From the Left Side of the Balcony: The Survey Says

The verdict is in on Northern California's best politically correct wines.


Published:

(page 3 of 3)

Pat Mazzera

GEWÜRZTRAMINER

BRONZE
Fetzer, 2014 Shaly Loam Gewürztraminer, $9
Late-harvest Gewürztraminer, nutty flavors with a long finish. Fetzer reuses 100 percent of wastewater, composts all grape waste, and solar power generates all electricity at its Hopland winery.

PINOT NOIR

SILVER 
Balletto, 2013 RRV Pinot Noir, $29
Fresh, clean with a good palate. Big nose with charming, fruit-forward taste.

BRONZE
Scheid, 2014 District 7 Pinot Noir, $17
Modest nose and big mouth. Lots of fruits but not too woody. Leathery mouth. A good Pinot Noir has flavors of leather from the proper aging of tannins in the barrels.

MERLOT — $9-$25

SILVER 
Bonterra 2013 Merlot, Mendocino County, $16
Modest nose. Savory fruit flavors, well-balanced. Great potential if cellared for 10 years. It really tastes like a fine wine. In my opinion, an excellent wine for the price. Bonterra is the largest U.S. producer of wine made with organic grapes.

BRONZE
Anthony's Hill, NV Merlot, California, 1.5 liter, $11
A simple, austere wine. Intensely varietal with fruity flavor. Tastes like a Merlot should. In my opinion, a real bargain at this price.

MERLOT — $26-$50

BRONZE
Trefethen, 2012 Merlot, $40
Austere, fruity nose. Nice flavors and good tannins. Modest in the mouth.

BRONZE
St. Supery, 2012 Rutherford Estate Merlot, $50
Intense with a big, rich quality. Nice fruit and appropriate tannins.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

BRONZE
Bonterra 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, $16
Well-balanced with light fruit flavors. Gritty with hints of black currant.

BRONZE
Fetzer, 2014 Valley Oaks Cabernet, $9
Pleasant and fresh taste. I think it's an excellent wine for the price.

BRONZE
Paul Dolan Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, $20
Fresh with a good cabernet identity. Clean, young wine. Very silky.

BRONZE
Scheid, 2014 Ranch 32 Cabernet Sauvignon, $20
Big cabernet identity; lots of young fruit. Not well-balanced. A well-balanced wine produces harmony between the fruit, tannins and acidity.)

ZINFANDEL

SILVER 
Paul Dolan Vineyards 2014 Zinfandel, $15
Potpourri nose and big mouth. Tangy acidity with modest tannins. Powerful and out there! Excellent wine at an affordable price.

PETIT VERDOT

BRONZE
St. Supery, 2012 Petit Verdot, $50
Intense, full-fruit flavors. Pleasing balance with soft finish. One judge said, "I'd buy that wine."

Editor's Note: This story appears in the June edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.

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