Like Wine

There’s no denying the bone-dry heat of summer in Sonoma, which extends into September and begins to temper in October. Hearty, savory foods begin to rejoin the menu, as do wines with similar personalities. Still, it’s good to have a few crisp whites on hand for those warm days when the colors of harvest shine most brightly.

Sauvignon Blanc for Back to School

If you like:

Black Stallion Estate 2013, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($26)
From a posh Napa estate once owned by the director of the “Black Stallion” movie, this is a complex, textured white bursting with citrus notes and layers of creamy peach. Great with goat cheese, oysters and an array of hors d’oeuvres.

Then try:

Josh Cellars 2012 Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc ($13)
Josh wines always provide good value and this Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. Crisp and juicy, it’s an easy bottle to unscrew and pour for friends, with tropical fruit flavors, a creamy mid-palate and enough herbal underpinnings to keep it interesting.

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Pinot Noir for Fall Foliage

If you like:

Walt 2012 Savoy Vineyards, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($65)
Anderson Valley takes on beautiful new colors as the vines are harvested and green leaves turn to yellow, purple and red. This wine is a seductive way to mark fall, with brambly blackberry fruit, spicy oak and a creamy milk chocolate sensation on the finish.

Then try:

MacMurray Ranch 2012, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($28)
This wine tastes way beyond its price: tangy, smooth and with juicy black cherry, cola and spice. The ranch isn’t open to the public, but the drive there from Healdsburg or River Road is gorgeous and there are many tasting rooms along the way.

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Cabernet Sauvignon for Columbus Day

If you like:

Rocca Family 2010 Collinetta Vineyard Coombsville Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)
A complex wine from the cooler climes of Napa, it’s ageworthy and offers heady violet aromatics, black, brambly fruit, and spicy oak. If you’re going to drink it soon, decant it to allow oxygen to open it up. Or put it in the cellar for up to a decade.

Then try:

Jordan Vineyard & Winery 2010, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($53)
Steady Jordan sticks to its roots, crafting vintage after vintage of elegant, food-friendly Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. This Cab from a relatively cool vintage exudes crisp cassis character, smooth tannins, and plenty of acidity to keep it buoyant through a meal of Sonoma lamb or duck confit.

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Red Blends for Halloween

If you like:

St. Francis Winery 2011 Rockpile, Red Sonoma County ($50)
From high-elevation-grown grapes, Rockpile Red melds Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec to spectacular effect. There is plenty of dark chocolate — trick or treat for grown-ups — with black cherry, currant and clove character. Supple tannins seal the deal.

Then try:

Buena Vista Winery 2012 The Count Founder’s, Red Wine Sonoma County ($20)
Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Carignane comprise this blend that’s as brooding and mysterious as its namesake, Agoston Haraszthy, who founded Buena Vista in 1857. Red berry fruit is accented by whispers of cinnamon and vanilla.

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The Comeback Kid – Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma returns to its original space in Sonoma on October 2.

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