“This wine tasted like honey in a glass – it was perfectly round with the most delicate balance of sweetness.”
Every once in a while you find a really special bottle of wine – one that is worth biting the bullet for and paying $20 for shipping for because you won’t find this exact bottle ever again. For me this year that special bottle is the one and only Martha Stoumen’s 2018 Honeymoon. This French Colombard and Chardonnay (?!?!?) blend is straight honey in a glass. Colombard is often looked over and regarded as a “lesser” grape, used in small percentages for blending or fluffing up a wine. On the other hand, the notorious Chardonnay is often found on its own either as White Burgundy or varietelly showcased as the favorite child in Napa Valley (ie “Napa Valley Chardonnay”). However, Honeymoon presents a beautiful side of both grapes that you don’t often see and has a perfectly round mouthfeel with the most delicate balance of sweetness. Upon reading the tasting notes about this wine, I was hesitant to purchase because the 2 grams/liter of residual sugar (due to some botrytized Colombard) sounded like quite a lot for me as a person who doesn’t normally prefer “sweet wines.” However, I tried this wine at the 2019 Wine Call (natural wine event) in San Francisco and I immediately fell into the honeymoon stage and had to buy a bottle of my own before this wine was gone. The sweetness was not overwhelming and was in fact balanced by a full, favorable acid that meshed with the residual sugar to craft a truly beautiful, golden wine.
***Pro tip – Martha Stoumen is a producer who often rotates the wines she is producing depending on the grapes of that vintage, so if you truly love a wine of hers you should buy it when it’s available because it may literally never exist again. Martha (fellow Davis alum) is amazing and definitely worth checking out! Instagram: @marthastoumen
This wine is a Rhône-style blend from Santa Barbara County. The 2017 vintage saw a wine with 78% Syrah and 22% Grenache (two quintessential Rhône grapes). This wine was green and floral on the nose with tons of red fruit (strawberry, cherry) on the mouth, with smooth and velvety tannins as well. This wine was light but full-bodied – and developed even more after decanting for about 30 minutes to an even more velvety and round mouth feel. Regardless of decanting, this wine carried through to a smooth finish and has bright acidity that balances the fruitiness. For its price, this wine is almost everything you should be looking for in a Rhône varietal blend, and seems to be the perfect harmony of these two icons of the valley. I’ve had Syrah blends from Santa Barbara for $70+, and this wine is comparable with those and is worth every penny. For pairing – A perfect thanksgiving dinner wine and would melt the turkey in your mouth. This wine also goes well with poultry and sautéed veggies.
A rosé in October? When the weather’s 80°F all week, anything is possible. This rosé from Northeastern Italy is full bodied with huge fruity (peach, strawberry, watermelon) and floral notes. You don’t really find a glass like this at many places that have rosé on the menu. This is almost the opposite of a Provençal-style bottle – and I’m in full support of the change. For this price, this bottle is an ultimate steal from Trader Joe’s and I found it worth every penny. Get it before they swap out their inventory for the season! The occasion: Day or night. Summer, or whenever the weather is sunny and warm. Drink this wine solo or paired with barbecue. The sweetness of BBQ sauce will heighten the fruity aromas in the wine and create a delectable culinary experience! This wine has no vintage.