It’s that time of the year when some of lean away from whites and towards the reds…others never do, and that is OK too!  For me it is whatever strikes the mood or the meal…

A great deal of variety hit the palate over the last month or so, another gooseberry laden New Zealander that went into the dreaded One and Done column.  It was back to Chardonnay’s for me after that!

One and Done

Misty Cove Wines Estate Series Sauvignon Blanc 2019 – $20+ CDN, Marlborough, New Zealand

What do I think:  Gooseberries suck in wine! Unless you like something that tastes like sparkling grapefruit.  Came as part of an online 6 Pack – no more gooseberry wine.

What the Experts say: This refreshing and tasty drop is sure to please with a bouquet of gooseberry and a splash of summer fruit.  This is a wine best enjoyed with friends and great food.

Clalifornia USA

Is there a better place to get your Chardonnays from than California???  Tough to beat in quality and price.  Here are a few tasty ones we had in the last while.

Ménage à Trois Gold Chardonnay 2017: $17.95, California, USA

What do I think: Solid Gold I say!!  Full bodied and full of flavors with a buttery smooth finish.  A steal for the price.

What the Experts say: This decadent chardonnay is layered with opulent tropical fruit and vanilla. The palate is full and round with endless replays of caramelized peaches and butter seasoned with hints of exotic spices followed by an enduring/creamy finish.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2018:  $21.95, California, USA

What do I think:  A well rounded, full bodied, rich, yet dry Chardonnay with a hint of oak and solid finish.

What the Experts say: Beautifully integrated tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango and papaya, with citrus notes that explode in your mouth. These flavors delicately intertwine with aromas of vanilla and honey to create depth and balance throughout. A hint of toasted oak and butter rounds out the long, lingering finish.

Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay 2018:  $16.95, California, USA

What do I think:  Full bodied and fruity with a big finish.

What the Experts say: This chardonnay is made from fruit sourced in cool coastal and warmer interior vineyards, creating an ideal balance. Full-bodied, with ripe apple, citrus and tropical fruit flavours. Spicy and vanilla notes grace a lengthy finish. Serve with asparagus risotto.

Beringer Main & Vine Chardonnay 2018: $10.95, California, USA

What do I think: One of the best bang for the buck wines that you will find.  Solid aromas and a full of warm citrus and fruit flavors.

What the Experts say: The Main & Vine Chardonnay is brimming with aromas of mango and tropical fruit, and those notes replay on the palate along with notes of apple, pineapple and spicy vanilla.


Three Finger Jack East Side Ridge – Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: $21.95, Lodi, California, USA

What do I think:  You’ve got to love the different style of bottle and wonder where the two other fingers went!  Dark and intense with aromas of dark cherries and mocha.  Smooth to a great finish.

What the Experts say: Silky and supple despite the great concentration and full body, this opulent wine has focus and fruitiness. The color is extra dark, the aromas are brimming with black currants and black cherries, while the flavors capture wonderful baked fruits and dark chocolate. The wine’s tannins are soft and well-integrated, providing a smooth mouthfeel. Score – 92. (Jim Gordon, Wine Enthusiast, July 1, 2019)

Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon 2018: $18.95, California, USA

What do I think:  Chocolate baby, the first thought on the first sip.  Great steak wine as suggested. Chocolate mellows and it becomes smooth and silky with a wonderful finish.

What the Experts say: California has a world-class reputation for great cabernet sauvignon, and this luscious example does not disappoint. It brims with aromas of ripe berries, mocha and violets that lead to flavours of cassis and chocolate-covered cherries and ends in a smooth finish with a hint of spice. Enjoy with grilled steak or on its own.

Solid Ground Cabernet Sauvignon 2017: $17.95, California, USA

What do I think:  Solid Ground is a solid Cab!  A nice berry aroma, dry, full bodied and smooth.

What the Experts say: Rich berry fruit with oak and vanilla notes. With hints of baking spices, it reminds one of a mouth-watering berry pie, tasty crust and all! It has a medium body and gentle tannins making for very pleasurable wine drinking. Just right! Barbeque, wild game, carne asada, and tri-tip tacos. This is a go-to wine for food pairing flexibility.


Vinetti de Fiorini Chianti Superiore DOCG 2017: $11.85, Tuscany, Italy

What do I think: It’s a cheapy superior to say the least.  A little lighter than I like, on the dry side, lacking a little body but certainly acceptable with a little pizza or pasta.

What the Experts say: Twelve months of ageing in large casks gives this Chianti a finesse that is notable in this price range. Dry and medium in body, this is a traditional Chianti Superiore, with lively acidity and moderate tannins supporting sour cherry and savoury notes.

Leonardo Chianti Fiasco 2018: $15.95, Tuscany, Italy

What do I think:  A little deja-vous, remembering the days we all liked to stick candles in the wicker wrapped bottles.  A solid Chianti for $16, nice little aroma with a smoother solid finish.  Well worth the extra couple of bucks from the Fiorini above.

What the Experts say: Medium ruby with a garnet hue; the nose offers nuances of black cherry, plum, anise and vanilla; flavours on the palate echo the nose, but also offers up some dried herb, smoke, and leather; dry, well balanced, with bright, lingering acidity.

Villa Annaberta Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2017: $18.35, Veneto, Italy

What do I think: I’ve said it a million times, I have never met a Ripasso I did not like.  For the price certainly a keeper. Medium to full bodied and full of flavor.

What the Experts say: Deep ruby; notes of black cherry, raisin and fig on the nose; on the palate it is dry and medium bodied with moderate acidity and tannin; flavors of dried fruit, dark chocolate and a hint of leather that lingers to the finish.