Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Still Wines for New Year’s Eve 2012

by Sally Bernstein

Here are some top wine picks for New Year’s Eve. Some are new releases, some are old favorites, some are classics and some are actually bargains. Choose from reds and whites from the most expensive to the least.

Cakebread Cellars
2009 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon ($110)
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($60)
2010 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley ($49.50)

Jack Cakebread started his winery 39 years ago in Rutherford, California. He brought new methods of reaching out to consumers and innovative farming techniques to Napa Valley and his wines are now internationally known. The name of the winery comes from England, where the family forebears were bakers who made a dense round loaf called a cakebrede. Varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.




Darms Lane 2009 Bon Passe Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)
Darms Lane is a family owned and operated winery committed to deliver quality wines from the Napa Valley and recently the Russian River Valley.
This 100% estate grown Oak Knoll appellation (Napa Valley) wine is in its 5th release. Aromas of blueberries, plum, and red currants finish with wild blackberry notes, which will complement many foods. Today, Darms Lane produced around 500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, 400 cases of Chardonnay and 250 cases of Pinot Noir every year.





Ziata Wines
Cabernet Franc, Oakville ($60)
Pinot Noir, Carneros ($45)
Sauvignon Blanc ($28)

Founder Karen Cakebread started Ziata about 5 years ago, named after her mother, Mary Annunziata. Winemaker Anne Vawter and Karen work together to turn fruit into elegant, complex wines by using sustainable, organically farmed vineyards.






Ravenswood Winery Pickberry Red Wine ($50)
These grapes come from the western side of Sonoma Valley and produce Bordeaux-style wines. Pickberry Red Wine is made up of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot aromas with scents of red currant, cured tobacco leaf, and musk.







Nandu 2010 Malbec ($45)
This malbec from Mendoza, Argentine, has a vibrant ruby color with fruits of plum, cranberry, and blueberry, followed by blackberry with a touch of cedar.







Franciscan Estate 2010 Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay ($40)
This Napa Valley Chardonnay is named Sauvage or “wild” which refers to the fact that in 1987 Franciscan Estates was the first Napa Valley winery to adopt the traditional Burgundian practice of fermenting Chardonnay entirely with wild, native vineyards yeast. You’ll experience aromas of ripe apple, pear, vanilla and clove.








Tres Sabores
2010 Tres Sabores Rutherford Estate Zinfandel ($35)
2009 Tres Sabores ¿Por qué no? Red Wine Blend, Napa Valley ($25)

2011 Tres Sabores Sauvignon Blanc, Farina Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain ($24)

2011 Tres Sabores Napa Valley Rosé ($20)

From the Napa Valley in California (Rutherford) comes a winery that grows certified organic grapes. You'll find Petit Verdot, Cabernet, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Petite Syrah.





Stinson Vineyards 2010 Meritage ($31.99)
The four varietals in this black cherry Meritage blend were grown in three premier Virginia vineyards. The Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon come from Muse Vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley, the Merlot from King Family Vineyards in the Monticello AVA, and the Cabernet Franc from Benevino Vineyards in Winchester.





Clarksburg Wine Company
Remenance ($32)
Cab Franc ($28)
Petite Sirah ($26)

Clarksburg Wine Company is located near Sacramento, California, in the Clarksburg appellation. Although their signature wine is Chenin Blanc, they also produce Remenance, a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Their Cab Franc has aromas of herbs, black cherry, and cedar shavings and finishes with clove, butterscotch, and cocoa notes. The Petite Sirah is getting wide approval. It has an aroma of blackberry, boysenberry, and spice and the finish is reminiscent of toasted coconut, caramel, and smoke.



Jackson Family Wines

Jess Jackson founded Kendall-Jackson in 1982. It is located in Fulton, California, while their tasting room is in Healdsburg, California. But K-J owns many other wineries, including Arrowood, La Crema, Carmel Road, Matanzas Creek, Murphy-Goode, Cambria and Byron, among others. Don’t forget to check out K-J’s Signature Gift Sets, several Wine Clubs, Holiday Gift Packs, and Culinary Products.



Arrowood 2008 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)
This cab. has fruit forward, bright aromas of raspberries and cherries; cola and well integrated oak, round, full tannins; spicy, with a bit of cocoa and cola on the palate.







Byron Winery
2010 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($29)
This Pinot Noir displays aromas of dark berry and cherry accented by hints of floral and mineral.

2010 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay ($27)
This Chardonnay is styled to highlight the vivid aromas and flavors of their cool climate fruit.




Cambria Winery
2010 Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir ($25)
Named after proprietor Barbara Banke’s youngest daughter Julia, this Pinot Noir confers dark fruit aromatics.

2010 Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay ($22)
Named after owner Barbara Banke’s eldest daughter, Katherine’s is a Chardonnay with a spectrum of fruit favors ranging from mango to Meyer lemon.





La Crema
2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($25)
This Pinot Noir offers lovely aromas of cherry pie and sassafras, supported by subtle earth tones and hints of rose petal and vanilla. Pomegranate and cranberry join in on the palate, with notes of black licorice, espresso bean, sweet pipe tobacco and cherry cola.

2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($23)
This Chardonnay opens with bright aromas of Meyer lemon and yellow apple, punctuated by hints of butterscotch and subtle floral notes.


Carmel Road
2011 Monterey Pinot Noir ($22)
The 2011 Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir opens with bright, fragrant red berry tones, complimented by a lovely spice nuance and deep earthy notes.

2011 Monterey Chardonnay ($22)
The 2011 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay has floral aromas with flavors of golden delicious apple and citrus.







2011 Avant Chardonnay ($15)
This refreshing Chardonnay erupts with captivating layers of fresh pineapple, bright green apple, crisp Meyer lemon, juicy pear and wildflowers.

2011 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay ($15)
Look for tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango, and papaya with citrus notes that explode in your mouth. These flavors delicately intertwine with aromas of vanilla and honey.

2010 Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir ($19)
This garnet gem delivers bright cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit with elegant earthy notes infused with cola and mild spice accents.

2010 Vintner’s Reserve Merlot ($19)
This Bordeaux varietal has intricate layers of black cherry, plum, currant, and wild berry that mingle with a hint of spice.


Matanzas Creek 2011 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($20)
This Sauvignon Blanc comes from vineyards located in southern Alexander Valley (Chalk Hill AVA) and Knights Valley and has intense grapefruit, guava and verbena aromas.







2011 CA Pinot Noir ($15)
Pinot Noir comes from vineyards up and down the coast of California, including Monterey, Santa Barbara and Mendocino. Notes of vanilla from aging in French and American oak add complexity to the intense black cherry aromas and flavors.

2010 CA Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
Essence of blackberry and cherry with hints of thyme are expressed. Merlot was folded into the blend to add depth and complexity.

2010 CA Merlot ($15)
Inviting aromas of black cherry and thyme deliver a wine with rich flavors of blackberry jam, nutmeg and dark fruit.

2010 CA Chardonnay ($15)
This wine opens with tastes of red apple, pear and tropical fruits. Streaks of lemon cream with hints of vanilla entice another sip.


Wild Horse 2010 Unbridled Chardonnay ($23.99)

Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards is located in the Santa Maria Valley on the Central Coast of California south of Paso Robles. They have been creating wines for almost 30 years. Characteristics of apple, pear, and hints of pineapple are followed by tastes of lemon and caramel in this Chardonnay.







Wente Vineyards
Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.99)
Wente Vineyards Reliz Creek Pinot Noir ($21.99)
Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot (14.99)
Murrieta’s Well The Spur ($25)
Double Decker Red Blend ($11.99)

Wente Vineyards is 130 years old and the oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery in the U.S. Located in Livermore, California, east of San Francisco, Wente is a 5th generation winery. Wente has a golf course, a restaurant, outdoor summer concerts, and hosts weddings and other events. Also a Wine Club, Golf Club and an Entertainment Club are part of their large operation.



Hess Select
2010 Hess Select Pinot Noir ($20)
Badged in teal, this Pinot Noir is supple on the mouth with aromas and flavors of raspberry, ripe plum, and red fruit of strawberry and cherry. The grapes come from California’s Central Coast growing region. This Pinot Noir pairs well with grilled salmon, chicken or pork and al fresco dining in the spring or summer.

2010 Hess Select Treo ($17)
This blend of Merlot, Syrah and Petite Sirah has aromas of wild cherry, plum, vanilla, wild berry and black currant jam and it enters the palate with juicy flavors of cranberry, pomegranate and black cherry. Treo has a warm mustard capsule with a deep black label and pairs well with grilled meats, such as flank steak, or a hamburger with blue cheese, grilled salmon or roasted and grilled mushrooms, onions and peppers.



Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Moscato ($7.99)
The majority of these Moscato grapes are harvested from vineyards in the Western Cape of South Africa. They display perfumed aromas and lightly sweet flavors filled with orange blossom, fresh citrus, lychee, honey, and spice. Best served well chilled.







Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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