A quick plug for a winemaker who I think is just rocking right now: Michael Cruse.
Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguie. This grape, formerly known as “Napa Gamay”, is super fruity on the palate – read: ripe cherry & strawberry, and has next to no tannin, even though it has been aged in neutral french oak. It drinks so easily it’s dangerous… in the best sort of way. For $25 pick this up. I like it with a slight chill, 58 or so?, and to eat it with some duck, or chicken, or nothing.
He’s also working on another project that has to be mentioned, because these sparkling wines are turning out so well (clearly a result of a lot of love being put into the winemaking process, which for traditional method is no easy feat). Ultramarine. A Blanc des Blanc and a rose from 100% Pinot Noir, both single vintage and single vineyard wines. He’s embracing the sunshine of California instead of fighting it, and making a wine that doesn’t taste like Champagne, because it’s not. It’s not cheap, but it is the best that California has to offer, and it’s beautiful. The 2010 sold out quickly, but the 2011 is up for release mid-September.