Taste of Wine

TOP 10 TASTES: The best of the first half of 2013

Well that was fast!

The Jordan Cabernet expresses the elegance of Alexander Valley’s red wines. Photo courtesy of Jordan WineryThe acclaimed hills of Tuscany, Italy came alive with great wines from every corner the first half of 2013. Photo courtesy of Bing.com
What with San Diego’s new restaurants, resorts that were being bought and sold then re-made, wine bars that sprouted up on virtually every urban block and wine events doubling in number, what’s a wine writer to do but to lace up the track shoes and try to keep up.

The news keeps getter better for Italy, already the No. 1 importer of wine to the U.S. with more districts that had never come to America before for road shows, showing up.

Both Puglia and Calabria in the south paraded their best wines for the first time in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

San Diego hosted Cecchi and Lucente from Tuscany and Fontana Candida near Rome with its rejuvenated Frascati, all illuminating their passion for food and wine.

The timing was smart as San Diego and other cities are undergoing a revolution in Mediterranean-style restaurant farm to table food, and wine is playing a big role in that movement.

Italy has three wines in the TASTE OF WINE top 10, with two from Sonoma and Napa Valley and one from Arroyo Grande, France, and Spain.

The list is alphabetical. All are rated excellent, weighing flavor, balance and value. Prices listed are retail.


Famille Perrin Vinsobres, Chateau De Beaucastel, Rhone France. 2010. $15 A superior, soon to be classic French vintage in my favorite wine district in France, the Rhone Valley. Over five generations of the Perrin family from over 400 acres of vineyards. www.m.familleperrin.com.


Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. 2009. $60 The backbone of the Grgich collection of fine wines. A product of several estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Rich aromas of black cherry and licorice. www.grgich.com.

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Sonoma. 2009. $53

A great vintage with soft and silky patterns of taste with an elegant finish. See more on Jordan and Sonoma in my next two columns.


J Pinot Gris Sonoma. 2012. $15. A classy California style white. Stores can’t keep this one in. #1 Pinot Gris in America, sweeping past France and Italy’s version. www.Jwine.com.