Fourteen years ago, I began my journey to learn the most I could about California wines. As a woman living in Boston, my awareness grew from visits to Napa and Sonoma. But one of the first California wines I appreciated was an old vine zinfandel made from Lodi grapes. Almost four years ago, I moved to Napa Valley, and when I opened a 2016 bottle of Ironstone Vineyards Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi, it was a tasty reminder of my journey in the world of wine.
Those twisted, gnarly, head-trained vines are older than I am, and with a small dose of petite sirah and grapes sourced from five old-vine-zinfandel vineyards, this well-balanced wine is a bargain at $24.99.
I can’t say the same about the Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G. 2017 from Luca Bosio Vineyards, but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of moscato bianco. I do love the complex aromas of this Piedmont grape almost as much as I love a surprise bouquet of flowers. But it is undeniably sweet, and best sipped as an aperitif. $17.99
Speaking of sweet, a bottle of vino Dei Fratelli Mochetto tastes like drinking actual rose petals with a bit of effervescence to add dimension. I really did enjoy this wine, restricted to drinking one glass. Enjoy with dessert and you’ll be glad you chose this pink wine. $17
Speaking of pink bubbles, a toast was in order and validated my opening a bottle of Mionetto rosé sparkling wine. Extra dry. Although produced in Italy, I didn’t wane nostalgia for these soft-pressed red grapes with the peach blossom color. The flavor I can best describe is like drinking violets. Best served as an aperitif. Note: This prosecco might be a challenge to purchase in the U.S.
The time was right for Obsession, a 2016 red blend of California merlot, zinfandel and petite sirah. The merlot smooths the finish, the zinfandel catapults the palate, and three months spent in new French oak barrels sent me over the edge. I’m obsessed. $17
The obsession continued with a tall, slender bottle of 2016 Obsession Symphony California. Wow. This is a cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris grapes created in California. It’s exotic and fun to serve with Indian food.
Sometimes a wine label lures you to purchase a bottle of wine, and with Tom of Finland’s OUTstanding RED, let’s just say it’s the whole package. Tom of Finland is well-respected as a promoter of universal human rights and sexual expression – he was quite influential to the late 20-century gay culture. He was a Finnish artist known for his masculinized homoerotic fetish art, and has been called the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images” by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade. The wine, like Tom of Finland’s drawing on the label, is sensual in a blend of petite sirah, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
Going stag is something I’ve become used to, and it’s an excellent method of effectiveness in networking. But that has little to do with a bottle of 2018 Samuel Charles Sauvignon Blanc, High Valley, other than the fact that I drank this solo and there’s a picture of a stag on the label. It was a perfect light wine to enjoy on my own and without regret.