A note on pricing: Emerging areas would be further into the mainstream if they priced their wines to compete not just locally, but on the national stage. And while this region turns out some kicking wine, the prices are 30%-ish higher than similar quality products from, say, Washington state. If they can bank on the novelty premium tourists are willing to pay, more power to them. But some of the wines from this region deserve to compete on the international stage - and it's a shame that the prices will hold them back from that.
2010 Peninsula Cellars Dry Riesling $18
Powerful fruit on the nose. An unusual package of flavors to be sure, but appealing and balanced. Lean floral notes with subtle acids and minerality framing a light-medium body.Much more serious and complex wine than expected. Think French garagiste producer without the price tag.
2010 Bowers Harbor Vineyards Riesling Block 11 $20
Wow. A real honest Riesling with everything you could want: honest fruit, balance, and a crisp, dry finish that trumps most west coast juice. Eminently quaffable and with enough depth to be an asset at the dinner table. But watch out for the rising sugars as its chill wears off - you'll want to keep this one on ice.
2009 2 Lads Cabernet Franc/Merlot $25
An improvement over last year's Cab Franc. Gorgeous in the glass - shimmering elegance of garnet. Light bodied with vibrant crushed herbs and electric acidity. Finished with a punch of gland-juicing zing. Not quite my style - and pricey at $25 - but this is a perfect red for those enjoying the emerging "sweet red" category.
2010 Chateau Chantal Pinot Gris Reserve $20
Though appealing on the attack, this one is somewhat short lived and regrettably marred by an herbal, soapy aroma and an off nutty finish.
2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir $27
Could be that this one is already over the hill and long gone due to age. Thin-looking with a slight brown edge on a translucent core - like an aged Barbaresco. Those nose is shy and offers more celery than fruit. Consistent with leading indicators, the palate is lean to the point of absence. Nothing redeeming here.