By G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski
I’m always on the lookout for great wines at low prices. Sometimes, however, a fabulous pricey wine comes along that I feel I must tell you about. Such is the case with Sharp Cellars 2000 Merlot, Danny Glover Vineyards, Sonoma Valley ($85). This brick-red wine has raspberry/strawberry aromas, an elegant mouthfeel and big fruit in the taste. It goes down like candy. Vintners Vance and Monika Sharp also own Sonoma Sausage Company. You can’t miss with that combination.
Alice White from Australia is one of the hottest wine brands currently selling in the United States. Here are a couple from Alice White worth trying: The 2004 Chardonnay has a delicate apple/pear aroma. Dry, with no sweetness or oaky taste, it’s easy to drink. The 2004 Merlot is dry and medium-bodied, with a complex, slightly bitter taste. Each wine retails for about $7.
Don’t miss Earthquake 2003 Petite Sirah, Lodi ($28). This beauty from Michael-David Vineyards was the red-wine Best of Show winner at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition earlier this year. It’s easy to see why: It has bright, bright fruit and intense flavors of blackberries, leather and spice. Even though it’s filled with tannins, it’s surprisingly very soft, with a fruit-forward taste and an elegant chocolate finish. This wine will wow you.
Another wine from the same producer, Incognito 2004 Viognier, Lodi ($19.50) has a light golden color, a dry taste with no sweetness (surprise, surprise) and an ever-so-subtle finish of bitter apricot.
Black Coyote 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($25) is a big wine, with lots of alcohol and a dry, lingering licorice finish. It will probably be hard to find-but definitely worth the effort.
In Stover Oaks Nonvintage Port, El Dorado County ($18), the flavors of raspberries, blackberries and ollalieberries combine to deliver an intense, fruity nose. The sweetness is mellow and the alcohol seems much lower than the stated 18 percent.