In our clamor to be a part of the big new trend, familiar friends too often get overlooked. That's as true for wineries as it is for recording artists or automobiles. But when it comes to music and cars, the classics remain timeless and will always have a following: from Be-bop to the Beatles, from Bugati to Bentley. Sadly, that's not always true with wineries, so when David Mowforth of Ferrari-Carano came to town a few weeks back, it was nice to get reacquainted with this California classic. For almost a quarter of a century, this family owned winery has been making outstanding wines. Here are three of my favorites:
2007 Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, $12.99
Always a winner, with each new vintage, this wine just keeps getting better and better. About 60 percent of the juice is stainless-steel fermented while the rest goes into older oak barrels. The resulting blend offers sweet grapefruit aromas along with creamy lemon, lime and tropical fruit. The oak adds more structure than flavor, contributing just a light bit of vanilla to the zesty mango and melon. There's a nice hit of grass on the fresh, clean finish.
2005 Ferrari-Carano Merlot, $25
This merlot is bright and has lovely creamy cassis and berry aromas with hints of herb, cinnamon and chocolate. It displays exceptional balance in the mouth, showing opulent cherry and dark berry fruit balanced by seamless acidity and ripe tannins. Smooth berry fruit dominates the palate while soft touches of oak mingle nicely with the malted mocha quality that comes through on the velvety finish. It's a perfect example of why the much maligned merlot is making a comeback.
2006 Ferrari-Carano Sienna, $24
Beautiful red berry aromas with nice layers of mocha, cinnamon and anise. This elegantly structured wine offers ripe berry flavors laced with caramel and spice all backed by firm but light tannins on the finish. The winery's Italian heritage is reflected in this Sangiovese-based wine that is marvelously transformed when combined with food. Pair with rich cheeses or hearty pastas for a sublime experience.