Everyday: I was only able to catch up with a visit from the esteemed-by-people-I-trust Telmo Rodriguez vicariously, and only recently did I get to sample one of his wines. Wow. Just wow. The 2011 Basa Ruedo Blanco ($12) has almost endless energy and wonderfully alternating elements: rich and then lean, sweet and then tart. The citrus-dominated fruit is delicious and the texture beautiful in this blend of verdejo, viura and sauvignon blanc. A fantastic patio wine, this vibrant white also has fish tacos, fried chicken, goat-cheese-laden salads and pasta with veggies written all over it.
Occasion: When he parted ways with winemaker Pax Mahle, Joe Donelan made a brilliant hire. Tyler Thomas is one of the smartest and most interesting and inquisitive winemakers I’ve ever encountered (he was the assistant at HdV at the time). The 2011 Donelan Family “Two Brothers” North Coast Pinot Noir ($55) is positively brilliant, with the power and elegance of the best California pinots, a wonderful mouthfeel, gorgeous dark red fruit and the structure to portend a long life. Even longer than the finish. Try it with chicken quesadillas, grilled beef tenderloin or moussaka.