In the Red, White, and Cru Collection we recommend American wines that can’t be bought in Texas, but are worth the time to order online.
Although I love to support local retailers and believe there is more than enough choice at grocery stores, specialty markets and wine boutiques across Texas, every once and a while I come across a really nice wine that doesn’t have a Texas distributor, but is worth the time (and shipping expense) to order online. Here are three from small California producers:
John Tyler Wines 2007 Wente Clones Pinor Noir
John Tyler is a small Sonoma Valley label from the Bacigalupi Family (just don’t ask me to pronounce that). The private label winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Zinfandel and was one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Sonoma Valley. Their 2007 Wente Clones is an excellent example of a California Pinot Noir. Darker red than many Pinots, this medium body wine has rich dark cherry, raspberry and cassis flavor notes that are accentuated by a long pepper-spiced finish. As a more classic Pinot, this wine would pair well with a wide variety of food and be a crowd please in a variety of settings. At $45 a bottle, this is a real value for those who like the distinctive Pinot Noir feel and finish. Can be ordered at: http://johntylerwines.com
One of the highlights of our last trip to Napa was swinging on the hammock in the peaceful and casual vineyards of O’Brien Estate. It didn’t hurt the atmosphere to have outstanding wines to sample at the same time. Of those we tried, our favorite was the 2009 Red Bordeaux blend named Seduction, so we brought a few bottles home with us. A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot, the Seduction leads with hints of blackberry and licorice, but adds vanilla and currant in the mid and back palates. Full bodied, but soft, there is a nice finish that lingers. At $55 a bottle, this is a value for a high quality, low production Napa red blend. Can be ordered at: http://www.obrienestate.com
Hendry 2009/2010 Primitivo and 2010 Block 7 & 22 Zinfandel
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make great wine; but it doesn’t hurt to be one, either. George Hendry designs and makes cyclotrons and also some darned good wines. Although many people use the Primitivo and Zinfandel varietals as interchangeable, the Primitivo is actually a closely related clone of Zinfandel, but not the same grape. Hendry does both right. The Primitivo is big and bold in flavor, but with a soft feel of blackberry and spice. The Zinfandel is a great choice with steak: the right tannins complement a rich flavor of blackberry and currant. They each sell for $35 a bottle and can be ordered at: http://www.hendrywines.com/