With all the wildfires in California, let’s start this one with thoughts and prayers for all in that beautiful state.  Hopefully things get under control soon and life can get back to normal!

It has gotten to a stage for me that I look forward to white wines.  Still favor the reds and when white I tend to lean to Chardonnay.  Of course bubbles rock!  A couple of those Chard’s lead off this month’s selections.

Gnarly Head Chardonnay – $16.55, California 2017

Gnarly is the last thing you will feel as you take your first sip of this very reasonably priced Chardonnay.  An easy one to have on hand every day.

What the Experts say:  aromas of citrus, ripe apple and butterscotch. It is very dry, with flavours of ripe apple, citrus and the toasty and vanilla notes contributed by oak.

What do I think:  Fresh and enticing, always tastes like more.  Bright and golden in color with a nice aroma.

The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay – $16.95, California 2016

What the Experts say: Medium lemon colour; tropical fruit and peach aromas with vanilla and toasty notes; dry, with ripe tropical fruit flavours; round and creamy texture.

What do I think:  Here is a bang for the buck white!  Bigger, bolder and smooth with plenty of flavours.  A good accompaniment to any meal.

I’m developing a real feel for Pinot Noir and liking those from Oregon more and more!
This one covers all the bases – or in this case the alphabet!

A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir – $24.95, Oregon 2015

A to Z Wineworks has twice seen their wines named to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the year.

What the Experts say: Always impressive, earthy and characterful, this is a Pinot that brings the savoury and the smoky to its red berry fruit. A wine for duck.

What do I think:  beautifully balanced, pleasing to the nose, full of flavors and good with just about anything you want to have with it!!  This Pinot will make you happy.

Let’s move across the pond to one of the best bang for the buck countries – Hola!! Rioja – Spain.

Vina Herminia Reserva – $24.95, Rioja, Spain 2012

Yup a 2012 Tempranillo Blend for only 25 bucks!!!

What the Experts say:  Expect big red fruit flavours with oaky shading and pour with your favourite barbecued meats.

What do I think:  A very solid, full bodied wine that is predominately Tempranillo – think of it as a very good cab! From pizza to steak you will love this one!

Cune Reserva – $22.95, Rioja, Spain 2014

What the Experts say: Limpid ruby-red. Expressive red berry and floral aromas are accompanied by suggestions of woodsmoke, vanilla and candied rose. Supple and open-knit, offering sweet cherry and raspberry flavors that slowly deepen and take a darker turn with aeration. Clings with very good tenacity on the finish, which features sneaky tannins and lingering suggestions of cedar oak and cherry pastry

What do I think:  Seems like the Experts had some verbal diarrhea on this one!  This is one solid red, great color on the pour, aroma to the nose, full bodied and a great finish.  Be proud of yourself for picking this one!

Upping the ante as we move to the old country…Italia!

Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo – $34.95, Tuscany, Italy 2015
A James Suckling 94 Point!

What the Experts say: Aromas of rosewood, cherries and blueberries follow through to a full body, tight and focused tannins and a long and flavorful finish. This is linear and bright. The tannins are wonderfully polished and poised. Hard not to drink now, but it will improve beautifully in the bottle. A blend of mostly sangiovese with a touch of merlot.

What do I think:  At 35 bucks you would expect it to be a bit over the top and that it was!  Full bodies, great aroma and agree on the long flavorful finish!