IMG 0333 720x480

What to Taste This Weekend

With several wines in each region earning recent acclaims, there are plenty of critics’ picks to try during your upcoming visit to wine country. But we also know every estate has its sleeper picks. You know what we’re talking about — those lesser-known varietals and limited release blends that make you wonder “How have I not tried this before?” or “Where have you been hiding this?”

So, in this installment of What to Taste This Weekend, here are our top choices for the best critics’ picks and sleeper wines to try at various FFWS tasting rooms this weekend.


Critics’ Pick: 2014 Three Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon, Champoux Vineyard

Arguably known as Washington state’s most famous vineyard for Cabernet Sauvignon, the Champoux Vineyard has turned heads by providing highly coveted grapes that have yielded several 100-point scores from Robert Parker. Part of the magic could be that some of the blocks of this esteemed vineyard are among the oldest, if not the oldest, in the state. With only 140 cases produced, this Cabernet Sauvignon is swarming with notes of black fruit compote, espresso, and cured meat that impress. Complete in every way, start to luxurious finish. Pair this show-stopper with a dry aged, well marbled rib-eye with roasted tomatoes in a balsamic glaze. 

Sleeper Pick: 2016 Three Rivers Trivulet

Don’t let the name fool you (by the way, there’s no wrong way to pronounce it: Triv-you-lay or Triv-you-let – it’s a made up word!); this wine is hardly intimidating. In fact, that’s why it makes the cut as a “Sleeper Pick” – with 51% Cabernet Franc and 49% Merlot, one would think this 2016 vintage might be a bit on the young side. Wrong. It’s softness belies its age with aromatics of luxurious blueberries, fresh strawberries and a hint of violets. On the palate vibrant fresh fruit flavors are accented with hints of stone fruit that lead into a balanced and lengthy finish. Only 120 cases produced, so make sure to sample before it’s gone.

Learn More & Shop Three Rivers Wines


Critics’ Pick: 2014 Foley Johnson Proprietary Red Meritage (92pts, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)

“It is another striking value among the stratospherically priced wines of Napa. More floral than its counterpart, with more uplifted aromatics, but similar weight and richness, this full-bodied, pure, ripe, delicious and complex wine has attractive aromatics, medium to full body and velvety tannins.” – Wine Advocate

Sleeper Pick: 2012 Foley Johnson Estate Petit Verdot

Historically, the Petit Verdot grape has been used mostly as a blending grape; it has the reputation of being too powerful to bottle by itself. Lucky for Foley Johson, though, the Petit Verdot that grows on the property is very “user-friendly,” allowing the team to produce a beautiful and rare wine. 

Learn More & Shop Foley Johnson Wines


Critics’ Pick: 2015 Roth Merlot, Sonoma County (90pts, Wine Enthusiast)

“This is a seriously ripe, concentrated wine—a combination of 51% Syrah with Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Lively acidity keeps it from getting bogged down in its innately robust tannins and concentrated layers of leather, tobacco and baked plum.” – Wine Enthusiast

Sleeper Pick: 2017 Roth Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley

Roth’s most acclaimed wines might included bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, but the soil of the nearby lowland sites adjacent to the Russian River provide zesty, citrus flavors and rich, elegant textures for Sauvignon Blanc. This bottle is a sophisticated and authentic expression of the estate fruit. 

Learn More & Shop Roth Wines

Want to read about more of our critic and sleeper picks? Read another edition of What to Taste This Weekend featuring wines from Eos Winery, Sebastiani, and The Four Graces. 

Recent Articles