We got married last weekend! It was a joyous occasion with tons of family and friends and hot, hot weather here in Los Angeles. It was the closest Saturday to Summer Solstice, and almost a full moon. Of course, the day of the Solstice, we forgot–and missed a peek at the Strawberry Moon, which only comes once every 50 years. Maybe for our 50th anniversary.
The line-up was all California wines: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet, and a sparkler. It was important to us to represent this great state for our wedding–we even wanted to have tacos (very L.A.) but ended up just picking a regular caterer–filet mignon, salmon, squash lasagna (vegetarians represent!) etc.
Below is a run-down of what we served:
Dry Creek Vineyard 2014 Sonoma County Fumé Blanc. The flagship white wine from one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma is this–a sauvignon blanc modeled after the Loire style–light, elegant, and subtle.
Fumé Blanc originally got its name from Robert Mondavi, a pioneer California winemaker who travelled to Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire and decided to name his sauvignon blanc after the area to help with marketing.
He allowed anyone to use the name and hence several wineries did, including this one.
Some fumé blancs are purposefully treated with oak, although sauvignon blanc is typically done in stainless steel (all over the world). Dry Creek’s is done in stainless.
It’s tempting to assume that all fumé blancs are done in oak, especially since fumé means smoke, and oak can impart smoky flavors or aromas. But there’s no regulation for the term, and it’s done in many different styles, so all you can know when picking up a bottle is that it’s sauvignon blanc inside.
Kenwood 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay. Kenwood is another of Sonoma’s pioneer wineries, dating back to the 1970’s.
We visited last summer, and I was immediately impressed with the quality of this chardonnay, given its low pricetag (about $12 to $16). It tastes like many $30 or $40 versions from the same area.
This wine was done in oak and steel and aged on its lees (yeasts), processes which yield richness and depth while also retaining freshness.
If you’re looking to understand the California style of chardonnay while not wanting to spend a lot, this is the best bargain I’ve seen.
Sea Glass 2013 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. I really, really wanted to have a Santa Barbara pinot at our reception. Like many people my age, a catalyst for my wine hobby was the movie “Sideways,” a delightful little tale of two bachelors spending a week drinking their way through the Santa Barbara wine appelation.
The main character, Miles, is obssessed with pinot, and often credited with a spike in American pinot sales. Santa Barbara has a notable style: fruit-forward, juicy and sunny. Much different than the earthy styles of Sonoma, Oregon or France.
Santa Barbara being the first wine vacation I went on, I have a soft spot in my heart for pinot from this region. I wasn’t sure I could find it for under $30, but imagine my excitement when I found this bottle at BevMo for $12.
It’s not nearly as concentrated as the better pinots from that area, but it has major typicity (tastes just like it comes from Santa Barbara). If you’re looking to try that style without breaking the bank, I highly recommend Sea Glass.
Slow Press Paso Robles 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. This ended up being Randy’s choice, as it wasn’t really in my style. It was a bit too dark, purply and meaty for me. Our wine pourer at BevMo recommended it to us, and I guess it worked out, because people drank it! This wine is aged in oak. A drought year meant that grape juice in Paso was concentrated, and this is concentrated.
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV. “NV” means nonvintage–most sparkling wine is not sold per harvest but blended together. This was our champagne toast wine. The label does not note what grapes are involved, but it was light and easy, much like a blanc de blancs (a sparkler made with only white wine grapes). I only had two sips then ran around to talk to guests, so I can’t tell you much about it.
And now we are happy to be married, preparing for our honeymoon, and ready for the next adventure.