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Uncork these and make splash with the neighbors

When you live in Wine Country, the idiom “Keeping up with the Joneses” takes on new meaning. Impressive wines are the rage. Big names like Lasseter and Ramey are sure to ignite some wine envy. Here are wines that will make a splash with your neighbors.

Ramey, 2014 Woolsey Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 14.5%, $65.Gorgeous depth of flavor with complex aromas, even before you take a sip. Ripe apple and notes of melon and pear. It’s decadent, yet bright. Blousy, yet balanced.

Lasseter’s Viola, 2015 Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County White Blend, 14.3%, $46. Complex: crisp, yet with a silky texture, a winning combination. 50% semillon, 30% sauvignon blanc, and 20% sauvignon blanc musque. Smart.

Benovia, 2012 Russian River Valley Blanc de Blancs, Sonoma County Sparkling Wine, 12%, $50. Well-crafted, complex with layered aromas - petroleum, brioche and apple - even before you take a sip. The rich, yet balanced flavors follow through to the palate. Creamy texture. Nice mousse. Striking.

Merriam Vineyards, 2015 Three Sons Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.5%, $75. Depth, with concentrated dried cherry flavors with earthy notes. It has very generous upfront fruit, while herbs and spice play back up. Impressive.

Picket Fence, 2015 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 13.5%, $14. This is a lovely commingling of pear, lemon and toast. Great balance. Layered, yet approachable. A steal for the quality at this price point.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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