Good Buys

By G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski

Hayman & Hill, a partnership between longtime winemakers David Hayman and Dennis Hill, has a unique strategy, matching a particular grape to a particular region: Chardonnay to the Russian River, Zinfandel to Dry Creek Valley and Shiraz to Monterey. These wines come from appellations known to grow some of the best grapes in the state, yet each sells for only $13.99, a remarkable achievement.

Hayman & Hill 2004 Chardonnay has a light vanilla/oak aroma balanced with a rich, ripe finish.

Hayman & Hill 2003 Zinfandel bursts with spicy raspberry fruit and medium tannins.

Hayman & Hill 2002 Shiraz/Viognier has great berry/cherry fruit and a full, jammy mouthfeel without drying tannins.

Here’s a look at a few other notable wines:

Aura 2004 Verdejo ($18) has a golden-yellow tinge and lots of melon/pear/tropical fruit flavors that balance nicely with the wine’s crisp acidity.

Martin & Weyrich 2000 Etrusco Cabernet Sauvignon ($22), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, has a rich plum/cassis/leather aroma. This wine is ready to drink now.

Martin & Weyrich 2004 Moscato Allegro ($12) is a good low-alcohol wine bursting with flavors of peaches and flowers. It’s soft and easy to drink.