From the "California Stars" thematic, 17 wines were featured and 4 are included among my top wine picks. Single-varietal wines include a Sonoma Mountain single vineyard Chardonnay and the Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon. Meanwhile, the dry Zinfandel consists of 85% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignan, and 3% Syrah, and the Merlot usually contains small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to round out the blend.
Among red wines from the rest of the release, there is a pleasant Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Lebanon, while the mature Minervois is a blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 38% Grenache Noir, and 12% Carignan. From Spain, the Cara Nord is a blend of 42% Grenache, 38% Syrah and the little-known (20%) Garrut. From Rhône, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 43% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 22% Mourvèdre and the rest other varietals, while the Amarone is a blend of 70% Corvina/Corvinone and 30% Rondinella.
In white wines, the Soave is a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano, while the Côtes du Rhône is primarily Viognier (65%), but also contains 15% Roussanne, 8% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, 2% Bourboulenc, 2% Grenache Blanc. If you enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, there are very good options to try side-by-side from South Africa, Loire, and a barrel-fermented and oak-aged version from New Zealand. Furthermore, the Bordeaux white is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon.
There are two lovely Champagnes in this release, with the Gimonnet made with 100% Chardonnay, while the Bollinger is 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier.
Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!
- CHATEAU KSARA CLOS ST. ALPHONSE SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Bekaa Valley, Lebanon (#465955) (XD) - $13.95
- CHATEAU DE SÉRAME MINERVOIS 2010 - AC, South of France (#480889) (XD) - $16.95
- ANIELLO 006 MERLOT 2014 - Patagonia, Argentina (#480731) (XD) - $17.95 reviewed here
- CARA NORD RED 2014 - DO Conca De Barberà, Spain (#418186) (XD) - $18.95
- STELLENRUST PEPPERGRINDER’S SHIRAZ 2012 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#455899) (XD) - $19.95
- SEGHESIO SONOMA ZINFANDEL 2015 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#942151) (XD) - $29.95
- STAGS’ LEAP WINERY MERLOT 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#655399) (D) - $39.95
- CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#735407) (XD) - $52.95
- SANTA SOFIA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2009 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#713669) (D) - $54.95 FSE
- TWO HANDS SAMANTHA’S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2014 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#067355) (D) - $73.95 FSE
- HEITZ CELLAR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#642124) (XD) - $94.95
- RUSTENBERG STELLENBOSCH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#456020) (XD) - $14.95
- PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI SEMI-SWEET YELLOW MUSCAT 2015 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#046508) (M) - $16.95
- PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#946848) (XD) - $18.95
- DASHWOOD CHARDONNAY 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#312942) (XD) - $19.95
- E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#290296) (XD) - $19.95
- 2027 WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $22.95 reviewed here
- LE G DE CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#488585) (XD) - $26.95 FSE
- JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $27.95 reviewed here
- SPY VALLEY ENVOY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Johnson Vineyard, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#429308) (XD) - $29.95 reviewed here
- KISTLER MCCREA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, USA (#353706) (XD) - $129.95
- PIERRE GIMONNET CUVÉE FLEURON 1ER CRU BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2009 - AC, France (#340133) (XD) - $72.95
- BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#384529) (XD) - $78.95
- CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95