Waterstone seeks out quality and value in Napa

Waterstone wines score points for quality and affordability from Napa Valley. (Image courtesy of Waterstone)

Waterstone wines score points for quality and affordability from Napa Valley. (Image courtesy of Waterstone)

The wine scribe has been silent the last two and a half weeks to help with a family emergency in Dayton, where I managed to find a few good bottles to get me through these times. Did you know you can buy wines at Sam’s Club (Costco too) without a membership? It’s all fine and dandy until you have to convince the greeter and the cashier. But I have to add, the values were just as strong at the Kroger in Centerville, Ohio, where you don’t have to buy a bunch of bottles for the discount — like you do at Metro Detroit stores. My other wine retreat was Dorothy Lane Market, a gourmet hot spot that even raises the bar for Detroit area food specialty stores.

The Waterstone brand is out of Napa Valley and delivers knockout value for grapes from California’s most famous wine district. Waterstone does not own its vineyards or winemaking facility. They put their stock in contracts for the grapes and the winemaking by Philip Zorn. Waterstone is a collaboration of wine industry exec Brent Shortridge and Zorn, who trained in Germany. The tasting room is at the Taste of Oxbow in downtown Napa. The brand was established in 2000 to showcase luxury wines at affordable prices — “affordable” for Napa, that is.

Waterstone Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2012, $18

A fair splash of Semillon contributes to the floral, herbal notes and certainly helps paint that that bright gold color. This is a clean, crisp, complex wine perfect for the dinner table — or the coffee table. Its clean edge of acidity gives nice backbone to the floral, herbal, tropical flavors. The broader mouthfeel is due to time spent in neutral French oak barrels. The Semillon — 18 percent — adds a rich note. It can handle everything from shellfish to caviar. Ohhh, caviar — remember those days!

Waterstone Merlot Napa Valley 2010, $18

Eighteen dollars! That’s the suggested retail price by the winery — from Napa Land, that is a steal. Wow. It has great weight and is packed to the brim with dark plum, blackberry and cherry fruit.  It’s concentrated and complex with spice and smoke off the oak integrated into the fruit. Acidity makes the whole package work. What a great pairing with lamb chops! If you see this brand, give it a test drive.

Contact Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.