Monthly Archives: July 2014

Malbecs of value

The bottle is taller than most, and the label is a sophisticated deep purple with an etched silver logo of a framed image of the mountains in Mendoza, Argentina. Script letters spell out “Reserva” and you know it’s got to be good. This is a bottle of Don Miguel Gascon 2011 Reserva Malbec. Although it is priced at $25, you could probably find a bottle for $19, according to my Vivino app, that is.

I love the Vivino app that automatically rates wines simply from a picture you take of the label using your iPhone. This reserve malbec received a 3.8 star rating out of 5, and some of the review comments included:

– dry with light fruit afternote

– ripe flavorful fruits upfront with a dark chocolate finish. Easy drinking malbec.

– Very fruity

I agree with the fact that this is an easy drinking malbec (with 3% petit verdot), as you don’t need to drink it with food. It’s a good standalone. Globally, this wine ranked 304,417 out of 1,963,762 in the Vivino rating, with a high ranking of its winery, wine region and country. It notes food pairings of beef, spicy food, mature and hard cheese and poultry.

Another wine I tried was the Don Miguel Gascon 2012 malbec ($15), which is 100% malbec grapes from Mendoza, and intense with aromas of dark berry, plum and maybe even some mocha. Taste-wise, you can feel some spice, licorice and chocolate leading to a delightful long, velvet finish.

Go Garcon!

Happy 50th to Gallo Family Vineyard wines

What better way to celebrate Gallo’s 50th anniversary than with its throwback Hearty Burgundy signature wine, best served with friends coincidentally named Gallo during their Fourth of July cookout. Well, that’s when I opened this bottle of Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy, and it was shared throughout in toasts and in celebration.

Two grapes were used in making this wine: petite sirah and zinfandel, remain in the contemporary blend. But over the past 5 decades, the blend has been fine-tuned with petit verdot and alicante bouschet — all California grapes in this large bottle that costs a mere $9, and tastes, well, actually pretty darn good.

Dark berries and plum flavors of this wine pair well with Italian meats and hard cheeses — or anything hearty. This is a wine to celebrate in the spirit of Gallo! 

Guest post: Sicily – A wine lover’s paradise

If you’re planning a trip to Sicily, at Winerist, we recommend staying for at least 4 days. However, if you’re lucky enough to have more time at your disposal, we’ve got some fantastic tours to help you fully explore Sicily and get the most out of your wine experience.

Wine, Art and Culture in Sicily – 9 Days

Immerse yourself in everything Sicilian with this comprehensive 9 day tour. During your holiday you’ll discover spectacular Sicilian wine in several of the island’s best wineries and learn all there is to know about the wine-making process.

Food lovers, get ready to sample some of Sicily’s finest flavors and foods. Dine in the best places including a Michelin Starred restaurant and explore Italian cuisine at its finest.  And, if you become hungry to learn how to cook your very own Sicilian specialties, enjoy cooking lessons from the locals!

You’ll visit the beautiful towns of Marsala, Erice, Palermo, Agrigento, Ragusa and Salinute and each night you will stay at luxurious resorts with plenty of pampering options on offer. With everything carefully planned for you, all that’s left to remain is sit back, put your feet up and relax.

A Kaleidoscope of Sizzling Cultures – 12 Days

Uncover Sicily’s most fascinating places and historic spots on this 12 day tour. Visit Palermo, Monreale, Segesta, Erice, Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Segesta and Siracusa and the gorgeous hilltop town of Taormina.

Experience the best of Sicilian culture, architecture and art, which will be complemented with a private wine tasting at one of the most beautiful wineries in Sicily. With plenty on the itinerary including exploring Mount Etna by Jeep, or private cooking classes, you’ll truly get a taste of Sicily.

Only visiting Sicily for a few days? No problem – we have the perfect pick of hotels to make your trip memorable.

Castello di San Marco Hotel & Spa

Located between Taormina and Mount Etna, this stunning castle represents a splendid example of Sicilian Baroque architecture and is well described as a part of Sicilian history. Not only does it serve as a fantastic base to explore the island, but it is also provides the perfect place to relax with its adjoining spa and beauty centre.

Borgo Alveria

The intimate Borgo Alveria is a historical resort surrounded by breath-taking nature. With its serene setting, this hotel is the perfect holiday resort to unwind – a place for meditation, discovery and adventure.

Planning a trip to Sicily? Find out all you need to know with our Sicily Expert Travel Guide.

Three cheers for 2 reds: Frei Brothers

Cookout season is in full swing and if you’re the lucky host, you should be receiving lots of host gifts in bottle form. So, whether you’re a host or a lucky guest, here are two really great choices to ensure you’ll be invited back next year:

1) Frei Brothers Reserve 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($22.99)
This is a wine worthy of applause. So spectacular is this Russian River Valley gem, you’ll want to stock up before it’s gone for good. Made with grapes from the cool climate of the Valley’s vineyards, this wine is bright in color and rich with cherry and black fruit flavors. It’s got depth, and that’s a good thing.

2) Frei Brothers Reserve 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($22.99)
There are more bottles of this wine on the shelves, so it’s not as urgent to stock up, but you’ll want to grab a bottle or two whenever you see this smooth cab from California’s Alexander Valley.

What’s even more special about Frei Brothers wines is that they are produced with eco-friendliness in mind. They have reduced their electricity enough to power 20 homes for an entire year; they’ve reduced their water use enough to supply 54 homes for a year, and their goal is to use half of the propane, which is the equivalent to removing 80 vehicles from the road in a year.

It’s all about the earth in mind when this wine is being produced, and it’s funny because when you taste it, all you think about is the terroir of earthy, richness that comes out in flavors so elegant and smooth, your mood is sure to lift off into a feel of luxury when you enjoy a glass given to you — merely because you wanted to host a cookout.