Amici is a Napa-based wine producer, and Olema is one of its sub-labels — both living proof that good wine needn’t cost a fortune. Here’s a look at three Amici wines plus four recent bottlings under the Olema label, which include three wines from California and one from France, representing the brand’s entire lineup.
2016 Amici Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – A toasty chardonnay, with a modest profile of bacon fat, coconut, and lemon peel, all wrapped up in a lightly leather, woody bundle. Nice balance here between crisp fruit and unctuous barrel-driven characteristics. B+ / $26
2017 Amici Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – I love the creamy texture and the hints of coconut on this wine, though it ultimately shows off a somewhat meaty character, particularly as it warms up and as the finish approaches. Otherwise soft for sauvignon blanc, but a delightful pairing with food. B+ / $24
2016 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Inky and dense in color, the wine looks daunting but offers tons of fruit, both dense blackcurrant and softer berry notes, throughout the experience. Ample tannin gives the wine grip up top, and the finish balances its sweet fruit with an intensely earthy, sinewy character. B+ / $50
2017 Olema Cotes de Provence Rose – As the name suggests, this isn’t a wine Olema makes in California, but a French import, a traditionally structured rose composed of 60% grenache, 30% mourvedre, and 10% carignan. Highly acidic and very herbal, it’s a wine with a gentle floral note and even gentler fruit — more apple and pear than strawberry and plum, though some perky berry notes emerge on the finish. B+ / $16
2016 Olema Chardonnay Sonoma County – A little sweaty on the nose, but it’s heavy with fruit — peaches and apricots at first, then a more traditional apple note — before settling into a buttery, shortbread-driven finish. B / $15
2016 Olema Pinot Noir Sonoma County – Husky and dusky, a bit of a surprise for a Sonoma County-labeled bottling. Ample notes of currants and mint strike a balance with a palate that offers plenty of baking spice, some lavender, and a scraping of graphite. Lots going on here, and while the body is on the thin side, it makes up for that with its fruity exuberance. B+ / $20
2016 Olema Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County – Restrained, but loaded with fruit character — it’s a gentle but expressive wine with ample plum and blackberry character, shifting from there into an enticing floral note of violet and lavender. Tannin is well integrated and not too harsh, and while the wine might improve over another couple of years, I wouldn’t go beyond that. A- / $27