It’s Wine Wednesday, so expert Alyssa Rapp is sharing her 3 Ultra-Fine USA Wines for a Glamorous Summer Evening!

The world is littered with recommendations of “top 3 wines under $25,” “world-class rosés”, etc. I am personally a major fan of both categories. However, once in a while a special occasion such as a milestone birthday or anniversary, a closing of a major deal, etc. merits “putting on the ritz” in terms of your summer entertaining. When asked to organize a very special evening along these lines recently, I selected 5 world-class wines from locations as unsuspecting as the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan and as obvious as the Volnay appellation in Burgundy, France for my wine list. These 3 selections are extraordinary when enjoyed as fine dining and wine pairing experience, but could also easily be enjoyed on a stand-alone basis. Cheers to your next celebratory summer soirée!


L. Mawby Vineyards Blanc de Blancs (“B.d.B”) NV Brut(Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan)
In 1973, Larry Mawby planted his first vines in the Leelanau Peninsula of Northern Michigan. Today, L.Mawby Vineyards produces one of the leading sparkling wine from America outside of California.In L. Mawby Vineyards’ own words, their non-vintage Blanc de Blancs (“B.d.B.”) Brut is pale gold in color and offers aromas of baked peaches, lavender honey, and lemon tart. Flavors of racy kumquat, pink grapefruit, and wet stone persist through the finish. A perfect summer evening aperitif!

Recommended appetizer pairings: Risotto balls, cherry tomato & mozzarella skewers, or maybe quiche.


Aubert Wines 2009 Chardonnay: (Sonoma Coast, California)

Ultra-rich and deeply concentrated, the Aubert 2009 chardonnay is intense, persistent and graceful, with layers of ripe fig, honeydew melon, anise, sage and melted black licorice. Like most great wines, the Aubert chardonnay gets more complex and interesting with every sip.

Recommended salad course pairings: Classical burrata cheese and heirloom tomato salad, or chopped romaine, bell pepper, radish salad with green goddess dressing

Clos de la Tech Domaine Louis Louise 2009 (3L): (Santa Cruz Mountains, California)

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains just south of San Francisco, this uncompromising gravity flow facility was built by Cypress Semiconductor founder and former CEO T. J. Rodgers and his wife, Valeta Massey. Taking a page out of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (“DRC”)’s playbook in terms of label design, vineyard management, gravity-flow caves and overall strategy, Clos de La Tech strives to produce world-class pinot noir…and only pinot noir


In Clos de la Tech’s own words, the 2010 Santa Cruz Mountain Estate Pinot Noir is fleshy, rich and concentrated with a firm, tannic core- a much more masculine expression of pinot noir than LaFarge’s Volnay. The nose offers ripe fruit notes that include cassis, plum jam, and cherry. The palate is balanced and lightly oaky with traces of pepper, cedar, and spice that carry through to the long finish. This 2010 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate pinot showcases the power and character of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Recommended main course pairing: Roast chicken with roasted root vegetables or filet mignon.

Alyssa Rapp is the Managing Partner of AJR Ventures, a strategic advisory firm to companies in the beverage/consumer package goods/luxury goods spaces, ranging in size from well-funded start-ups to Fortune 500’s. She is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business on the Global Dynamics of the Wine Industry. She previously served as the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc. and is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips.Featured image via Food Network and Getty images.

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