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Are you a wine snob? Do you extend a pinky while holding a wine glass or wiggle your nose when you sample the aroma? Do you twirl the glass before drinking, then purse your lips after sampling? Lastly, if you judge a wine by its price, you have passed the test and are formally recognized as a wine snob.
If, however, the answer was a resounding no to any of those descriptions, welcome to the world of normal people who just enjoy a glass of wine and have not made it a religion. For the non-snobs, I have found some very interesting lighter springtime wines that you might enjoy.
Ehlers Childers Estate 2021 Sylviane Rose ($38)
This wine may seem a bit pricey for a rose, but there is a very good reason for that price. The wine is a blend of 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc and 10% merlot grapes from Sonoma County, California, an area famed for producing exceptional wine grapes. The finished wine, like better red wines, was given some oak barrel aging to further blend and soften. The color alone, which is a deep salmon pink, says that there is something special in the bottle. The aroma features strawberries, peach, pear and a feast of other fruit flavors in the background. If you are a rose fan, this is a wine that should be the pattern for all rose winemakers; it's just that good. Just as a side note, many of the Ehlers wines sell for well over $100, which attests to the exceptional quality of the wines they produce.
Ehlers Estate 2021 Sauvignon Blanc ($38)
This is another wine whose price is somewhat higher than the run of the mill sauvignon blanc wines. If this wine was not worth its price, which it is, it would languish on dealers’ shelves, which it never does. There are many other sauvignon blanc wines in the marketplace, and in order to compete in price it would have to be far beyond the ordinary, which this wine definitely is. The expected aromas are there and in an intensity that I have experienced in few other wines of the same variety. I feel that this is a wine that truly is worth its price.
Josh Cellars 2020 Buttery Chardonnay ($19)
With the price tag of this wine, Josh Cellars has stuck its neck out and is begging for the critic's axe to fall. The most sought-after property of a chardonnay is the difficult to attain creamy finish. It is the same finish that makes the French Burgundy chardonnays so expensive. I, too, will stick my neck out and say that this is one of the finest American chardonnay wines that I have sampled in a long time, regardless of price. The wine displays an obvious full-fruit aroma stressing citrus, pineapple, pear and springtime flowers. These aromas carry over to the flavor, where they mingle with tropical fruit and green apple. There also is a spicy, toasty under-flavor, just a slight hint of oak and vanilla and, of course, that often elusive creamy, buttery finish.
Cuvee Alexandre 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon ($26)
This wine puts fruit flavor over the usually austere and stiff character of the variety. The color is deep and dark, and the aroma showcases cherries, spice and vanilla. These carry over to the flavor where they mingle with a raspberry element, a very discernable flavor of chocolate and just a hint of oak. This wine has a fascinating softness about it and reflects many of the flavors and aromas that are found only in well-aged wines. Rather than being saved to be served only with the heaviest of meat dishes, this wine's expansive flavor allows it to accompany a much broader spectrum of foods.
Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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