March 12, 2007
Second Saturday Wines Go Upscale

Not sure about the art, but the wine poured at galleries and boutiques that participate in Sacramento's monthly art stroll, Second Saturday, definitely is getting more complex and provocative. Not so long ago, most galleries seemed to be pouring the simple releases of Charles Shaw, aka "Two Buck Chuck." Some still are.

But this past Saturday we came across the warm and rigid Elena Winery 2005 Alexander Valley Old Vine Zinfandel at the Center for Contemporary Art ($3 per glass) and the husky Mount Eden Vineyards 2004 Edna Valley Chardonnay at Urban Hound Properties (free), among other upscale releases.

Axis Gallery at 1517 19th St. gets our blue ribbon for the two most impressive wines of the night, both being poured for a donation to be determined by the donor. They were the fresh Renwood Winery 2003 Amador County Old Vine Zinfandel, frisky with berries and spice, hardly at all showing its heady 15.5 percent alcohol, and the refreshing New Clairvaux Vineyard 2006 Tehama County St. James Block Albarino, pretty with honeysuckle in the smell, honeydew in the flavor, the perfect accompaniment not only for the light pizza and cheese sliders on the sideboard but Saturday's early spring warmth.

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