95 Insider Points

REVIEWS

Twist off Betty’s top and breathe in subtle aromas of crisp apples, pears, and freshly watered grass. On the pour, Cellars 33 2016 ‘The Betty’ is a luminescent yellow-green, settling into the glass like lawn grass bleached by the summer sun. Initial aromas are certainly of those pomme fruits, but also a bit of cold, uncooked pastry. There’s a softness, a roundness on the nose, a deep breath in and this Rhône-style white blend is vaguely reminiscent of a Chardonnay. Swirl, and light scents of daffodils, sunflower stalks, more grass, and pollen come into the mix.

On the palate, the wine is crisp yet smooth with a medium line of acidity that simply melts away. There is a bit of texture, but just enough to give this light-bodied white wine some presence on the tongue — though the overall feeling is certainly a round one. Primary flavors are of dried grass, flowers, ginger, lemongrass, and then a bit of toasty-ness reminiscent of coffee grounds and, perhaps, a bit of cream. - 95 Insider Points

WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    White Blend
  • APPELLATION
    Lodi, CA
  • ALCOHOL
    13.00%
  • SIZE
    750ml

When it comes to white wines, Cellars 33 is all about Grenache Blanc sourced from California’s Lodi AVA. When asked about this Rhône-style white blend, which includes a significant amount of Viognier and a trace amount of PicPoul, John Fones (owner and winemaker of Cellars 33) said that it’s simply a chance to create a “different expression” of the varietal he’s come to love. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name, just remember “The Betty” is a white wine.

So cheers to everyone’s favorite Golden Girl…

TASTING NOTES 

This is a well-proportioned, pleasantly balanced wine made from white Rhône grape varieties. It has plenty of fruit and a smooth, almost soft texture. Fresh apple and pear aromas meet nutmeg and vanilla flavors on the palate- YUM!

THE STORY TO KNOW

The foundation of what became Cellars 33® began about 15 years ago when a man finally met the woman he knew he would marry. At the time, John was an active beer brewer and enthusiast in Baltimore, Maryland. The problem was, Katie wasn't a big fan of, nor terribly impressed with, beer or home brewing. What to do? Wine!!  So, with the purchase of an $8 bottle of California Merlot, Cellars 33® was "born".

With that beginning, including a small wine rack strategically placed on the top of their refrigerator (probably the warmest place in John's apartment), Katie and John undertook a journey to learn everything they could about wine. With frequent vacations to California and a fateful wine cruise to Italy in 2007, the die was cast.

In 2007, it was time to get hands on, so John began with a brief harvest internship at Freeman Winery in Sebastopol, California. Those two weeks were filled with 16 hour days of intensely physical, hard work. Reluctant to return home to his law practice, he immediately began planning for a return. The following two years saw full internship positions at Freeman in addition to other trips for racking, blending and bottling what would become the first wines for Cellars 33®.

Finally, in January 2010, with a 28 foot Penske truck packed full with all of their belongings, John and Katie, with their intrepid dog Max, drove across the country and settled here in San Francisco.   Cellars 33® became licensed and started selling wine to a loyal Mailing List the following year and has experienced annual growth of 100%. Now with slightly over 1,000 cases produced annually, Cellars 33® focuses on premium vineyard sites for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and whatever else Katie lets John make.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

Perfect as an aperitif on a summer afternoon. And, yes, that pairing was perfect. If we were going to pair this wine with food (and, indeed, it certainly is a foodie’s white wine), we would recommend something to bring out that hidden toast note found in the back of the palate. Grilled chicken breast with an alfredo-sauced pasta, tossed with some fresh spinach leaves. The freshness of the wine, the fruits, the zest, will perfectly cut through the richness of the sauce and pasta. Meanwhile, the cream-based sauce will call out that last minute “milk-like” note on the palate, while the grilled chicken will play with that secretive smokiness. Toss a few fresh spinach leaves in there so you don’t forget — this is a savory wine through and through.