What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 8

A lovely wine with a touching story.
A lovely wine with a touching story.

2019 Longevity Pinot Grigio

If there’s any bottle that resonates especially on Valentine’s Day, it’s any from Longevity Wines.

Winemaker Phil Long of the Livermore urban winery started making wine in his garage with his wife Debra. When she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2019, he personally designed the romantic heart logo on their bottles and imprinted it on the corks. He also had it tattooed on his arm, so that her spirit would always be with him.

It’s hard not to fall for a love story like that nor for wines made with such dedication.

The 2019 Pinot Grigio ($26) with its pale salmon blush hue is ideal for the holiday. The previous 2018 vintage won “Best White Wine Pairing” at the 2019 Livermore Valley Taste Terroir event and a bronze at the 2019 Orange Country Fair wine competition.

I admit that I rarely drink pinot grigio, as I find most of them just so bland and uninteresting. However, when I received a sample bottle of this one, I was pleasantly surprised. It boasts a medium body, zippy acidity, and the bright taste of raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, and lemon. It would be dreamy with prosciutto and melon, sauteed salmon, fish tacos, poke bowls or a simple roast chicken.

Best yet, from now through Feb. 16, all bottles on the Longevity web site are 25 percent off.

Cheers: Long also happens to be president of the nonprofit Association of African American Vintners. Under his leadership, its membership has grown by 500 percent. He also helped create an online store to showcase one of the largest collections of Black-owned wine brands in one convenient spot.

Maker Canned Sparkling Rosé by Bodkin Wines

Premium canned wine manufacturer, Maker, has teamed up again with Chris Christensen of Healdsburg’s Bodkin Wines for one of its newest releases.

And we’re all the luckier for it.

Maker's new sparkling rosé release from winemaker Chris Christensen.
Maker’s new sparkling rosé release from winemaker Chris Christensen.

You might recall that I rhapsodized about Maker’s first go-round with Christensen when it offered his sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, the first such wine of its kind, in its convenient 250ml cans — enough for two decent pours.

Now, Maker has done the same with Christensen’s sparkling rosé, of which I had a chance to try a sample.

This sparkling wine will command your attention the moment you pour it into a glass. That’s because its color is just dazzling — a beautiful, deep rosebud shade. This rosé is a blend of nine different grapes, most prominently Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, rosé of Zinfandel, and rosé of Petit Syrah, all sourced from family farmers on the North Coast.

It has cranberry on the nose, and vivid raspberry, strawberry and grapefruit on the palate. It’s crisp, racy and bone dry. The bubbles tend to dissipate rather quickly, so don’t let your glass sit around too long before finishing it — a problem you surely won’t have after enjoying the first sip.

A six-pack is $42.

Cheers: Maker plans to host at least one virtual tasting per month that’s open to the public, including ones that include cooking and baking recipes perfect alongside its wines. Check its web site regularly for updates.

2014 Dough Sparkling Brut

I have an admitted weakness for Willamette Valley wines, so I was only happy to try a sample of the 2014 Dough Sparkling Brut.

The winery’s name did give me pause, though, as I first feared it meant a winery specializing in butter-bomb wines. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all. In fact, the name is more pun than literal, as the winery likes to think its wine-making “rises to the occasion.”

In fact, Dough Wines is the first wine partnership with the James Beard Foundation. Each year, the foundation will receive a “dough-nation” from Dough, which will go toward restaurant recovery, promoting equality, and increasing food sustainability.

Dough Sparkling Brut for a noble cause.
Dough Sparkling Brut for a noble cause.

Made with 100 percent Chardonnay grown in the valley’s cool climate, the sparkler crafted by winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen is aged in natural oak for 80 percent of its fermentation, then in stainless steel for the remaining 20 percent.

The result is a light golden sparkling wine with refreshing pineapple, lemon and peach notes, along with just a hint of yeasty brioche. It’s perfect with a goat cheese salad, linguine Vongole or steamed Dungeness crab with lemon aioli.

Cheers: Dough wines are available in three-bottle sets: Oregon Pack ($89; Red, White & Brut ($94); Expressions of Chardonnay ($94); and Sparkling Pack ($99).

Bricoleur Vineyards

The Gott name is synonymous with delicious food and wine in these parts. After all, who hasn’t happily chowed down on a cheeseburger, ahi burger or sweet potato fries alongside an impressive glass of wine at a Gott’s Roadside restaurant in the Bay Area?

Cary Gott’s hails from that pedigree, the fourth-generation winemaker in the family. He’s now the winemaker for Bricoleur Vineyards, which actually opened in Windsor during the pandemic last summer.

Whether you feel comfortable trekking to Sonoma County at this moment or not, you can still enjoy the wines in the comfort of your own home, as I did when I was sent samples to try.

From a winery that opened during the pandemic.
From a winery that opened during the pandemic.

Dark ruby, the 2018 Alexander Valley Zinfandel ($42) is awash in black currant, prune, leather and spice with just a touch of dark chocolate and menthol. When I taste this wine, I just crave a plate of barbecue, all glazed with a sweet-tangy-fruity sauce.

The 2018 Estate Pinot Noir ($47) is plush with cherry, raspberry, vanilla, and a hint of tobacco. It has an exquisitely long finish. Maybe it’s because Lunar New Year starts today, but this wine sure makes me long to enjoy it alongside Peking duck with puffy buns lashed liberally with hoisin sauce.

The winery offers private virtual wine tastings when you purchase a gift box of wines ($180 on up). And if you live in Sonoma County, there also are wine packages paired with cook-at-home meal kits that serve 2 to 4 available for pick-up or delivery.

Cheers: Bricoleur is French for “One who starts building something with no clear path, adding bits here and there, cobbling together a whole while flying by the seat of their pants.” Sounds very much like what we’re all having to do in this now topsy-turvy world.

More: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 4

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 5

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 6

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 7

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 9

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