Despite the heat, I took the battered old aluminum beast (Specialized S-Works Aluminum with mixed Campi Record and Chorus groupo!) down West Dry Creek Road and Westside Road in Sonoma County. Discovered a very fine new winery, Da Vero. The owners are Italophiles who originally focused on establishing an organic farm. We sampled the estate olive oil which was so deliciously pungeant that it made me cough! Amazing stuff. They specialize in Italian varietals here. The Malvasia Blanco was a discovery, with an almost saline character to the fresh stone fruit flavors. Not sweet or cloying at all...great acidity. They also have a Carrignane that ranks up there with other versions I have tried. The highlight was a blend made in hommage to Umbria's Paolo Bea, 60% Sangiovese and 40% SAGRANTINO! fantastic rich dark fruit flavors but there is a noticeable Italian sensibility to the palate here in the earthy, bitter notes to the wine that I loved quite a bit! Very impressive. To be honest, I found it less jammy than some of the Umbrian versions I have tried and preferred it to one bottle which was more than twice the price!
With dinner Sunday night: Pinot Noire from the eastern Loire Valley.
2006 Domaine Pelle Menetou-Salon
This wine was in a very nice place. Despite a dried out cork, the balance was there. Plenty of Pinosity on the nose, and the palate was all about delicious earthyness, great fresh acidity, pinot fruit not overwhelmingly sweet. A soft and pleasant wine for a warm evening in inland California. Another nice find from the Vintages Berkeley Wine Shop. If you ever are in Berkeley, check this shop out. The owner finds amazing deals on unique wines (everything below $25!).
With my landlady, Broc Cellars Santa Barbara County Grenache 2011. Damn! I really enjoy his wines. Fresh strawberry fruit, with white pepper. 12.5% abv. "Natural wine" funkyness that adds, to me, some complexity and pleasure. This is a re-buy. At less than $25, not even a question!