owner and Wine Psychic of Un-cork’d
Casa Lapostolle 2004 BO RO BO
BO RO BO takes its name from the Bordeaux, Rhone and Bourgogne (Burgundy) varietals use in the blend. Casa Lapostolle is the Chilean estate of the Marnier-Lapostolle family of France. Run by the seventh generation, all of the wines are skillfully and passionately crafted. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Pinot Noir, Carmenere, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, hand harvested, 50 percent hand de-stemmed, wild fermented, unrefined, unfiltered, and split aged 19 months – 85 percent in new French oak, and 15 percent in year-old barrels. With a deep reddish purple color and elegant nose, the wine’s wonderfully long finish is icing on the cake after the rich red fruit flavors and smooth tannins. A perfect gift for the consummate wine lover, this was my absolute favorite among the seven wines at Casa Lapostolle, and among all of the wines tasted during an eight-day culinary exploration of Chile. To see Casa Lapostolle and my Chilean adventure, check out oodlebox.blogspot.com.
Rick is a 30-year veteran grocer with Corti Brothers in Sacramento, personal assistant to Darrell Corti, and “The Good Taste Guy” for oodleboxtv.com
2001 Cantiga Wineworks Chardonnay
Fall is the best time of year for me, when “crush” is in full swing and the big holiday meals are just around the corner! New wines will soon find their way to the barrels, and the pumpkins and turkeys will be prepped for the table. Of course, you need wine for those hearty meals, and finding that perfect bottle each year is half the fun of planning the get-together! Enter the 2001 Cantiga Wineworks Chardonnay. This wine is already eight years old and so good! Winemaker Rich Rorden’s low intervention method wine program allows wines to age, old-world style, which is rarely seen in this modern era of winemaking. This Chardonnay will lie down nicely for another decade…but drink some now! It is rich and full of citrus with a hint of oak, but because this wine is non-malolactic, it doesn’t have an overpowering buttery feel on the palate. It is balanced and will hold up well with the entire holiday meal, not just the turkey, and even pairs with the richness of yams and potatoes. A wonderfully big wine, it will satisfy those who prefer red with their bird!
Russell is a local wine enthusiast and freelance writer whose focus is Foothill wines.