It’s that time of year when we return to our familiar and familial routines: getting the kids off to school, grabbing sweaters for Friday night football games, and trying to figure out how to actually spend time with one another in the midst of renewed hectic schedules. In that same spirit of family togetherness, it seemed the perfect time to showcase the Wagner family, who for three generations has brought us some gorgeous wines from California. The family started winemaking in Napa in 1915 but saw potential beyond there and testament to how great California winemaking can be outside the Napa/Sonoma area.
Joe Wagner, owner/winemaker of Copper Cane Wine & Provisions, collaborates with winemaker/viticulturist James Ontiveros of Santa Barbara’s Alta Maria Vineyards for one of our Inspired Wine Club selections this month. The other selection comes from Joe’s son and grandson, whose vineyard along the cool coastline of Monterey County yields a mighty fine chardonnay.
The Wagners and their wines inspired us, and we believe you will find them equally satisfying. Here’s to winding up for another great September with some wines to help you wind down.
2014 Alta Maria Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, California
A straightforward California pinot, this food-friendly wine pairs well with many meals like an herb-crusted pork tenderloin edged with garlicky mashed potatoes. The nose presents ripe strawberries and blackberry preserves with suggestions of dark chocolate, coffee and charry oak. A fruit-forward delight, the wine follows up with red and black berry flavors on the palate combined with toasty oak and spice. The result is a wine that is both complex and immediately enjoyable with layers of lush ripe fruit, hints of oak and a lasting finish. Santa Barbara is particularly suited for making fantastic pinot noir, and this is a lovely example.
2014 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Monterey County, California
September’s cooler days are just the right time to enjoy this golden, sun-kissed vintage that is quite quaffable as a chilled oaky, buttery, tropical chardonnay. The wine opens up with the fresh, tropical scents of pineapple, mango and citrus blossom, tempered by smooth vanilla notes. White peach comes through on the palate, which has a vibrant acidity balanced by the natural character of fully ripe fruit. Medium to full-bodied, this wine has a long finish, yet not too heavy. From the perspective of an outside terrace in the setting summer sun, it’s a gorgeous, balanced wine, and a perfect partner for a Sunday roast chicken with the season’s first acorn squash.