From second labels to projects that are just for fun, some California wineries produce wines under other names. Many smaller wineries spread their focus to bring value to the public and/or other grapes into their portfolio. This month’s selections are from Vinifera Wines and Ales, 1400 County Rd. 101 N., Plymouth, 763-473-0008.
Decoy Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Napa Valley, CA)
• This is a more affordable version of the Duckhorn sauvignon blanc. Crisp and bright with apple and tropical fruits, it drinks beautifully on its own or with a niçoise salad.
Ghost Pines Chardonnay 2007 (Healdsburg, CA)
Winery: Louis Martini
• Creamy with just enough butter and oak, it has great caramel apple notes with nice acidity. Try it with halibut or herb-roasted chicken. It’s a less expensive option for monster chard lovers.
Hawk Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Napa Valley, CA)
Winery: Stags’ Leap Wine Cellars
• A lot of wine for the money. It’s medium bodied for a Napa cab but has the style and complexity of a much more expensive wine, full of fruit and spice, cedar and chocolate. Try it with your favorite burger.
Orin Swift Cellars The Prisoner 2009 (Napa Valley, CA)
• Cabernet, zinfandel, syrah, and petite sirah bring dark berries balanced with tannins and subtle oak. The soft start with a very long finish is a good example of why blends are easy to love—the final product is greater than the sum of the ingredients!