“The Week in Wine” 19-25 June, 2017

It was a bit of a busy week in our household. I started teaching courses at the university this week, and we had a number of friends and neighbors stopping by from time to time. Sonja has been back at work for a few weeks now since the end of maternity leave, and by Friday, everyone in our household was pretty tuckered out. And yet, amongst all other things, I managed to taste 24 new wines, about half of them on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was one of the most amazing days I’ve had in a very long time; it began with Titus and I running eight miles, then a quick mowing of the lawn before we went to lunch and a wine tasting together. After that, our friend Tony and his darling kids stopped by on their way back to KC from fishing in South Dakota. When Tony left, we went to dinner and caught up with some old friends we see far too infrequently, and to top it off, post putting the kids to bed, Sonja and I shared a bottle of Champagne, along with some fruit and brie, out on the front porch as the sun went down. We watched the fireflies begin to light up, and it was impossible not to realize what an incredible day it had been.

Sunday, too, was excellent, with a long walk to the bakery and a trip to the zoo. After the kids napped, we walked to Blackstone and attended a going away party for friends, saw Sonja’s parents briefly, and finished the night off with a pit fire on the patio with half a dozen neighbors, some drinks, and some s’mores. I feel incredibly blessed right now, and ready to start another very long week. Hopefully, this one as well will feature some excellent wines.

19-25 June, 2017


My well-documented crush on winemaker Dave Phinney not withstanding, what he’s done with this “Locations” French blend is the best of old world and new, available in a bottle at around $20. This is a go-to for me. If you haven’t tried it, do.


Zooey didn’t want to go to sleep, but I was keen to get started sharing this bottle with Sonja one evening, so we invited her to join us. I resisted the urge to dip her pacifier (wub-a-nub) into it, and instead we sipped at this beautiful Salvestrin sauv blanc just the two of us. I’m featuring this one in a flight I’m pouring Saturday, and love it for its combination of tropical notes, stone fruits, and minerals. Rich Salvestrin makes terrific wine.


My favorite from Saturdays tasting, this is a bold, balanced, “Suck it, Sideways” Merlot. I really enjoy Flora Springs; everything I’ve had from them is high quality, and this merlot is very reasonably priced. Titus looking on in the background; he of course got to smell the bouquet.


The French do Sauv Blanc very well, of course, and none better than Sancerre. A simple white table wine, it walks the line between crisp and delicate with impeccable balance. In the $20 range, this is another one I highly recommend.


Fast becoming my favorite CV Cab Sauv, Abeja makes a wine that stands out for the spices that linger on the palate, including cinnamon, gingerbread, and herbs, all dancing around a beautiful array of black and purple fruits. I have tried, and loved, two consecutive vintages, and am getting more and more excited about this producer with each wine I try. If you’re in Washington, or don’t mind placing an order, this is one I wouldn’t miss.


That Champagne I talked about — I try hard not to say “Champagne” when I mean “sparkling wine” (though with some producers grandfathered in and famous Champagne houses staking claims in places like Napa. e.g. Chandon, it can be hard). This one is true Champagne, meaning from the region and produced under the required guidelines. I was truly enamored with it, in part because it checks all the boxes I like in Champagne, from excited little bubbles to a combination of toasty notes and brie to crisp, tart green apples and more. Also, available for $20 at Trader Joe’s, this is the single most affordable Champagne I’ve seen, and the combination of quality and low cost is something I always appreciate.

There were more wonderful wines this week, including some rose’s I tried late yesterday that I didn’t have time to write about. I’ll review them all on Vivino if you’re interested. Thanks for joining me once again on the journey. I hope you have a terrific week, and some terrific wines along the way!



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