Summer is officially here, the nights are longer, the grill is in constant use, and my palate for red wines is definitely on the lighter side. My fancy, this time of year, leans toward the pinot noir and one that is under $20 per bottle. My six favorites are below:
2010 La Merika Central Coast ($9.99) - The wine opens with aromas of young, fresh cherries and a hint of vanilla with a brief herbal note. The palate shows flavors of strawberry and sweet licorice without being too jammy. The tannins are low and there is a bracing acidity to the wine that keeps the attention focused.
2010 Sean Minor, Central Coast ($11.99) - A repeat vintage at Beltramo’s, the nose has cherry and raspberry and a touch of earth. These flavors continue onto the palate, where the earth tones are enhanced with a slight tobacco. The tannins are more pronounced but balanced with a rich oak feel.
2009 Rickshaw Sonoma County ($14.99) – This is most certainly a wine that over achieves for the price. The fruit is sourced from both the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley. The wine opens with delicious aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant, the mid-palate follows this with a rich, fruit driven juicy red cherry. There is just the correct amount of oak to balance the wine and this makes it tres food-friendly.
2010 Bench Sonoma Coast ($16.99) – The fruit for this wine is sourced from a single vineyard (Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch) and is aged in used French Oak. This wine has a fragrance of fresh blackberries and plums and an undercurrent of cinnamon and cloves. There is abundant fruit on the palate and the finish is long and balanced with a strong mineral character.
2009 Paraiso Santa Lucia ($19.99)- A very enticing nose of strawberry, dried fruits and spice. The palate shows soft, juicy cherries with a good Asian spice component and a lick of French oak to add a touch of complexity to the rounded finish.
2009 Au Bon Climat ($19.99) – A richer style of pinot. Lush fruit, strawberry and sour cherry, with more density on the palate. Exotic spices, coriander and sweet clove with a great balance of acidity and oak on the long finish.
James D-B., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant