Hello Friends,Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.The wines featured in this post are all worthy of your attention and dinner table, and they are sure to make that special occasion even more memorable. But if you’re like me, don’t wait for a special occasion; make today that special occasion. You can start by popping the cork and enjoying one of these delicious wines any time you like. Good friends and food are optional—but are highly recommended. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.Addendum 2014 Skellenger Lane Cabernet SauvignonAddendum 2014 Skellenger Lane Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $95): Addendum is an exciting new portfolio launched by renowned Santa Barbara producer Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. The Addendum label focuses on small batches of Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from some of the top sites in Napa Valley. This full-bodied example hails from the Rutherford appellation. It is deep purple in color, with layers of complexities: cedar box, spice cake, toasted pastry, vanilla bean, and a hint of mint—surround a rich core of ripe dark berry and purple stone fruit flavors. There is good depth and structural intensity, anchored by dusty tannins that gain traction on the long, textured finish. This is a serious wine that is a pleasure to sip. It is also a good cellar candidate to enjoy over the next decade. Approximately 116 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Rutherford, Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.9%, matured 28 months in 100% French oak barrels [all new], natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Bonterra 2015 The Roost Blue Heron Vineyard ChardonnayBonterra 2015 The Roost Blue Heron Vineyard Chardonnay (SRP $40): This Chardonnay is made from biodynamic grapes sourced from Bonterra’s Blue Heron vineyard in Mendocino County, California. If you are a member of the Anything But Chardonnay (ABC) club, this wine just may be your ticket out. Notable for its lovely texture, there are flavors of lemon curd, caramel apple, pear tart, and baking spice, framed by notes of toasted oak. In the mouth, it is well-rounded with zesty acidity, providing balance and lift. I enjoyed it on its own and with a delicious bowl of butternut squash soup. Region: Mendocino County, California. Other info: ABV 14.3%, matured in French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Casa Valduga NV 130 Brut (SRP $32): Brazil is gaining recognition for its sparkling wines, and examples like this make it is easy to see why. The story of Casa Valduga began in 1875, when the first Italian immigrant from the Valduga family arrived in Brazil and planted a vineyard. Today, the family’s fourth generation runs the estate. This sparkler is made in the traditional method. It is 100% estate-grown, and composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. Pale straw in color, it has a persistent, creamy mousse of bubbles, with notes of dried stone fruit and bruised apple, followed by white flowers and an appealing brioche character. Add a little pop to your next impromptu get-together with this lively Brazilian sparkler! Region: Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil. Other info: ABV 12%, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,I closed out 2017 with a number of really nice wines from the Garden State. One of those wines was Palmaris 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Tomasello Winery. Tomasello is located in Hammonton, New Jersey, situated halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City.The story of Tomasello Winery begins in December of 1933, when prohibition was repealed. Noted fruit grower, Frank Tomasello, jumped in his truck and drove through a snow storm to get to Washington DC, where he obtained the 68th bonded winery license after prohibition. Today, the winery is owned and operated by third-and fourth-generation family members—led by third generation winegrowers Jack and Charlie Tomasello.Palmaris is Latin for “Prize Worthy.” It is the Reserve-line of Tomasello wines, made only in years of exceptional quality and character, and only from 100% Outer Coastal Plain fruit. The Outer Coastal Plain AVA is situated in southern New Jersey, and is where the family has 70-acres under vine. I pay attention to vintage, and can tell you, from east-coast to west, 2013 provided growers an excellent opportunity to harvest high-quality fruit. This Cabernet Sauvignon is reflective of those optimal conditions, enjoying a versatile appeal that makes it a great addition to the dinner table. It is one I recommend, as I have been impressed with a number of wines coming out of the Outer Coastal Plain appellation. This AVA flies under the radar of most wine lovers, but some very compelling wines are being grown here that are worthy of your consideration. For further information, and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below."Truly great wines require something more, something our family has cultivated alongside our 70-acres of premium varietals since 1933—Hard work and Passion. ~ Tomasello Winery Tomasello 2013 Palmaris Outer Coastal Plain Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (SRP $40): Composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, this wine is packed with lifted flavors of mixed berry fruits graced by hints of sweet pipe tobacco, some savory herb and spice complexities, and a tinge of new leather. Crafted with your dinner table in mind, this wine is medium-bodied and supple in texture, with fine-grained tannins lending grip on the medium-long pleasing finish. Well-placed acidity ties everything together, giving this wine a welcoming sense of freshness. This wine is still in its youth and will benefit from a short period of time (30-45 minutes) in your favorite decanter. The rear label best wraps it up: “We hope that you will enjoy this fine wine with a fine meal and in the company of good friends.” I wholeheartedly agree and followed the advice myself. Region: Outer Coastal Plain, New Jersey. Other info: ABV 13.6%, matured in a combination of French and American oak for 28 months, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,All 50 states in the U.S. grow and produce wine. This fact is often lost on the average consumer, even one who regularly sips wine. Oftentimes, due to small production and limited distribution, wines coming out of lesser-known wine regions become well-kept secrets among locals and wine savvy tourists. Over the years, I’ve sought out hidden gems throughout the United States of Wine. I can easily name stellar producers in almost every state who fly under the radar but grow and produce quality wine. On occasion, a friend from up north brings down wines from MA, PA, NJ, etc. Many of the New Jersey picks have been non-grape fruit wines—easy-drinking quaffs that are perfect for summer festivals and backyard get-togethers. A few of the wines, however, have been appealing dry table wines, piquing my interest in what the Garden State has to offer.And then, lo and behold, a taste of serendipity came my way. New Jersey wines were recently featured on a month-long program known in social media circles on Twitter as #WineStudio. Here I had an opportunity to chat with some of the good folks from Unionville Vineyards and taste their estate-grown 2013 Pheasant Hill Syrah. And what a delicious wine it was! I look forward to visiting these guys for a proper tasting, and I highly recommend their Syrah. For further information and where you can find this Garden State gem, please check out my tasting notes below.Unionville Vineyards 2013 Pheasant Hill SyrahUnionville Vineyards 2013 Pheasant Hill Syrah (SRP $32): A brilliant ruby color, it is easy to like this wine for its bright blackberry and tart cherry flavors. Maturation in 100% neutral French oak puts the full expression of fruit on display. And then there’s rhubarb, a touch of earth, a dash of white pepper, and faint floral notes, all enlivened with ample acidity. In the mouth, the wine is slender yet elegant—coming across as a cool-climate example—with streamlined texture and soft tannins that melt into a medium-long finish. A splash of Viognier is added for good measure. This wine would be a wonderful addition to any feast. Region: Hopewell, New Jersey. Other info: ABV 13.6%, matured in 100% neutral French oak, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Besides the beauty of Mother Nature’s stunning artwork, fall brings cooler weather and an appetite for hearty comfort foods and robust red wines. And I have just the full-bodied, purple colored wine for you, my friends: the 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Pedroncelli Winery. Fruit for this wine is sourced from Bushnell Vineyard, a 22-acre site situated on the eastern hillsides of Dry Creek Valley. This vineyard, which is great for Zinfandel, has been part of the Pedroncelli estate since the 1940s. So not only will you have a bit of history in your glass, you will also have a wine that’s both enjoyable and affordable.Pedroncelli Winery 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel Throughout this year, I’ve been lucky enough to partake in a number of exciting virtual events celebrating Pedroncelli’s 90th anniversary in the wine business—an impressive accomplishment. The winery is family-owned and currently operated by third-and fourth-generation relatives. A recent wine and food pairing I found great pleasure in and highly recommend, is sausage, cheese and basil lasagna paired with the Pedroncelli 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel. You can find the wine and the lasagna recipe on the Pedroncelli website. I’ve made the collection of family recipes a favorite in my web browser. If you enjoy cooking (with glass in hand of course), I highly recommend bookmarking it too. Please see my tasting notes below along with a link to where you can find the wine. All three reds were good potential suitors—but the lasagna and Pedroncelli 2015 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel are simply meant to be togetherPedroncelli Winery 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel (SRP $26): Bushnell Vineyard has been a consistent source of fruit for Pedroncelli since the 1940s. Deep purple in color, inviting dark-skinned, berry-driven aromas give way to ripe plums, briary fruit, spice box, cracked black pepper, and cacao nib flavors. Rich and voluptuous in profile, this wine wears its weight well, with a good kick of acidity keeping everything in check. There’s a suggestion of floral perfume, mocha, and sweet barrel spice on the medium-long finish. This wine is a fine, soul-warming solitary sipper—particularly on a cozy autumn evening in front of a roaring fire. It is also a great match for classic comfort foods and just about anything off the grill or smoker. Region: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 15.2%, matured 16 months in American oak barrels—40% new, 3% addition of Petite Sirah, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is an appealing Prosecco from quality pioneer Nino Franco. The winery was founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco and is located in northeast Italy within the prominent wine growing region of Valdobbiadene. Eponymously named for third-generation owner Primo Franco, this Prosecco is unique in the sense that year-after-year, it is 1) produced from the same single parcel in Valdobbiadene, 2) vintage dated, and 3) built to age. A tribute to family members before him—and a way to express the vintage and inherent site characteristics—it was the first wine Primo Franco made after taking over for his father, Nino Franco.Nino Franco 2016 Primo Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG The fruit for this wine is grown on steep hillside vineyards, which naturally limit yields and require manual harvesting—two factors said to bolster the quality of the finished wine. Primo Franco is made from 100% Glera, a high-acid native variety that is the principal grape used in making Prosecco. It has been made for 32 vintages, and a recent thirty-year vertical tasting of Primo Franco proved just how beautifully this wine matures. This is a special and distinct wine in the Nino Franco sparkling portfolio. Limited quantities are made each year, and the wine remains reasonably priced. For further information and where you can find this Prosecco, please check out my tasting notes below.Nino Franco believes that a coupe—the glass pictured—is the perfect celebratory glass to enjoy Prosecco. Grab a bottle of Primo Franco, some glasses (preferably coupes), and sip the day with friends and an appetizing cheese & charcuterie platter. Nino Franco 2016 Primo Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG (SRP $29): Fresh and refined in style, this sparkling wine boasts a seductively smooth and soft mousse, and nicely rounded texture. There are upfront racy flavors of orchard fruit graced by suggestions of sweet peach and apricot. An underpinning—just a wisp—of white flowers and almond paste add complexity. Juicy acidity provides balance as well as lift, and there is a pleasant combination of crispness and creaminess in the wine’s fruit-driven finish. This wine is highly enjoyable and very versatile, having the ability to pair with a wide array of foods. And it is affordable enough to toast the night away any day of the wine week. Region: Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy. Other info: ABV 10.5%, Cuve Close (Tank) method, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.The wines selected for this post are value-driven rosés—sparkling and still. Just because summer is coming to an end, it does not mean you should retire these beauties. Add pink to the beautiful spectrum of colors that autumn brings. After all, drier-style rosés are some of the most versatile and food-friendly wines available. Their refreshing taste, uplifting flavors, and bright acids are perfect for Thanksgiving—particularly with glazed ham, turkey, and all the sandwiches you will enjoy days later. And add a bottle or three to any holiday party or social gathering that’s heavy on finger foods. For further information and where you can find these pink wines, please see my tasting notes below.Les Andides NV Crémant de Loire Brut RoséLes Andides NV Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé (SRP $10): Here’s a very delightful brut rosé for the money. It is fresh, energetic, and fun to drink. Red summer berry flavors are underpinned by subtle orchard fruit and dried rose petals. A persistent stream of tiny bubbles cleanses the palate, and racy acidity makes it versatile with a wide range of foods. Think Sunday brunch fare and party appetizers. I believe this wine is a Lidl US grocery store exclusive. Lidl is a European discount grocer that’s opening myriad stores in the U.S. If there is a Lidl near you, I recommend finding this wine. Not only would this sparkler perform well on your Thanksgiving table, but a bottle of bubbly goes a long way in making holiday shopping and entertaining less stressful. Region: Loire Valley, France. Other info: N/A. Click here to find this wine.Arrogant Frog 2016 ‘Lily Pad Pink’ RoséArrogant Frog 2016 ‘Lily Pad Pink’ Rosé (SRP $9): From Jean-Claude Mas, a mover and shaker in France's Languedoc wine region, this rosé is a pleasing refresher for every day, anytime enjoyment. It offers a pleasant combination of fresh cherries, ripe strawberries, citrus zest, and candied red fruits—redolent of Jolly Ranchers—over crisp, food-friendly, crunchy acidity. I enjoyed a glass with bacon wrapped shrimp while waiting for some burgers and ribs to finish on the grill. Mid glass, I concluded that this rosé had enough oomph to be a great match for the burgers and ribs as well. And it was! Region: Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Other info: ABV 13%, 100% Syrah. Click here to find this wine.Villa María 2016 Private Bin RoséVilla María 2016 Private Bin Rosé (SRP $15): Villa Maria is an award winning producer famous for their satisfying and value-driven Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines grown on the South Island in Marlborough, New Zealand. They also make an agreeable rosé that hits the spot and is made predominantly from Merlot. Its profile is indicative of the warmer climate of Hawke’s Bay—a region on the east coast of the North Island. Medium watermelon in color, this wine is fruit-driven with aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries, hard red candy, tangerine, and a dusty, sweet-like spice, underscored by fresh, brisk acidity. It has a bit of body, but the wine’s bright character provides a welcoming lift. This is a nice bottle to have poolside, in the picnic basket, or at the beach. It is also a good match for grilled foods such as links, veggies, and pork tenderloin. Region: Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand. Other info: ABV 12.5%, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,I recently had an opportunity to participate in one of the many fun-filled virtual events the good folks from Pedroncelli Winery are holding throughout the year to celebrate their 90th anniversary in the wine business. Pedroncelli Winery is located in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley and was founded in 1927 by Giovanni and Julia Pedroncelli. Today, the winery remains family-owned and operated by third and fourth-generation family members. Given the ever-changing wine business landscape, this is no easy feat. I was surprised to learn that throughout the winery’s nine decades in business, there have only been three winemakers. John Pedroncelli, son of Giovanni, oversaw an astounding sixty-seven vintages before Montse Reece was appointed head winemaker following John’s passing.The Pedroncelli’s most embody a passion for family, but also for wine, food, and fun—all key ingredients to their success and longevity in the wine business. This leads me to Julie Pedroncelli St. John, a third generation family member, who has a wonderful collection of family recipes easily accessible via the Pedroncelli Winery website.Pedroncelli 2014 Wisdom Cabernet SauvignonMy task for this virtual chat was to make ribeye steak with black trumpet mushrooms and bleu cheese. The wine pairing was Pedroncelli’s 2014 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon. Talk about a wonderful marriage of flavors: the acidity and tannins in the wine played quite well with the fattiness, char, and flavor of the steak. This is a wine that’s very agreeable with food, and a pairing I recommend trying. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below. And do follow Twitter hashtag #PED90th to join the fun. Be sure to wish the Pedroncelli family ninety more years of producing highly enjoyable wines (that don’t break the bank). The ’14 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon begs to be paired with something rich and flavorful. Pedroncelli 2014 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $36): Aptly named, Wisdom represents the experience gained from farming the same five-acre Cabernet Sauvignon site for the past fifty years. Brilliant deep purple in color, juicy flavors of ripe blackberries and plummy notes are met by complex undercurrents of cedar-box, spice, and espresso bean. This wine is well-structured; there’s good intensity of flavor, nice texture, and grip coming from slow-building, (medium-firm) dusty tannins, all supported by a solid backbone of fresh acidity. The tannins gain momentum on the pleasing, medium-long finish. Age-worthy yet pleasurable now, this delicious Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon over-delivers for the price point. Enjoy a glass with grilled veggies or just about anything off the grill, especially a well-marbled ribeye steak. Region: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.4%, matured 19 months in French oak barrels—40% new, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today I’m enjoying a delicious flute of Ridgeview’s 2013 Fitzrovia Brut Rosé. Ridgeview Wine Estate is a family-run wine company based in the South Downs of Sussex in England. Founded in 1994 by the Roberts family, Ridgeview specializes in growing high-quality sparkling wines using traditional Champagne grapes and methods. English sparklers are deservingly getting more positive press, and consumers are showing an increased interest in these wines. This is probably why I’m starting to see more selections in DC metro wine shops. Even though Champagne is the crème de la crème of the sparkling wine world, exciting new regions like England are worthy of your attention. The region shares similar chalky soils to the Champagne of France and is located approximately 90 miles to the north -- just across the channel. The English sparklers I’ve had thus far have all been rather delightful and reasonably priced. If your local wine shop does not carry any English sparkling wines, the best thing you can do is ask. Ask your favorite restaurants too. For further information and where you can find this delicious bottle of bubbly, please check out my tasting notes below.Ridgeview Wine 2013 Fitzrovia Brut RoséRidgeview Wine 2013 Fitzrovia Brut Rosé (SRP $35): This traditional method sparkler is composed of 80% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Noir, and 3% Pinot Meunier. Pale salmon pink in color, there are appealing aromas and fresh flavors of raspberries, ripe cherries, shortbread, and cream. In the mouth, this wine has a delicate texture with a generous mousse and a persistent stream of tiny bubbles. Crisp acidity frames the fruit, adds lift, and heightens the finish, readying you for another sip. Don’t wait for a special occasion. This delightful sparkler will brighten your day and make any occasion special. It is versatile enough to be an ideal pairing partner for everything from truffle popcorn and fried finger foods, to Sunday brunch fare. Region: Sussex, England. Other info: ABV 12%, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today I’m enjoying a glass of Ron Rubin’s 2013 Syrah from Sonoma County’s Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation. This is one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma County and one of the coolest within Russian River Valley. The region is defined by its trademark foggy marine layer which produces cooler temperatures that are well-suited for varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On the other hand, cool-climate Syrah should not be overlooked; especially from this producer. Syrah is an interesting grape. It’s one of the few varieties that performs superbly well in both cool and warm climates. I prefer the latter, but appreciate both depending on my mood and/or food. Syrah from cool climate regions are generally brighter, showcasing more red fruits, and leaner than their warm weather counterparts. After many years of success in the beverage industry, including recently celebrating 25 years of owning The Republic of Tea, Ron Rubin fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2011 with the founding of his eponymous winery. Situated in Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Mr. Rubin and winemaker Joe Freeman are bringing out the flavors, personality, and unique characteristics of this cool-climate region. This Syrah is quite delicious; reflective of attention to detail and an excellent vintage regarded for exceptional fruit quality. For further information and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below.Ron Rubin 2013 Green Valley of Russian River SyrahRon Rubin 2013 Green Valley of Russian River Valley Syrah (SRP $32): Fruit for this wine was sourced from [Dutton Ranch] Cherry Ridge Vineyard in Green Valley of Russian River Valley. This site possesses just enough sun and heat to ripen Syrah. Remember, this is cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir country. The wine is deep ruby purple in color. Inviting aromas of tart cherry, cranberry, and purple stone fruit mingle with peppery spice, tar, and muted earth-tinged complexities. These aromas extend to the palate through juicy flavors supported by soft, well-integrated tannins and an energetic spine of fresh acidity, ending with a medium-long, persistent finish. Perfect on its own, this Syrah is also very food-friendly. I enjoyed it with herb-crusted rack of lamb. Region: Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.1%, 100% Syrah, clone 877, stainless fermenter, aged 12 months in French oak barrels -- 29% new, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is Bonterra 2016 Rosé. I recently had the pleasure of joining winemaker Sebastian Donoso and other wine personalities on Wine Studio (aka #winestudio), your source for grassroots brand marketing and beverage education, for a virtual Twitter chat. Just last year, Bonterra was named ‘American Winery of the Year’ by Wine Enthusiast magazine. This year, Bonterra – a forerunner of the green movement – celebrates 30 years of organic farming in northern California’s Mendocino County. In total, Bonterra farms 950 acres of CCOF-certified vineyards throughout the area. Their belief: “Organic grapes lead to flavorful, balanced wines perfectly in tune with nature.” Over the years, I have found Bonterra to be a very reliable producer. Their wines represent good value for the money across the spectrum. This is Bonterra’s inaugural vintage of rosé. It is made from organically grown grapes intended solely for the purpose of making rosé. For further information on this beauty, please check out my tasting notes below.Bonterra 2016 Mendocino County Rosé Bonterra 2016 Mendocino County Rosé (SRP $16): Made from 100% organically-grown fruit from Mendocino County, this rosé is primarily composed of Grenache with amounts of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. It is crafted in the Provençal style and sports a beautiful pale salmon color. This wine is very pretty, refreshingly dry, and aromatic with an appealing delicacy. There are enticing aromas and balanced flavors of white stone fruit, pomegranate seed, tea rose, and freshly picked red berries. It is mouthwatering and precise, closing with a clean, crisp finish. Just a lovely rosé. Satisfying on its own, it is versatile enough to enjoy with everything from light summer fare to Thanksgiving dinner. Only 2,000 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Mendocino County, California. Other info: ABV 12.9%, intentional rosé, 100% certified organic, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is Saved 2013 Red Wine. Saved Wines is a collaborative effort between world-renowned tattoo artist Scott Campbell and Napa Valley winemaker Clay Brock. One of Scott’s tattoo designs, an attractive one I might add, is etched on the bottle. The wine is named after his tattoo studio in Brooklyn, New York. Clay, a veteran in the California wine industry, brings 30 years of experience to this artistic endeavor. This wine is a ‘kitchen sink’ of sorts – led by Merlot and Malbec – and made from a total of nine grape varieties; all from the excellent 2013 vintage. For both men, this label symbolizes the freedom and sanctuary one gets by committing fully to their passions.I reached for this wine last weekend when I was out back grilling, and what a great choice. It is supple, robust, and fruit forward in character. It’s just the ticket for a big juicy burger (which I had), ribs slathered with a thick, rich [sweet] sauce, grilled sausage and more. You can find this wine for under $20 and other good deals at Cork Exclusive. Even better, shipping is free on any four or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information, please see my tasting notes below.Saved 2013 Red Saved 2013 Red (SRP $30): This wine pours a deep garnet color. It is made in the kitchen sink approach, led by 27% Merlot, 19% Malbec, 17% Syrah, and 13% Zinfandel, followed by small amounts of Souzão, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Richly fruited, spice-tinged aromas give way to a generous, fruit-forward palate chock-full of upfront flavors redolent of cherry and blackberry preserve, vanilla bean and toasted pastry, trailed by a dusting of sweet baking spices. In the mouth, this wine is full-bodied and richly textured; it's very approachable with mellow tannins and good balancing acidity, ending in a medium-long finish. Though satisfying as a solitary sipper, this wine works very well with just about anything off the summer grill – especially burgers, ribs, or links. Region: California. Other info: ABV 15%, aged for 16 months in French oak barrels – 30% new, cork enclosure.Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $30 and is available for as low as $17.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 4 or more bottles of wine or spirits!This review is sponsored by: Get the Saved 2013 Red Wine for just $17.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 4 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is Arinzano’s 2008 La Casona, a blend of 75% Tempranillo and 25% Merlot. I was introduced to this fine producer through the good folks at Wine Studio, your source for grassroots brand marketing and beverage education. The Arinzano estate is located in northeast Spain, at the crossroads of Rioja Alavesa and Navarra. The historic estate plays host to structures dating back to the 16th century. In 2007, Arinzano became the first site in northeast Spain to receive Vino de Pago status. This is Spain’s top-tier wine designation, above D.O.Ca, given to estates and vineyards that show site-specific growing conditions that impart unique characteristics into a wine. Additionally, all wines must be grown, produced and bottled on property and meet quality standards. It is worth noting that this wine was bottle aged for nearly 8 years and released in 2015. And it is important to understand that a winery holding a wine back for this long is the exception rather than the rule. Arinzano made the decision to bottle age the wine for the consumer; holding it back until it was deemed ready to drink. Extended time in bottle helps integrate flavors, develop complexities, and soften any youthful tannins, among other beneficial things.Of Arinzano’s three red wines --Hacienda and Gran Vino being the other two – winemaker Diego Ribbert says “La Casona is an expression of our terroir: good body and concentration from Tempranillo; and Merlot for red fruit character.” I can tell you that the La Casona is drinking nicely right now. And this is a great opportunity to enjoy a wine with some age on it at a price point that is reasonable for a wine of this quality and character. For further information and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below.Arinzano 2008 La CasonaArinzano 2008 La Casona (SRP $39): La Casona is a blend of 75% Tempranillo and 25% Merlot. This wine pours a brilliant, medium-dark ruby color. It is full-bodied and deeply flavorful, marked by energy and freshness. There are enticing aromas of blackberry, black cherry, sweet exotic spices, forest floor, and cedar dust. On the palate, lifted flavors mirror the aromas, supported by dusty tannins and a firm spine of acidity that really holds this wine together nicely. It ends with notable grip on the medium-long, finish. Winemaker Diego Ribbert recommends pairing this wine with barbecue fare; and I couldn’t agree more. This wine has a good bit of life left, so enjoy a few bottles now and consider some for your cellar. I do suggest letting this wine breathe for at least 30 minutes in your favorite decanter before serving. Approximately 1,100 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Navarra, Spain. Other info: ABV 14%, maturation 14 months in French oak barrels – 40% new, 60% second use, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is Achaval Ferrer’s 2015 Mendoza Malbec. Once a popular blending component in Bordeaux; Malbec has established itself as a major player in Argentina. Malbec’s birthplace may be Cahors (SW France), which I also enjoy sipping, but from my point of view, Argentina – specifically the Mendoza region, has put Malbec on the radar of wine lovers around the globe. The more approachable, fruit-forward examples of Malbec with fine tannins and round textures can be quite appealing without breaking the piggy bank. Today, I regularly see Mendoza Malbec poured and promoted at weekend wine shop tastings, on restaurant wine lists, and even ‘on tap’ at some gourmet burger chains in the area. This was not so much the case ten years ago, and the quality-to-price ratio is generally high which bodes well for consumers.One of the leaders in quality Argentinian Malbec is Achaval Ferrer. Founded in 1995, Achaval Ferrer, I say from experience, is as reliable as they come. Buy with confidence. This talented producer has really tapped into the varying soil types, elevations, and meso-climates in Mendoza, expressing the diversity of the region through the grape: Malbec. You’ll find the distinction in their three single-vineyard Malbec wines; their lovely Malbec-based blend, Quimera; and their regional Mendoza Malbec – the wine that is the subject of this post. With the warm weather season upon us, the 2015 Mendoza Malbec is just the ticket for backyard cookouts and dinner tables. It pairs great with just about anything off the grill; particularly burgers, lamb sausage, ribs, and grilled portobello mushrooms. For further information and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below.Achaval Ferrer 2015 Mendoza Malbec Achaval Ferrer 2015 Mendoza Malbec (SRP $25): This Malbec pours a deep ruby-garnet color. Inviting dark fleshed plum and black cherry aromas are joined on the palate by licorice, pretty floral notes suggestive of lilacs, and a smidgen of fennel on the back-end. In the mouth, this wine is filling yet nicely balanced with fine, round tannins, lifted acids, and a finely textured medium-long finish. It is worth noting that the 2015 growing season in Mendoza was challenging: marked by rainfall, hail events, and warmth. Production totals for the winery were half that of 2013. Even though quantity was down, quality was kept consistently good due to continuous attention to detail in the vineyard. Hard work paid off and is expressed in this delicious bottle of wine. This Malbec would be a great addition to any dinner or backyard cookout. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 14.5%, fruit sourced from Uco Valley, Luján de Cuyo, and Medrano, aged 9 months in 2-year old French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is the 2013 Chianti Classico from Rocca Di Castagnoli. Chianti is a large wine producing region in Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the most popular and recognizable Italian wine regions in the world. And the Sangiovese grape variety is the undisputed king of the region. For Chianti Classico, a minimum of 80% percent of Sangiovese is required by law. This wine is composed of 90% Sangiovese with additions of 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino. The fruit was sourced from the high altitude hills near the village of Gaiole. The resultant wine is expressive and well-balanced, meeting all the expectations of a delicious Chianti Classico. This wine retails for $25 but is under $20 at Cork Exclusive. Even better, free shipping is offered on any purchase of four or more bottles of wines or spirits. Given the time of year, I recommend this wine for backyard cookouts as well as weeknight pizza dinners. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.Rocca Di Castagnoli 2013 Chianti ClassicoRocca Di Castagnoli 2013 Chianti Classico (SRP $25): This Chianti Classico pours ruby-red with purple hues. Inviting scents of leather, mint, and muted dried herbs accent tart cherry and red licorice flavors. In the mouth, it is medium-bodied, fresh and a little juicy, with nice texture, all supported by slightly dusty tannins and notable vivacity. A pleasing, fruity finish caps off this delightful sipper. Overall, an expressive wine that’s great for everyday drinking and also a great match for pizza, red sauce dishes, and just about anything off the grill. Region: Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, cork enclosure.Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $25 and is available for as low as $18.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 4 or more bottles of wine or spirits!This review is sponsored by: Get the Rocca Di Castagnoli 2013 Chianti Classico for just $18.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 4 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"
Hello Friends, Today’s Quick Sip is Square Peg’s 2014 SP-SL Block 8 Pinot Noir. Square Peg is owned by Brad Alper, a former commercial pilot, and his wife Alanna Roth, an accomplished artist. Their SP-SL vineyard is named for Square Peg’s estate location on Stoetz Lane in western Sonoma County. This Russian River Valley site is co-located in two Sonoma County appellations: Green Valley and Sonoma Coast. These two regions are some of California’s most highly regarded viticultural areas for growing expressive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Square Peg practices dry-farming, meaning no irrigation; they only rely on natural rainfall for growing wine grapes. This practice sets them apart from many of their neighbors. Dry-farming not only conserves water and energy, but many wine-growers say it produces more balanced, concentrated flavors. Wine-growers will also assert that dry-farming is the only truest way to express the unique character of the vineyard (or what we refer to as terroir). Square Peg is located five minutes from the town of Occidental and is a tasting room and art gallery, featuring bronze sculptures, mosaics, glass, and paintings by artist-in-residence, the aforementioned Mrs. Roth. Her artwork is stunning and can be viewed virtually at alanaroth.com. The Block 8 Pinot Noir is delicious and an excellent candidate for your dinner table. For further information and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below. Square Peg 2014 SP-SL Block 8 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Square Peg 2014 SP-SL Block 8 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (SRP $55): This delicious, dry-farmed estate-grown Pinot Noir is a blend of 80% 828 and 20% Calera clones. It pours a medium ruby-purple color. Inviting aromas redolent of black cherry, raspberry, and cranberry fill the nose. The aromas extend to the palate and are joined by notes of sweet savory spice and hints of incense. Medium-bodied and harmonious, this wine has a lovely mouth-feel with ripe tannins and a good lift of acidity providing energy from start to finish. This appealing wine would be an excellent addition to any dinner table. It is enjoyable now yet a good candidate for short to mid-term cellaring. Only 170 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, 100% dry-farmed, un-fined & unfiltered, matured in Francois Freres and Tonnellerie Ô barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Have a question about this post? Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. And please stay tuned, there's more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.
Hello Friends, Today’s Quick Sipis Quinta De Cabriz 2012 Reserva from Portugal's Dão wine region. Located south of the renowned Douro Valley, world famous for fortified wines (i.e., Port); the Dão region is notable for its dry red table wines. Touriga Nacional, a key component in fine ports, is indigenous to Dão. It is the leading red grape in the area and all DOC red blends require a minimum of 20%. Other grapes used in the region's wines are Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Alfrocheiro Preto, and Jaen (Mencia), just to name a few. Those of you familiar with red blends from Portugal know the region regularly delivers good everyday wines at affordable price points.Since many of us have turned the corner to spring, it's time to invite family and friends over and fire up the grill. Portuguese reds are wonderful wines to have on hand for backyard cookouts or anytime enjoyment. You can find this wine for well under $20 and other good deals at Cork Exclusive. And this offer is a great opportunity to stock up! Even better, shipping is free on any three or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information, please see my tasting notes below.Quinta De Cabriz 2012 ReservaQuinta De Cabriz 2012 Dão Reserva (SRP $20): This wine is a savory blend composed of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Alfrocheiro Preto, and 30% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo). Medium deep ruby-red in color, aromas and flavors of purple stone fruit and red licorice give way to violets, spice, and understated notes of forest-floor earthiness. Fine-grain tannins and pleasant acidity produce a streamlined and balanced mouthfeel, ending with a nice dollop of spice on the finish. This satisfying blend is ready to be opened, poured, and enjoyed. This wine would be an excellent addition to any cookout or feast. Region: Dão, Portugal. Other info: ABV 13.5%, long skin maceration, matured in French oak barrels, cork enclosure.Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $20 and is available for as low as $14.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!This review is sponsored by: Get the Quinta De Cabriz 2012 Reserva for just $14.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned -- more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip is Mer Soleil 2014 Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands, an appellation in Monterey, California, well-regarded for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Planted on hillside vineyards near the Monterey Bay, Mer Soleil, meaning sea and sun, reflects the setting where the grapes are grown. The Mer Soleil site was established in 1988 and is blessed with abundant sunshine and cooling maritime influences. Chardonnay, as many of you know, is made in several styles and can show a wide range of character. This example is no doubt on the riper side, heightened by oak aging, yet benefits from a firm underpinning of acidity that keeps everything fresh. For readers who find themselves in the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club, this selection may compel you to cancel your membership and enjoy Chardonnay again. This Chardonnay retails for $40 but can be found at Cork Exclusive for $27.99. Even better, free shipping is offered on any purchase of three or more bottles of wines or spirits. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below. Mer Soleil 2014 Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands ChardonnayMer Soleil 2014 Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay (SRP $40): Produced by the Wagner Family, makers of the popular Caymus Cabernet Saugvignon, this light golden, straw colored Chardonnay is ripe, full-bodied, and expressive. Flavors of spiced pear, grilled pineapple and citrus blossom, interweave with quince, butter cream and honeysuckle notes. Bright acidity balances the mouth-filling richness, lifting the fruit and adding freshness through the pleasing, honeyed finish. A nice sipper on its own, this is also a fine bottle of wine to enjoy with smoked salmon, fettuccine alfredo, and rich seafood, veggie or poultry dishes in rich, butter or cream sauces. Region: Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey, California. Other info: ABV 14.7%, partial ML, fermented and matured in new and used French oak barrels for 12-15 months, natural cork enclosure, recommended serving temperature 55°. Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $40 and is available for as low as $27.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!This review is sponsored by: Get the Mer Soleil 2014 Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay for just $27.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned -- more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!
Hello Friends,Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn. The wines selected for this post are rock-solid, small-production Cabernet Francs from the west coast. Cabernet Franc, along with Sauvignon Blanc, are the genetic parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. I know this seems unlikely on the surface, but they really did manage to produce the beloved variety many hail as the undisputed King of Reds. On the west coast, however, Cabernet Franc is generally made in a somewhat riper, more generous style with an intensity and structure that can sometimes bear a resemblance to Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, you can easily get a feel for the relationship between these wines, and even be tricked in a blind tasting. In my opinion, west coast Cabernet Francs are natural partners to grilled fare. And with grilling season upon us, these are very nice wines to have on hand for small outdoor dinner parties with family and good friends. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.Leah Jorgensen Cellars 2015 Cabernet FrancLeah Jorgensen Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc (SRP $25): This wine is crafted by self-professed wine nerd and social media rock star Leah Jorgensen. Inspired by the lovely red wines of France’s Loire Valley, Ms. Jorgensen tapped into her southern Oregon roots and specializes in the production of expressive wines centered on Cabernet Franc -- the signature red-wine grape of the Loire. Fruit for this bottling was sourced from Crater View Ranch and Sundown Vineyard, both LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) certified sites in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley appellation. This gorgeous wine delivers a harmonious melody of red plum, black cherry, spiced fruitcake, tea rose, and trailing cacao nib aromas and flavors – with layers of fresh fruit being more prevalent on the palate. It has a succulent texture with good depth and length. Perfect with grilled fare, including chicken, pork, lamb sausage, and veggies -- especially something like a portobello mushroom burger. A very satisfying and enjoyable southern Oregon-grown Cabernet Franc well worth seeking out. Only 243 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Rogue Valley, Oregon. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured in mostly used French oak barrels along with some stainless steel, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Dracaena Wines Paso Robles 2014 Cabernet FrancDracaena Wines Paso Robles 2014 Cabernet Franc (SRP $32): Dracaena Wines is owned and operated by wine lovers Lori and Michael Budd. Pursuing their passion for wine and with plans to retire to California, the couple purchased property in Arroyo Grande to fulfil their dream. Pronounced druh-see-nuh, the winery’s name and label honors the memory of their Weimaraner; a companion and friend of 14 years. The Budds are also the founders of the hugely popular #CabFrancDay, an international celebration of the grape that occurs every December 4th on Twitter (if you are a producer, ping them if you’re interested in getting involved). Their 2014 Cabernet Franc is fruit-forward and lush, with inviting aromas of ripe red berries; namely raspberry and black cherry, alongside notes of plum preserve. The aromas extend to the palate, and are accented by spice-infused milk & dark chocolate bark with suggestions of toasted vanilla bean. A generous wine with ample richness, it manages to remain surprisingly light on its feet; though it is very much full-bodied -- just well proportioned. A 10% addition of Petite Sirah adds dimension and oomph, increasing the wine’s pleasure factor. Region: Paso Robles, California. Other info: ABV 14.3%, aged in one year old French oak barrels for 2 years, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Ehlers Estate 2013 Cabernet FrancEhlers Estate 2013 Cabernet Franc (SRP $60): Ehlers Estate is situated just north of the town of St. Helen in Napa County and specializes in Bordeaux-inspired varietal wines; all grown on their historic 42-acre vineyard. The site is bio-dynamically farmed and 100% certified organic. A non-interventionist approach is employed in the cellar to craft estate-grown wines that best reflect the unique characteristics of the growing season and site. Ehlers Estate’s 2013 Cabernet Franc is an appealing wine from an exceptional vintage. Deep purple in color, this full-bodied wine offers expressive aromas and flavors filled with high-toned red berry fruits and plum joined by a generous sprinkling of brown baking spice and a delicate wisp of sweet cream. A seamless texture and ripe tannins give way to a fruit-driven finish of admirable length. Region: St. Helena, Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.2%, 100% CCOF Certified Organic, 100% Cabernet Franc, matured 100% French oak – 50% new, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine. Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were samples provided for review. Thoughts are my own.Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!
Hello Friends,Today’s Quick Sip comes to me from Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Argentina. These wines are made from 100% estate-grown fruit from the family’s high-altitude vineyards (3,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level). Founded in 1902 by Italian immigrant, Nicola Catena, the winery remains under family control and is overseen by third and fourth-generation family members Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura. This is not my first rodeo with the wines of Bodega Catena. This producer is well-regarded for quality-driven wines that consistently deliver good value. For that reason, it is good to have a few bottles on hand for your upcoming backyard cookouts and last-minute get-togethers. I’ve reviewed the 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Malbec for this post. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below. Bodega Catena Zapata 2014 ChardonnayBodega Catena Zapata 2014 Chardonnay (SRP $20): Fruit for this Chardonnay was sourced from three high-altitude vineyards, all owned by the Catena family that range from 3,100 to 4,700 feet. Aromas of pear tart, citrus blossom and spiced fruitcake are joined on the palate by yellow-fleshed fruit flavors and floral notes. It is noticeably round with a sweet, mouth-filling texture supported by adequate acidity and freshness. A very enjoyable Chardonnay; it ends with a faint mineral streak and overtones of spice lingering on the medium-long finish. Try a bottle with pasta, risotto dishes or oven-roasted chicken. It’s also a satisfying solitary sipper. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, partial ML, matured in new-to-two year old French oak barrels for 10 months, bottled aged 12 months, and natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Bodega Catena Zapata 2013 MalbecBodega Catena Zapata 2013 Malbec (SRP $24): This is a deeply colored and concentrated Malbec boasting aromas and flavors suggestive of dark stone fruit and blackberry preserve intertwined with rose petals, cedar/peppery spice, and underlying hints of wild herbs. On the palate, this wine is medium- bodied with fine, sweet tannins. It has just enough acidity to lift the fruit and provide balance. The texture shows flavor density and richness that carries through the medium-long, earth-tinged finish. This is an overall very satisfying wine; especially when paired with heartier dishes such as leg of lamb, pot roast or pork chops. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured in new-to-two year old French oak barrels for 12-14 months, bottled aged 10 months, and natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine. Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!
Hello Friends,Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn.The wines selected for this post all are from lesser-known wine regions. I often refer to such wines as ‘hidden gems’. One of the more exciting aspects of wine is branching out and discovering regions that tend to fall off the radar of most consumers. Just because these regions are not well known does not mean they cannot deliver on quality. In fact, many of them are more than worthy of your attention. Experiencing such wines can be eye-opening and palate-expanding; and you just may find a new favorite to add to your regular sipping rotation. For further information and where you can find these hidden gems, please see my tasting notes below.Chateau Musar 2004 Bekaa Valley RougeChateau Musar 2004 Gaston Hochar Rouge (SRP $53): Pale-medium garnet in color, this medium-bodied wine leads with tart red berry fruit, dried cranberries and earthy flavors framed by notes of worn leather, sweet tobacco leaf, forest floor, dried flowers, and fennel seed. It is well-balanced with a generous underpinning of fresh acidity supporting a sleek yet age-worthy frame. This wine opens nicely over time, and ends with more earth and funk-like qualities than the red fruits you catch up-front. What I really like about this wine is its ability to simultaneously juggle a savory complexity coupled with pretty aspects while being anchored by a downright funky core. If you prefer old-world wines with a lot of character, I recommend putting this Lebanese winery on your radar. You will not be disappointed. Region: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Other info: ABV 13.5%, composition: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Cinsault, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Linden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble RedLinden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble Red (SRP $40): This Cabernet Sauvignon-based blended wine is medium-bodied, supple, and rather streamlined. It offers up a delightful mélange of red berry compote, sun-dried tomatoes, savory herbs, and spice box flavors that are held together by a well-focused frame of firm acidity; a Linden trademark. Rustic yet charming, this is an excellent food wine; especially with earthy dishes. For my readers unfamiliar with the wines of Virginia, this producer is an excellent place to start. You can expect well-made, 100% estate-grown red and white wines that are long-lived and acid-driven as opposed to flavor-driven. Only 454 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Fauquier County, Virginia. Other info: ABV 13.5%, 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Franc, unfined & unfiltered, matured 18 months in new and used French and Hungarian oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Truro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet FrancTruro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc (SRP $17.99): What a pleasant [estate-grown] surprise from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This wine is lean, fruit-forward and easy-drinking with well-balanced, yet round acids supporting black raspberry and high-toned red berry fruit aromas and flavors. A dusting of black pepper and baking spice caps off this enjoyable sipper. This is your go-to wine for red sauce dishes, pizza, and grilled burgers. Region: Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Other info: ABV 12.5%, matured 18 months in used American oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy sipping, my friends!Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!