[Editor’s note: Melanie is the person on our team whose palate is really developed. Her descriptions of wine, which easily just trip off her tongue right after taking a sip of wine, continue to amaze me. It’s for that reason that I don’t presume to have the most advanced palate on our team. I relegate that task (if you can call it a “task,” in the true sense of the word), giving it to Melanie whenever new wines arrive for evaluation. It’s also important to note that Melanie’s not easy to please. If the wine isn’t stellar,  Melie would rather say nothing at all. When it’s spectacular, as are all of these wines below, Melie easily waxes poetic. All of the wines in today’s blog recommendations are beautiful expressions of the fruit; as well as being tremendous value wines… There’s a lot of wine for a very reasonable price tag. Find and enjoy! Great enough to share with friends, but spectacular to have as your own house wines, too. All wines are from Regency Wine Group, Santa Rosa, California.]

Melanie Hoffman

2007 Calistoga Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley: Delicious flavors of lychee nut, cantaloupe and kefir limes upfront in the bouquet of this beautiful wine. Aromas continue with Anjou pear and lemongrass that beg for you to take a sip. Palate follows nose with continuing pear and Myer lemon flavors upfront. Hints of fresh basil mid-palate, with lingering flavors of lemongrass and Mandarin orange. This juicy and easy sipper will do well on its own or paired with food. Try with pumpkin chicken curry and jasmine rice. {Screw cap benefit} [$16.00]

2005 Calistoga Cellars Zinfandel, Napa Valley: Enticing bouquet displays ample forward fruit aromas of raspberry and black cherry. Added sweet oak and dark cocoa powder develop with hints of white pepper in the close of the nose. Well balanced and easy palate offers copious blueberry jam upfront with subtle vanilla and toasty oak. Added cedar and nutmeg spice with saddle leather on the mid-palate, leads way to fresh raspberry preserves in the long finish. Pair with smoky meats, like BBQ Tri-tip or sweet and spicy baby back ribs. [$20.00]

2007 Homegrown Family Harvest Red: Robust nose reveals red currant and cherry blossom. Added notes of plums, vanilla and white chocolate round out the bouquet. Palate follows with more plums and red currant in the silky mouthfeel. Very fruit forward flavors, with easy oak mid-palate. Bright Bing cherry and dark cocoa powder in the finish. Pair this wine with slow simmered pot roast and root vegetables. [$10.50]

2006 Castillo de Monséran – Cariñena [Denonminacion de Origen, Spain]: The bouquet is like Sunday breakfast in your glass, blueberry pancake aromas envelop the senses; fresh blueberry, vanilla, maple syrup and toasty oak. Blackberry jammy attribute reveals at the close of the bouquet. Very approachable palate offers smooth and delicious flavors that follow the nose. More blueberry upfront, with elegant tannins that lead way to milk chocolate and vanilla mid-palate. Satiny finish shows that blackberry flavors that linger. Enjoy with rack of lamb on jewel yam mashers. [$7.99]

[Castillo de Monséran • Low-yielding, head-pruned Grenache vines from the Cariñena region of Spain. 2.5 tons per acre. One of the finest values available from Europe right now.]