($20) Pale gold. Vibrant, pure aromas of citrus fruit, flowers and herbs. Juicy lime and lemongrass flavors are complemented by notes of anise and honeysuckle. Gains power on the finish, which strongly repeats the anise note and offers good mineral cut. This is an outstanding value.
($35) Light yellow. Intensely perfumed aromas of pear, apple, anise and smoky minerals. Firm, finely etched citrus and orchard fruit flavors are given body by a subtle floral honey quality. The anise and smoke notes repeat on the long, sappy finish. Packs a solid punch but is far from fat. These old vine Wente clones were picked at 23.2o Brix and this wine was bottled with extremely low residual sugar.
($45) Yellow-gold. Powerful scents of poached pear, mango and brown butter, with lemongrass, lees and peach pit notes adding complexity. A wild ride from citrus to pit fruit and orange marmalade on the palate, with dusty minerals adding grip. The minerality builds on the back and extends through the impressively long, spicy finish. This comes off as drier than its siblings, with more obvious energy, spice and cut.
($45) Light yellow-gold. A complex bouquet displays pineapple, passion fruit, sweet butter and floral honey. Broad and very rich, with powerful tropical and pit fruit flavors given focus by sneaky minerality. Offers an interesting blend of opulence and energy, with excellent finishing thrust and lingering minerality. I'd serve this with a rich, creamy fish or shellfish dish, or maybe with strong cheeses. None of these chardonnays ever see any oak.
($35) Vivid red. Smoky red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by pungent herbal and floral notes. Mineral-driven red fruit flavors are refreshingly tangy, with a bite of cherry skin adding grip. Becomes deeper and chewier with air and finishes with excellent clarity and sweet persistence. Give this some decanter time.
($45) Light, bright red. Tightly wound red berry and rose scents loosen with air, picking up deeper cherry and blackcurrant qualities. Zesty strawberry and black raspberry flavors stain the palate, with a strong mineral quality contributing spine. Finishes with excellent clarity, leaving white pepper and Asian spice notes behind.
($45) Hazy red. Redcurrant, strawberry and raspberry on the nose. Light in body but potent, offering sweet red berry and bitter orange favors and an exotic note of rose pastille. The mineral-driven finish leaves zesty strawberry and floral notes in its wake. All of these pinots are light and transparent, which aren't qualities that will appeal to those who insist on weight and thickness.
($20; a blend of carignane, petit sirah, grenache and mourvedre) Bright red. Flamboyant aromas of raspberry, cherry preserves and incense. Lively but supple red berry flavors are given depth by anise and cherry pit qualities. Reminds me of an open-knit 2007 southern