Dreaming in the New World: "California", painted in 1934 by Maxine Albro, Coit Tower, San Francisco

U.S., Australia, Spain, etc - from Private Collections

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The mural shown above is part of the decorated interior of Coit Tower, on Telegraph Hill, in San Francisco. Below is a view from the tower. It's well worth the climb!

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Barahonda 2006 Yecla

Brawny and precise with red fruits and minerals; a terrific value from a long-time family run estate (since 1925). No herbicides or pesticides are used in the vineyards and the wine is fermented in stainless steel preserving the purity of the Monastrell grape's unique Mediterranean character. cb

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Bermejos 2013 Lanzarote Malvasía Seco

This invigorating dry wine from Bodegas Los Bermejos on the Canary Island of Lanzarote is made from Malvasía Volcánica. This unique local grape that is was said to be hybrid of the Malvasía Aromática and Marmajuela varieties, but in my last meeting with Ignacio of Bermejos, I learned that it might be identical with Malvasia de Sitges. Ampelography aside, this wine is a delicious miracle, from vines that are painstakingly planted at the bottom of crater-like formations molded out of the sandy black volcanic "picone" soil that coated Lanzarote after a massive eruption in the 1700s. The wine is as singular as the surroundings that give it life, with herbal, mineral, and peach pit aromas and an elegant palate of lime peels, bitter melon, tangerine, saltwater, and a prevailing ashy minerality that is redolent of the island air. Ariana Rolich

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López de Heredia 1994 Rioja Gran Reserva Tondonia

75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano, aged 9 years in barrel and 9 years in bottle. Sweet, pretty aromas of balsamic, raspberries, coriander and crunchy leaves. Complex and well-structured on the palate with bright red cherry, chewy cranberry skins, woodsy thyme, thorny rose, clove spice, and crunchy leaves that remind us this fresh Rioja has some age. At the same time, its bright acidity and taut tannins alert us to many great years ahead! -Ariana Rolich

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López de Heredia 2003 Rioja Bosconia Reserva

The 2003 vintage of Bosconia Reserva is my favorite since the fantastically silky 2000 vintage. It is broad-shouldered as you would expect, but, at the same time, it is precise, juicy elegant, and surprisingly graceful. I don't get a whiff of roasted-ness from this cuvée. A miracle has been born; an amazing '03. cb

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Maestro Tejero, Alfredo 2010 Vdt Castilla y Leon La Guindalera

This is the most fascinating of Maestro's wines, to be shared with thoughtful friends. Richer, deeper, and more mysterious than delicate Olmera, Guindalera comes from a single vineyard of 15-year-old Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) vines. Alluring aromas of blackberry briar, pencil shavings, buckwheat pancakes, lavender, lilac, and chocolate truffles dusted in cocoa. Guindalera's flavors are elusive and pure: mullberry, choke cherries, gingerbread, root beer, nutmeg, gentle bitter herbs, and raspberry iced tea. Broad clay earth and crumpled-paper tannins ground the palate and promise a long life in the bottle. Pairs well with braises, eggplant, aged cheddars, and La Olmera. Tempranillo is finally at peace. (Quantities are extremely limited. Please allow 2 bottles per person.) -AR

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Rhys 2013 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vyd

Rhys grows both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on Horseshoe Vineyard, a ridge of sedimentary shale on a base of sedimentary rock and volcanic ash in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The 2013 Rhys has great power with ripe black cherry fruit with brambly and dark chocolate undertones. The minerality is persistent and framed by an elegantly tannic finish. A recent tasting of the Rhys 2013s demonstrates that this wine is drinking beautifully now, but will reward patience in spades if cellared for 5-10 years. Jonas Mendoza

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