KEEP Picpoul / Grenache Blanc 2016

Keep Picpoul/Grenache Blanc

Picpoul and Grenache Blanc, grapes commonly found in Southern France, are the ingredients in this tangy, low-alcohol (10.5%), mouth-watering white wine. I get “Lemon Three Ways,” as in lemon zest, lemongrass and lemon pulp. Green apples and honeysuckle too. If a wine can be called fun, this would qualify. Serve well chilled with shellfish, vegetable […]

VILLA VARDA Friulano 2017

Villa Varda Friulano

A native grape to Friuli, Friulano flourishes next to the better known, better-selling Pinot Grigio grape (Villa Varda also makes a delicious Pinot Grigio for about the same price, by the way). Zippy and earthy (in a crushed white rock kind of way), the Villa Varda Friulano brings together a bright, citrus-driven fruitiness and a […]

TERRIEN Pinot Noir 2015

Terrien Pinot Noir

If you like a little “meat” to your Pinot Noir, get this. Reason being, along with the wild cherry, red currant and blood orange associated with cool climate Pinot Noir (and this is indeed cool – see note below), get raw dry-aged beef, or rare lamb loin, or sausage aging room, or all of them. […]

COCHON Chardonnay “Les Collines d’Or” 2016

Cochon Chardonnay Collines d'Or

Cochon Wineries’ first foray into Chardonnay. This is a “little bit of everything not too much of anything” style. Subtle yet unmistakable “Chardonnay flavors” of honeydew melon, fresh pear, lemon custard, hazelnut, sweet butter and wheat toast here, with a jasmine/rocky component too. Nice, rounded texture, medium acidity and low oak. I find this an […]

VILLA VARDA Friuli Grave – Refosco 2016

Villa Varda Refosco

Starts out with aromas of brambly berries (black and raspberries), anise, black pepper and rosemary. Taste is more of the same with no one flavor dominating the others. Summertime berries, rosemary/thyme, peppercorns and black truffle. All lightly polished by gentle winemaking and brief time in barrel. Reminds me of high quality Côtes du Rhône (which […]

PETIT BATARD Napa Valley 2013

Petit Batard Red Wine

1/3rd each Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec from Lewelling Ranch, St. Helena and Oakville Station, Oakville. A sturdy, spicy frame of toasty oak (38 months in 1/3rd new French) introduces the wine. Then ripe blackberries, kirsch, black licorice, clove and dark chocolate step forward. Big flavor throughout, firm structure yet supple with sweet sensations. This […]

SOJOURN Pinot Noir “Gaps Crown” 2016

Sojourn Pinot Gap's Crown

Powerhouse, hearty, deep and dark nose of black cherry, cola, toasted French oak and cinnamon stick. It’s a bell-ringer in the mouth with potent fruit (very ripe & dark red berries/cherries), pie spice and black licorice flavors. Full-bodied for Pinot Noir with smooth tannins and medium-low acidity. This is Sojourn’s “bigger is better” Pinot Noir […]

POSEIDON Chardonnay 2016

Poseidon Chardonnay

Begins with aromas of ripe pears, lemon curd and fresh, toasty biscuits. Taste honeydew melon, quince paste, ripe lemon, honey-grahams and pear tart. Pie spice, fresh butter and toasty brown pie crust on the finish. This has all the flavors that make rich Chardonnay drinkers cry, “YES!”  It’s a full-flavored Chardonnay with grace. What the […]

VERONICA ORTEGA Mencia “ROC” 2013

Veronica Ortega Mencia ROC

Dark plums, black raspberries, white pepper, lavender and cocoa on the nose set the stage for this particularly strong, well structured Bierzo. Deep dark berry fruits + a little pomegranate syrup combine with white pepper, dried violets and lavender and dry Provence herbs in the mouth. Intense, full-flavored and age-worthy. Compared to excellent Red Burgundy […]

Trinoro “Le Cupole” Rosso 2015

Le Cupole Trinoro

Since the late 1990s Tenuta di Trinoro’s Bordeaux-style red blends have been some of the world’s buys. The 2015 Trinor0 Le Cupole Rosso is 58% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. All “Estate” fruit located in the southeast corner of Tuscany. Powerful, dark, spiced and very structured (tannic) today, this is built […]

J. RICKARDS Cabernet Sauvignon “A.V. Select” 2016

J Rickards Cabernet AV Select

An extrovert of a Cabernet, the J Rickards “AV Select” Cabernet is full of black cherry liqueur, ripe blackberries, toasty oak, espresso and mint smells and flavors. Rich, mouth-filling, juicy and strong but not at all tannic, this sexy, simple, full-flavored Cabernet hits the bold style it’s going for bulls-eye. If I owned a steak-house […]

COMANDO G La Bruja de Rozas 2016

La Bruja de Rozas

All Garnacha (Grenache), 50-80 year old vines, in the high altitude, rocky & rugged Sierra de Gredos mountains outside of Madrid. La Bruja de Rozas, the “entry level” multi-vineyard sourced Grenache from Comando G Winery, is just fantastic. Fermented in concrete tank then aged in super-big, mostly neutral oak barrel. Very pretty and intense, showing […]

PHILIP STALEY Sangiovese Rosé 2017

Philip Staley Sangiovese Rose

On the denser, fuller-flavored side of Rosé, Sangiovese’s character comes out (from picking a touch later…this is 14.1% alcohol). Smell and taste wild cherry (cherry skins keep coming to mind – a texture thing), red plums, dry Italian herbs, peach pit, pomegranate and a  touch of cracked black pepper. While it’s graceful and has the […]

HERENCIA ALTES Garnatxa Negra Rose 2017

Herencia Altes Garnatxa Rose

Very friendly, dry Rosé from Terra Alta in Spanish Catalonia. Picked for Rosé and direct press (Intentional Rosé), this wine has all the delicious qualities of Grenache/Garnacha/Garnatxa. Strawberries, watermelon, fresh pink roses, a dusting of black pepper. Big chill it and drink with gusto. Visit my complete list of Rosé wines here.

Leaf & Vine Carignane Evanghelo 2015

Leaf & Vine Carignane

Smells of deep raspberry and blueberry, lavender, black peppercorns and coriander. The taste continues on with the same along, adding black licorice, mint, dark strawberry and pomegranate. This has soft tannins, lift of acidity and a pleasing juiciness and warmth to it. Food wise, you can go lots of directions here. My first thought is […]

CALIPASO Zinfandel 2014

Calipaso Zinfandel

In an era where restraint is a wine buzz-word, it’s oddly refreshing to taste and thoroughly enjoy a classic Paso Robles JAMMY Zinfandel. Smell and taste blueberry and blackberry jam, whiffs of cinnamon & black pepper, moderate amounts of spicy/toasty/Bourbon-y oak and hard black cherry/blackberry candies. What’s key here is that wine is well-made…no or […]

Maison L’Envoye Bourgogne Blanc 2014

Maison L'Envoye Bourgogne Blanc

There’s an ocean of Chardonnay out there. What to choose of the, oh I don’t know, 50 different Chardonnay labels standing in front of you? Afraid there’s no secret sauce to share with you. I can give tips, however, which leads me to this specific recommendation. Check out a few Bourgogne Blancs when you’re in […]

POGGIOTONDO Chianti “Biologico” 2016

Poggiotondo Chianti

This is a darker, riper expression of a straight-up, under $20 Chianti. That said, the savory, food-friendly acidity we like from Chianti is there. Smell and taste dark red cherries, black olives, dried Italian herbs and cocoa. This makes an excellent “house wine” to drink up with white and light red meats, sausages and tomato […]

Frog’s Leap Rosé 2017

Frogs Leap Rose

Stalwart Napa winery gets Carignane (92%) and Valdiguie (8%) to make their purposeful Rosé. “Provencal style,” in the words of Frog’s Leap founder, owner and co-winemaker John Williams. This has a light orange/brick red color then gentle aromas of lavender, strawberry, thyme, orange tea and crushed white peppercorns. Taste is more of the same, falling […]

GOBELSBURG Rosé “Cistercian” 2017

Gobelsburg Rose

Zweigelt and St Laurent, two red grapes most associated with Austria, make this delicious Rosé wine. Smell and taste red plums, raspberries, blood orange, cracked pepper and basil. Dry as can be, a sizzle of acidity, both refreshing and substantial. This winner is a bargain amongst bargains. Schloss Gobelsburg continues to be one of Austria’s […]

FONTARECHE Corbieres Rose 2017

Fontareche Corbieres Rose

Ancient wine appellation Corbieres in South Central France continues to make solid, great value wines. Here’s a great example. Grapes are 50% Picpoul Noir, 25% Grenache, 25% Syrah. A darker color and textured mouthfeel makes me think it’s saignee but I don’t know this for sure. Smell and taste fresh strawberries and plums plus tobacco, […]

ROUGE-BLEU Rosé “Dentelles” 2017

Rouge Bleu Rose

A Southern Rhone Valley combo of 50% Grenache, 50% Carignane. This sports an attractive nose of ripe strawberry, raspberry, peach and lime. The taste is bright as a sunny summer day: a smack of acidity with the red fruits holding up to the tang. Classic bits of peppercorn, thyme and fennel ring in. Overall, a […]

FORTUNATI Rosé “Pranzo” 2017

Fortunati Rose

Made from 100% Syrah from Fortunati’s “Estate” vineyard in owner/winemaker Ellen and Gary Luchtel’s backyard. (Gary makes the wine.) A “purposeful Rosé.” Smell and taste black pepper, ripe red plums, fresh blue and raspberry, touch of lavender and coriander. I really like the slightly chewy texture while staying super-fresh and tangy. Fortunati nailed it for […]

WEST and WILDER ROSÉ Can

West and Wilder Rose

Each snazzy-looking can has 1/3rd bottle, thus a 3-pack box is 750 ML-same as a standard size bottle. Pinot Noir-based Rosé from unspecified California coastal vineyards. Get wild strawberry, white pepper, talc, fresh skin-on peach, green tea, red plums and cherries both on the nose and in the mouth. Texture is prickly in a good […]