From the Left Side of the Balcony: The Survey Says
The verdict is in on Northern California's best politically correct wines.
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The judges based their decisions on the quality of each wine and did not rank the wines in competition with each other. So some categories had more than one silver and/or bronze winner. Wineries provided the retail prices; discount liquor stores may offer better bargains. Unfamiliar with wine terminology? Wine Enthusiast magazine offers an online glossary: www.Winemag.com/glossary.
Here's a list of all the winners:
Schramsberg, 2013 Blanc de Blancs, $30
Elegant and charming. Well-balanced. Fine texture with toasty, brioche aromas. Since 2009 Schramsberg has been certified by Napa Green Winery, a program that promotes use of sustainable agriculture techniques.
Domaine Chandon, Chandon Rose, $24
Austere, dry, excellent taste. Domaine Chandon is Napa Green.
Anthony's Hill, NV Riesling, California, $11 per 1.5 liter
Nice nose and vibrant aroma. Cucumber flavors. Compares well with German-produced Rieslings. The Fetzer winery producing Anthony's Hill uses all solar electricity and recycles 99 percent of its waste.
Balletto, 2014 Pinot Gris, $18
Very light, long and savory finish. Austere with clean, crisp aromas. Finish refers to the taste of the wine on the palate after swallowing. The longer the finish, the better the quality. Balletto's fieldworkers are members of the UFW.
Scheid, 2014 District 7 Sauvignon Blanc, $16
Resembles a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy and hints of pepper and papaya. Classic aromatics. This wine has elbows—it'll push you around. Scheid fieldworkers belong to the UFW. The winery is certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
CHARDONNAY — $11-$25
Paul Dolan Vineyards, 2014 Chardonnay, $15
Very pleasant wine with clean, delicate, and well-balanced taste. Oaky with low acidity. Nice nose with hints of celery. Paul Dolan makes wine with grapes from California Certified Organic Farmers.
Balletto, 2015 Chardonnay, $20
Fragrant and crisp with good acidity. Good finish.
Anthony's Hill, NV Chardonnay, California, $11 per 1.5 liter
Good acidity, heavy layers of fruit with a short finish. Great wine for a modest price.
Scheid, 2014 James Bryant Hill Chardonnay, $16
Easy to drink, grassy, light with hints of wood spice.
St. Supery, 2014 Napa Valley Oak Free Chardonnay, $25
Intense flavors tasting of papaya and mango. Interesting texture. High alcohol.
Scheid, 2014 Ranch 32 Chardonnay, $19
Good nose. Like a good white Burgundy. Nice acidity. Flavors of green apples.
CHARDONNAY — $26-$50
Trefethen, 2014 Chardonnay, $36
Silky smooth taste with nice balance of flavors. Low acidity. Great nose with white flower aroma. Trefethen uses only solar power, reuses wastewater, and uses alternative fuels for farm vehicles.
Grgich, 2013, Chardonnay, $43
Good nose, nice pale color, and oaky flavor. Smells and tastes like a Chardonnay should. Grgich grapes are organic, and the winery generates most of its electricity with solar power.