New, hot wine brands, Part II


Molly Drew of Drew Wines ·

In my last column, I talked about five New Hot Wine Brands, as voted on each year by the editorial staff of Wine Business Monthly, a leading wine industry magazine. These particular wines are showcased in January at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento. The wineries are chosen from across the nation for “doing something special, innovative, curious, adventurous and, of course, delicious.” The wines are delicious and worth going out of your way to obtain.

Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden, Applegate Valley, Oregon, produces the 2012 Spiral 36, a blend of 50 percent Viognier, 305 Marsanne and 20 percent Roussanne. The tropical and citrus fruit flavors persist on the palate and this wine is great for sipping alone or with full-flavored dishes and strong cheeses. 13.5 percent alcohol. $28 for the bottle. Visit

Matthiasson’s 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, is a small-production wine crafted lovingly by Steve Matthiasson. Only 1.200 cases were produced. It is juicy with notes of Bartlett pear, green apple, white peach and Crenshaw melon, with a touch of lemon. Nice and bright with minerality and acidity that are beautifully balanced. 13.5 percent alcohol. $25 by the bottle. Visit

Drew Family Cellars produced its 2011 Syrah from grapes grown in the Valenti Vineyard on top of Greenwood Ridge in the Mendocino Ridge AVA, which is a challenging place to grow wine grapes. Daily maritime winds and cooler temperatures give notable results, as this wine also was declared a Top 100 Wine of the Year 2013 by Wines & Spirits Magazine. There are flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, white pepper and dark chocolate in this wine, with a pleasant minerality. Firm and velvety tannins lead the way to a long finish. Yummy. 12.8 percent alcohol. $40 for the bottle. Visit

Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards showcased its 2012 Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc. It’s hard not to love Lodi wines, particularly the jammy Zinfandel grown there, and this Lodi Sauvignon Blanc is absolutely delicious and affordable. I liked the bright aroma of lemon that makes it refreshing, and the melon hints add to that impression. Crisp and clean citrus notes and a tropical touch, too, make this mouth-watering and with a nice acid bite. 13.2 percent alcohol. $15 for the bottle. Visit

Riverbench Vineyard and Winery, Santa Maria, produced a 2011 Estate Pinot Noir that is a great representative of Santa Barbara County’s Pinot Noir. 2011 presented cool temperatures throughout the fall in Santa Barbara County, and the low yields meant complex grape flavors. This is a full-bodied Pinot Noir that’s deep purple, with juicy flavors of strawberry, raspberry and a touch of smoke and clove. 13.7 percent alcohol. $28 for the bottle. Visit

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Barbara Keck
Barbara started writing for newspapers when she was 14 and continues to write, most recently the “Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” book published by Range of Light Media, parent company of The Tahoe Weekly. Barbara wrote the wine column for the Weekly for many years, and contributes occasional tidbits on tourism and entertainment topics. A long marketing consulting career that included extensive international travel led her to conclude that Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Almost 20 years of enjoying the seasons on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe has confirmed her belief.