2014 Butter Chardonnay California $20
Straw gold in the glass with a pretty nose that sits (in stark contrast) atop a palate that is not for the meek. Large, plump, and decidedly lopsided to feature its rotund profile, the composition of this wine is more a function of echoing malolactic fermentation than the Chardonnay grape. While certainly not for everyone, this exaggerated wine will find plenty of fans who deliberately seek out its overt characteristics, my wife inclusive.
2013 Truchard Pinot Noir Carmeros $25
The measure of a Pinot Noir is how well it straddles the domains of fruit and terroir. Too much of one or the other, and it is either to lean or two bloated. The Truchard (the third consecutive vintage I've tasted with similar impressions) does in fact walk that fine line. Beautiful garnet in the light and an inviting nose that speaks of mystery and intrigue, one hardly needs further encouragement to dive in head first. People not fruit awaits in high fidelity, framed by complex acids and arrange of the spice rack flavors too broad to enumerate. Delicious and tough to put down, if slightly on the hot side.
2012 Wente Cabernet Livermore Balley Southern Hills $15
The textbook straightforward California cabernet. True fruit, medium-sized oak framing, and some decent structure. The kind of wine that, when it cost $10, was a terrific bargain. But even at $15, it is an easy one to enjoy.