Tag Archives: California

Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

Cost: Average price $8-9

Where buy now: Most anywhere. Costco has it for $6.49 right now

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Region: California

Vintage: 2011

Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

Unsolicited samples can be a double-edge sword. On one hand, hey, free hooch! On the other, if you’re just not into it, then what?

There are two schools of thought: write the God’s honest truth or don’t write anything at all. Remember what momma used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Personally, I prefer Olympia Dukakis’ character, Clairee Belcher, in Steel Magnolias where she says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come stand by me!”

I was oh so happy to be pleasantly surprised by this Pinot Grigio by Gnarly Head. They make a mean, chewy Zinfandel, one I adore with spicy BBQ. http://bit.ly/VzpPHp /Ravenswood & Gnarly Head Zinfandel But hey, you couldn’t expect the Mack Truck folks to create a cutesy, sporty, two-door Mini Cooper, right? This light, crisp white varietal seemed like such an unlikely departure. Alas, it totally works. This Pinot Grigio is what fans of Pinot Grigio are looking for. This wine is light and lively. It is crisp and tart with flavors of lemon.

Are you making anything with lemon butter? Pair it with this Pinot Grigio. A light, herbed citrus chicken? Pair it with this Pinot Grigio. Hitting up the Chinese take out after work for some Kung Pao Chicken? Do it to it (just add Gnarly PG).

You can find this almost everywhere for around $8-9. [Psst! it’s at Costco right now for $6.49!]

DeLoach Pinot Noir

Cost: Average price $13.99

Where buy now: Cellars Wines & Spirits for $11.99

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California

Vintage: 2009

DeLoach Pinot Noir

So many people have asked me for a budget Pinot Noir recommendation. I’ve tried a few Chilean Pinots, and they’ve been, well, “meh”. Since they don’t exactly taste like Pinot Noir to me, I think they’re a decent value. I’ll be honest and say I’m a California & Oregon Pinot Noir fan. That’s my own palate preference with this wine varietal. [That is, until my good friends at Familia Meschini come out with their Pinot.]

I’ve visited the DeLoach vineyard, located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma, California. Typical of the Russian River Valley, this winery creates some primo Pinot Noirs, and with a price tag to match. So, when I saw a DeLoach Pinot Noir on sale for $11.99, I thought I’d give it a go. Now, a $12 price for Pinot is a bit like seeing a new Mercedes for $4000. However, with the DeLoach name on the bottle, I figured it wouldn’t be entirely useless swill.

I was right.

Now, this isn’t a $40+ bottle of Pinot Noir. It just isn’t as refined as others. In fact, you could say it’s a little rough around the edges. But that’s OK, because sometimes we like it a little rough.

Until then, I think this DeLoach Pinot at $12 and change is a great value. The grittier, rougher Pinots may just excite you in a way you never thought it could. It may not rock your world, but it also won’t rock your wallet like one quadruple its price.

Simi Sauvignon Blanc

Cost: Average price $13.99

Where buy now: Surdyk’s, South Lyndale Liquors

Grapes: 95% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Semillion, 2% Viognier

Region: Sonoma, California

Vintage: 2010

Simi Sauvignon Blanc

The Simi Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma continues to be a staple I return to. It’s simply delicious with refreshing hints of citrus fruit: lemon, lime and grapefruit. It’s not all tart & pucker, however, as this wine isn’t 100% Sauvignon Blanc. There are tinges of Semillon and Viognier involved which adds up to a fuller, silkier taste. Don’t start thinking it’s heavy like a Chardonnay or Riesling though, this wine is fermented in stainless steel. It’s bright, vibrant and crisp with grassy notes, melon, minerality and balanced acidity. If you’re a big Sauvignon Blanc drinker, you’ll know what I mean when you give this a gulp. Wait, minerality, what’s that? www.winefolly.com/Wine Folly


Truthfully it’s one of the more difficult wine terms to describe and even winos have differing opinions. I found this video from my friend, Madeline, at Wine Folly who explains it best:

As with most wines out of California, the drinkability is great with food or solo. Finding fun foods to bring out the citrus zest and silky body, such as fish tacos, grilled salmon or a Caesar salad, would be a great idea. Think of any recipe that calls for olive oil and lemon. For instance, roasted chicken (shit, a rotisserie at the grocery store will do in a pinch) or boil up some pasta and toss with EVOO, basil, garlic, lemon zest and cheese. I implored the Fortify MN Food bloggers to give me a gazpacho recipe. I’ve always wanted to try a white gazpacho and so this week was a “Tale of Two White Gazpachos”. One from Fortify member, Diane: dianesfoodblog.wordpress.com/Diane’s Food Blog

Diane’s White Gazpacho

Another made without dairy, utilizing blanched almonds, old bread and green grapes: www.simplyrecipes.com/Simply Recipes

White Gazpacho[/caption]










You usually see this for around $15, which is a great price for this wine. However, right now it’s $10.99 at Surdyk’s during their Summer Sale. Yessssss. We are only halfway through Summer, folks- go ahead and stock up. You’ll be able to enjoy for months to come.

PS – If you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan, another must pick up at the Surdyk’s wine sale is not only the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc at $12.49 but Angeline Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc for only $9. It’s tremendous!