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WINE BANTER by John Haggard - May 2015


WINE BANTER by John Haggard - May 2015
May Wine Picks 

by John Haggard

CP Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Mills Vineyard, Alexander Valley (ret $26)
Crenshaw melon, tropical fruit flavors of mango and pineapple, hints of apricot, lemongrass and not overly herbaceous. Well-balanced acidity makes this a perfect wine to pair with food. Consider pairing with seared scallops, white fish such as ling cod or whole roasted chicken. Enjoy now through 2016.

CP Merlot 2012, Ribli Vineyard, Sonoma County ($34)
The CP Merlot has an abundance of spiced oak and cinnamon with tart pomegranate and red cherry finishing in wild fennel. I tasted this wine over a period of three hours and found the decanting softens much of the spice. This wine may be best enjoyed in two to three years as it is very youthful. If opening now, decant for approximately 1 ½ hours or age for up 2-3 years. Pair with barbeque pork ribs.

CP Wines Malbec 2013, Wallace Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley (ret $32)
I love this multi-layered wine. The tannins have a light dusty quality of mocha. The spice reminds me of anise. The finish is more like dry fig, although there is a slight hint of prune and black tea. What is not to love about this wine. This would make a great pairing with stuffed mushrooms, seared rare flat iron steak or grilled vegetables. No need for decanting. Enjoy now through 2017.

Anaba Chardonnay 2012, Sonoma Coast (ret $25)
The Anaba Chardonnay has an abundance of toasty caramel crème brulee flavors with hints of vanilla and butterscotch on the finish. This chardonnay is best served with a fresh chevre such as Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze, perhaps as part of sald with pears and butterleaf lettuce and toasted walnuts with a meyer lemon citrus vinaigrette. Enjoy now.

Anaba Pinot Noir 2012, Sonoma Coast (ret $29)
On the front of the palate, the Anaba Pinot Noir shows herbaceous red fruit and subtle cinnamon spice and finishes with hints of smoke and cola. Bright acidity suggests a great pairing for seared salmon. Enjoy now through 2017. No decanting necessary.

Atascadero Creek 2012 Pinot Gris (ret $19)
This pinot gris provides lime, mango eucalyptus and peony with a finish of honeysuckle. This wine would make a superb pairing for sautéed prawns served over leafy micro baby greens or, and I think even better, a Romaine Caesar salad. It’s always best to sautee or grill prawns inside of their shell as it brings about a much richer flavor.  Enjoy now through 2016

Gann Family Cellars Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2005, Russian River Valley (ret $12, 375ml)
Dark amber in color, with a bright acid lemon zest and pineapple palate. There’s also delicious ripe apricot, peppermint crème brulee finishing in baked apple. These half bottles are 375ml and are going to make a stunning pairing with a stone fruit tartin such as peach or apricot or a granny smith apple pie. Enjoy now through 2017.


Upcoming Events:

Hernando’s Hideaway Speakeasy & Casino
If you take the tour at Korbel (which is well worth it for the history), they will tell you that Korbel survived Prohibition by supplying wine for church services. It’s a common story told by many California wineries. It is, most likely, that a good amount of California wines ended up alongside the hard liquor served up at speakeasys…. speaking of speakeasys…  the Duncans Mills Merchants Association is throwing a “Speakeasy and Casino night”, Saturday June 13th, 6-10 pm at the Sportsmen’s Club in Duncans Mills. Tickets are $50 including dinner. There will be blackjack, roulette, craps, music, dancing, great food and local wines. Tickets are available from any merchant in Duncans Mills, or call 707-865-1318. More information at

Gatsby’s Party
Another upcoming Roaring 20’s event – enjoy “Gatsby’s Party” dinner theater at CazSonoma Inn. Performances are June 12. 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21. $75 ticket includes dinner, wine, theater, music and parking. For tickets and more information, call 707-632-5255 or email or you can also pick up your tickets at Sophie’s Cellars.


John Haggard is owner of Sophie’s Cellars, Sonoma Wine Tasting in Duncans Mills, California. Sophie’s Cellars is open Thu, Sat, Sun and Mon: 11am – 5pm, Fri:  11am-7pm (Local’s Night, Friday, 4-7pm, and you don’t have to be a local to join us).