12 Wines to Sip This Summer in the Bay Area

Unclog the vibrations

(Photo: Courtesy of Stompy Wines)

Ffrom sparkling summer grinders (whether it’s refreshing, easy-drinking wines or interesting, funky natural wines) to thoughtful, sommelier-curated wine clubs for the discerning wine drinker, I’ve got 12 bottles for suit a range of palates, meals or occasions, including non-alcoholic wines.

The name may sound a bit silly but StompyThe hip, breezy website and cheeky humor of Feel Fresh in the latest wine club hosted by a sommelier from Master of Wine Stephen Wong.

It selects small production wines, also carefully checked based on environmental practices, including natural wines, many biodynamic, all sustainable. Their “Taste Technology Algorithm” measures over 900 custom flavor variables after completing the easy quiz, recommending bottles accordingly, which you also have a few chances to change. My initial 6 bottle box was a smart range, although being a professional who tries thousands of wines a year and in the best restaurants around the world, some of my initial selections I knew well/have had before , so I had to change them to other custom algorithm recommend (simple as a click of a button).

I can confirm that some of my long-time favorites are in the lineup, including wines from California’s Fabulous Wines slim hope and Gut Oggau Austrian wines.

vine drop
The best part of the new vine drop is that it is a natural wine prepared by a sommelier, with many rarities. It’s simple: you receive a daily SMS with a wine offer/description, reply with the # sign and the number of bottles you want and the order is placed for direct shipment. I tried a fruity, spicy 2020 Pinke Pinke Weingut Scholossmühlenhof rosé from Germany (blend of 50% Müller-Thurgau, 35% Sankt Laurent, 15% Gelber Muskateller) and a peppery-cherry-floral 2019 Deu Pinote Bojo Do Luar from Portugal with light tannins. Every recommendation was smart, interesting, and the ordering process is a breeze.

// https://vinedrop.co

(Photo: Courtesy of Vine Drop)

Blend Cider-Gamay de France: 2020 Domaine des Grottes Scideration ($25.99 via SF Tofino Wines)
Hailing from France’s Beaujolais wine region, known for its wines that pair well with everyday foods, from pizza to burgers. But it is an atypical Beaujolais: Scideration Domaine des Grottes 2020 is a Gamay Pet-Nat certified organic/biodynamic wine blended with fresh apple juice. Tasty, fresh, tangy and moving, it sings with food.

Pet-Nat of Anjou in France: Agnès and René Mosse Moussamoussettes Sparkling Rosé ($25.99)
A fabulous Pet-Nat that you can have delivered via drizzle when available, Agnès & René Mosse Sparkling Rosé Moussemoussettes is fermented in stainless steel, tangy with raspberry, lemon, even candied violet, and a hint of hazelnut on the finish. It’s the kind of natural sparkling rosé I crave: subtly funky enough to be interesting, but with an elegant restraint.

Russian River Sparkling: Steorra Copper Rod ($25)
Copper Cane Steorra Sparkling Russian River is a classic Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut style sparkling wine from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.

(Photo: Courtesy of Domaine des Grottes)

Provence Rosé: Château de Berne Rosés ($15.99 to $23.99)
A great everyday drinking line from everyone’s iconic rosé wine region, Provence, Bern Castle is also a Hotel Relais & Chateaux. Their rosés: Bern Castle Romance 2021 ($15.99) and Inspiration 2021 ($21.99) are affordable quality, but my favorite is the slightly higher price, although still affordable, Ultimate Provence UP 2021 ($23.99), with its sweet raspberry balanced by citrus acidity with a striking bottle design.

Sicilian White: Cantine Ermes Quattro Quarti Grillo ($17)
Canteen Ermes Grillo Quattro Quarti is an affordable everyday Sicilian white, steely and mineral as it is sweet with orange blossom, stone fruit, almond and melon. Ideal accompaniment to grilled fish and shellfish.

Paso Robles Rosé: Alta Colina Grenache Rosé ($35)
If they also win over red wine lovers with their 2019 Old 900 Estate Syrah ($64), Rhône-style wine producer Alta Colina’s Grenache Rosé 2021 is a bright summer wine from a 30-acre organic family vineyard run by Bob Tillman and his daughter Maggie. The wine-pairing possibilities of the dry, delicate, wild strawberry-laden rosé are versatile, whether it’s seafood, cheese or roast chicken.

Ultimate Provence UP (Photo: Courtesy of Château de Berne)

Napa NA Chenin Blanc: Sovi Sparkling White ($28 per pack of 4)
i was delirious last year about a sommelier, based in Napa Valley Sovi’s alcohol-free (NA) Rosé as one of the best “non-alcoholic” NA sparkling wines I have ever tasted. They did it again with their just launched NA Sparkling White, a brut-style Chenin Blanc exuding floral citrus and green apple, using only certified sustainable grapes. It is a happy partner on picnics and pairs with a wide range of foods.

NA exceptional sparkling wine: Prima Pavé ($24)
Prima Cobblestone is another standout in the growing category of 0.0% alcohol-free (NA) wines. The line is gaining momentum in notable restaurants as a solid zero-proof bubbly alternative. Hospitality entrepreneur and certified wine specialist Dejou Marano teamed up with a northern Italian winemaker after her first pregnancy, finding no solid NA alternative to fill the gap in the palate. Together they developed a Rosé Brut (blend of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer), Blanc de Blancs (Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Gewürz) and a slightly sweet Rosé Dolce (same grapes as the Rosé Brut ). I prefer the first two with their tangy fruitiness and floral maturity respectively. They also teamed up with the great NA All The Bitter (more on the line) create signature cocktails.

Sovi Sparkling Chenin Blanc (Photo: Courtesy of Sovi)

LGBTQIA+ Owned Napa Wines: Gentleman Farmer ($35 – $105)
Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé 2020 ($35) is a Pinot Noir rosé imparting depth to their reds, from winemaker Joe Wolosz and husband/partner Jeff Durham, with their sustainably farmed vineyards, primarily in the Oak Knoll region of Napa Valley. Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Red Wine 2019 ($77) pays homage to a classic Bordeaux blend, this year with 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s tart with cherry, earthy with cassis and herbs. Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($105) is their signature dark fruit, exuding a complexity of dark plum, blackberry, fig, clove and nutmeg, ready to age for many years.

Napa Cab: Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($77)
From PlumpJack family member Jeff Owens, award-winning winemaker Domaine OdetteAdaptation highlights the different terroirs of Napa Valley. Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Petite Sirah) is lush with notes of crème de cassis, blossom blackberries, Luxardo cherries and silky tannins.

Shirley M. Pinder