Congrats to all the TexaCali Wine Co. producers who made the San Francisco Chronicle 2008 Top 100 Wine List this year! Ask your favorite wine shop to point you to these on their shelves - all are available in Texas...
2006 Lioco Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($45) Lioco founders Matt Licklider and Kevin O'Connor want to demonstrate the character of individual sites through their Pinot and Chardonnay. This somewhat polarizing wine hails from the fog-shrouded Heintz Vineyard outside Occidental. Signs of botrytis (noble rot) give a distinct honey note in what is a completely dry wine. Add in fresh orange, yellow apple and Anjou pear, and its leesy weight, and you have an exotic creature, something more like dry Sauternes than Chardonnay. It's the very definition of terroir expression, though certainly not to every taste.
2005 Pellegrini Family Vineyards Cloverdale Ranch Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) The Pellegrini family and winemaker Kevin Hamel keep showing off Alexander Valley's potential for refined, refreshing Cab and Merlot. Here, loamy, perfumed notes add complexity to ripe black cherry and cassis, with structure from fine, broad walnut-skin tannins that hint at more aging potential than the price might reveal.
— 2007 Lioco Sonoma County Chardonnay ($20) - We selected 20 terrific values under $40, all from wineries that produced some of our Top 100 selections. — Jon Bonné