Bogle 2009 Pinot Noir
In the late 1980s you couldn’t find decent California Pinot around $10 but you can now. The key is sticking with producers you know are reputable, like Bogle. This blend is 100 percent Pinot grown in the Russian River Valley, Monterey County, and Clarksburg wine regions. It offers tangy cherry flavors nicely balanced with subtle notes of plums, herbs, and spice. This easy drinking red is quite versatile at the table. Pair it with roast beef, herb-roasted chicken, mushroom pizza, or Santa Maria style tri-tip. Widely available at grocery and chain stores, you’ll find this California State Fair gold medal winner at BevMo!, currently on sale for $10.99.
Qupe 2008 Syrah Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard Sonnie’s
This elegant Syrah is impressively smooth and beautifully balanced. It tastes of wild blackberries, black cherries, and ripe plums nicely woven with notes of white pepper and minerality. Grown in their Edna Valley estate vineyard in a new section, it’s named for owner/winemaker Bob Lindquist’s mother, Sonnie. It’s 100-percent biodynamically farmed, Demeter Certified. This limited wine was a selection of the best eight barrels that vintage. Lindquist noted that it was striking to get so such depth and complexity from young vines. Although it’s quite enjoyable now, he recommends cellaring a few bottles five to eight years. Available online at qupe.com, or their Los Olivos tasting room, it’s $55 retail for this collectible wine.