Liquid Gold In A Glass: Rare but essential, here are the California white wines the elite are pouring this Summer. (And the Frenchman who made them all!)
By Michelle Reeves
There are seven incredible white wines to own and have readily chilled for every summer lunch and sunset dinner by the beach. If remembering each of them is difficult, just remember one name, Philippe Melka. The Frenchman who is today the most sought after winemaker in Napa and the man responsible for so many cult wines.
Yes, he’s the man behind the infamously hard-to-find and record auction breaking wines from Bryant Family, Dalle Valle, Dana, Gandona, Hundred Acre. Exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon to own but for something lighter this summer, he’s responsible for some of the most luxurious white wines.
All of these wines have limited production and most are allocation only. This means some have wait lists up to 2 years long. Except we know a secret and can help you skip the list, I Know The Winemaker (www.iknowthewinemaker.com firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Melka 2012, La Mekerra Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley $125
100 cases produced
Striking nose so aromatically overwhelming that it combines notes of minerality and carietal character. Peach, lychee, mango and gardenia are woven into a wine with perfect structure and balance. An utterly perfect white with a brilliant long lasting finish.
- Lail Vineyards 2011, Georgia Sauvignon Blanc $120
248 cases produced
Summer floral tones, including wild flowers, orange blossoms, and undertones of vanilla. Upon closer inspection the initial rush of aromas gives way to an evolution of toasted hazelnuts originating from the careful selection of French oak that has integrated itself well into the wine throughout the long aging process
- Moone-Tsai 2011, Chardonnay, Napa Valley $60
695 cases produced
Enticing nose of citrus and lightly toasted brioche. The mouth is layered with subtle notes of apricot, tangerine, butterscotch and subtle nutmeg of high quality French oak extending long into the finish. Delicate oak-framing and well-balanced acidity give the wine structure, elegance, brightness and versatility.
- Entre Nous 2012, Kristine Ashe Sauvignon Blanc, Oakville $60
Exuberant lychee, white flowers and vanilla. Pineapple custard notes and cool minerality create a rounded mid-palate in perfect balance. Layers of sustained aromatic intensity balanced with delicate texture and medium body with every so supple and elegant touches of oak.
- Gemstone 2009, Facets Estate Chardonnay, Napa Valley
50 cases produced
Extremely limited, a rich and intense white, with hints of honeysuckle. Texturally, it also possesses the racy minerality and bright acidity often associated with the distinguished wines from Meursault.
- 2012 Parallel Chardonnay, Russian River $52
Creamy texture with refined floral and mineral notes. Ripe and flavorful stone fruits: apricot, peach are intermixed with tones of crème brulee and almond.
- Skipstone 2012 Viogner, Alexander Valley $45
- 274 cases produced
Delicate straw color reminiscent of California’s golden hills. Aromatic waves of citrus and stone fruits like peach and ripe apricot blend together for a seductive nose. On the palate, lemon peel and lime show through creating structured acidity and balance.
Which of these white wines are you favorite?