Help me/I’m think I’m falling/In love again . . . That’s the refrain of the great Joni Mitchell song, “Help Me.” You put the scintillatingly pure soprano of Joni’s voice together with the jazzy inflections of her music and the captivatingly honest and vulnerable quality of the lyrics, and you’ve got a 2014 CLIFF LEDE Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc in the glass. This is about as lovely as white wine gets for under-$30. In the intro are piquant aromas of lemon verbena, beeswax, quince, cantaloupe and almond. There’s great body to the form—luscious and luxurious—and a shiny, happy glow that exudes from within. The music glides along with a honeysuckle-sweet melody, guided by an inner strength and feminine vibrancy. We love our lovin’/But not like we love our freedom . . . the song goes on. The wine is a magnificent blend of grapes sourced from highly distinctive areas of Napa Valley, each terroir contributing a unique aspect to the blend—whether it’s minerality, density, flavor, acidity or finesse. Not straightforward music on the palate but that which seeks emotional depth and complexity. And even when the song comes to a close, the record player still spins . . . more music follows, more falling in love again . . . until the bottle empties. –J.M.
GREAT WINES OF ISRAEL: FLAM | JUDEAN HILLS