2007 Cleavage Creek Cellars Reserve Chardonnay Tracy Hills, 14.5% alc, $18 150 cases made. smooth floral oak, tropical citrus and melon. Used a little to help cook down onions for a savory onion and two cheese mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano) pizza, then paired it with the pizza. A lovely pair.

2005 Parducci Coro Mendocino, 14.5% $35 294 cases made. 55% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah, 15% Petite Sirah, 10% Grenache. Boy, do the Zin and Grenache show nicely! Supported by the Syrah and Petite, this is a rich, lush, red, juicy blackberry, raspberry and strawberry licorice bomb. Love it in concept, love it in execution. I’ll be writing more about Coro Mendocino soon when I write a feature piece on Parducci. Served it with simple lamb chops, and oven roasted herb potatoes.

2007 Pedroncelli Zinfandel Bushnell Vineyard Dry Creek Valley, 14.9% alc, $18 1,000 cases made. With a bottle and label this attractive, it’s gotta be good, right? Right! Brambly raspberry, blackberry, cranberry, pepper spice, fruit forward, oak tannin. I say it is a fruit bomb, I say it with love. Made a quick fettucini with thinly sliced carne aside, roasted red pepper, portobello mushrooms, and a Zin cream alfredo with pine nuts and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

2008 Pedroncelli Pinot Noir Russian River Sonoma County, 14.2% alc, $18 5,000 cases made. Silky smooth elegant wine, loaded with full rich aroma and flavors of cherry, raspberry spice and oak. Beautifully balnced. Paired brilliantly with baked teriyaki salmon served on a Thai Som Tom shredded green papaya salads tossed in a passionfruit chili dressing.

2007 Cleavage Creek Cellars Merlot-Shiraz Tracy Hills, 14.9% alc, $18 230 cases made. 67% Syrah, 33% Merlot. What a fun wine. First, I love blends when they work, and this one does. So very drinkable. warm cedar blackberry and black cherry fruit with tons of spice and a nice tannin backbone. Went great with a grilled flank steak and garlic mashed potatoes. Helped the next day to take away the pain caused by listening to the worst season of American Idol contestants ever.

2006 Tangley Oaks Merlot Napa Valley Lot #8, 14.2% alc, $15 Warm round smooth cherry and plum notes with hints of brighter raspberry and dark floral spice. No rough edges, very approachable. Soft. Paired with a prime rib cooked in my set it and forget it rotisserie grill. So delicious.

2007 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Block 007 Estate Vineyard Dry Creek Valley 14.4% alc, $25 1,000 cases made. Blackberry and currant fruit with rich leather coffee cocoa and spice hanging on a backdrop of oak and tannin. Big, full, rich, whole lotto wow. Much easier to make than it sounds, inspired by the first sniff of this Cab, I cooked up Steak au Poivre and created an OMG pairing of food and wine.

2006 Cleavage Creek Cellars Secret Red Tracy Hills, 14.5% alc, $18 330 cases made. Lots going on. blackberry, cranberry, cocoa, anise, spice, oak, round and complex, with a lingering finish. Delicious. A bit of a luxury with cheeseburgers, but no one complained.

2007 Tangley Oaks Chardonnay Central Coast Lot #4, 14.2% alc, $15  Apple and pear fruit, with citrus and clove, cream and vanilla oak add to mouth, crisp acid makes another sip desirable. Nicely balanced. I paired this wine with watermelon cooked chicken, the chicken is actually cooked inside the watermelon. Both are good, together they were great.


Cleavage Creek Cellars does two great things. The first is to make really drinkable wine. The second, and more impressive, thing is to donate 10% of the revenue from their sales to help fight breast cancer. Smiling women grace each label of Cleavage Creek wines, women who have fought and survived breast cancer. Socially conscious wine tastes better…or makes you feel more connected to the world at large and happier to be drinking it.

Parducci is the subject of my next featured spotlight winery piece, so I won’t go too deep here, but they may be the greenest winery anywhere. I was certainly impressed by everything I experienced on a recent visit. More socially conscious wine. Hurray.

Pedroncelli is a family winery, farming in the Dry Creek Valley for over 80 years. Pedroncelli is committed to farming in an environmentally sensitive way, and practices sustainable winegrowing. You may be sensing a trend. Pedroncelli Winery is a socially conscious winery.

Tangley Oaks is going to plant a tree for each bottle of their wine that is sold on Arbor Day, April 30, 2010. They are also going to plant a tree because of my review of their wines above. Tangley Oaks wants you to know that in 50 years, one tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides a similar dollar value worth of soil erosion control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control. The way I see it, the choice is simple. Either you must buy and plant a tree, or trees, on April 30 – or you can buy a bottle, or bottles, of Tangley Oaks wine and they’ll do the planting of trees for you. More social consciousness with wine consumption.

DISCLOSURE: I received these wines as review samples.