Tag Archives: quintessential wines

Cabernet Season is in full swing

In the U.S., and especially in Napa Valley, Cabernet Season is an actual term. It’s a time when the vines are dormant and the weather is cooler; drinking robust red wines is preferred by many during the winter months.

In Australia, however, it is summertime and more than likely people are enjoying white wines with shrimp on the barbie. But that doesn’t stop wine drinkers in the U.S. from enjoying a 2014 Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown in McLaren Vale. This deep ruby wine is truly a quality cabernet sauvignon, and priced at $58.99 a bottle. Aged for 19 months in 100 percent French oak (33% new oak, 11% 1-year-old oak and 56% 2-year-old oak), the vines were cared for in sustainable farming practices.

Enjoy this medium-to-full bodied wine with hearty dishes and red meats.

In Lodi, where old zinfandel vines rule, there’s also a cabernet sauvignon that leaps to attention. I’m referring to a 2017 Leaping Horse Cabernet Sauvignon made with 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc and 10% syrah — a perfect combination for a wine flavored with black currant and cherry, a bit of blueberry jam, eucalyptus and mint, with notes of vanilla and coffee. Drink it now, seriously! At $9.99 a bottle, you can really stock up for dinners of hearty stews, beef-based soups, grilled BBQ meats and pasta dishes with red sauce. Yes, it works!

Finally, let’s head to Napa Valley to enjoy a 2014 Eponymous Cabernet Sauvignon made with 100% of that noble grape. It’s inky color, deep berry flavor and complexity of aromas: baking spices, rosemary, blackberries make this wine a steal for $59.99 a bottle. The grapes for this polished wine hail from Mt. Veeder and the bench lands below Atlas Peak Appellation. It’s rich earthiness and plentiful tannin structure leads to a lingering finish and a yearning to purchase more of this goodness that goes well with red meats, lamb and cheeses.

Three amazing cabernet sauvignon wines during Cabernet Season. Enjoy!

Sparkling from Italy to Argentina

As you prepare to ring in the New Year, you can begin in style and within reasonable cost with two sparkling wines worthy of the lead.

#1 – Vino dei Fratelli Vintage Prosecco 2016 ($17.99 or less)

They say ancient Romans drank Prosecco to preserve youth and to lengthen their lifespan. The empire lasted quite a while, so there may be something to Prosecco more than the high value, low-cost factor.

Prosecco is made with 100% glera grapes from Veneto, Italy. I opened my first bottle of Vino dei Fratelli upon the arrival of some friends who wanted to toast to the holiday season before we headed out for the evening.

Their first sips were voiced to this Prosecco’s success. They loved the dryness and ease of drink-ability. We agreed this was considerably an easy-to-drink bubbly on its own, but we enjoyed it even more with French triple-cream cheese spread on quinoa cakes. This is a drink-it-now sparkling, so that’s exactly how we treated the bottle.

#2 – Bianchi Brut Sparkling (no vintage) made by Bodega Valentin Bianchi, South America – ($21.99)

Predominantly made with chardonnay, followed by a third of pinot noir and a touch of viognier, this brut sparkling is sure to seduce your palate with delicate bubbles emitting notes of white peach and toasted nuts that lead to a fruit-forward, dry bubbly.

The grapes are grown in San Rafael in Mendoza, Argentina and the taste is better than many Champagnes I’ve tasted, especially when you factor in that you can drink this alone. But again, bubbles are best with cheese, so I succumbed.

This sparkling is made in the traditional French Champenoise method in that its secondary fermentation occurs in-bottle, which equals small bubbles and no headache for those who indulge.


Raise your glass to usher in 2019 and look back to the past with warm memories. May this year bring new happiness, new goals, new achievements and new inspiration to your life. All the best wishes to a year brimming in happiness.

Two French Rosés and a Portuguese White to Enjoy This Summer

Rosé is probably the most subjective wine that catapults conversations and arguments among wine drinkers. Considered the summertime sip, there are variations on the winemaking methods and grapes used to create a ballet-pink to jewel-ruby color wine, best served chilled.

As a fan of Alsace wines, I wasn’t surprised to fall in love with a 2017 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Noir – Le Rosé, even though I prefer Grenache rosés. Pretty as a perfume bottle, its shape and label match the elegant palate of soft and supple femininity. I would suggest sipping this throughout summer, and stocking up isn’t going to break the bank, either. Depending on where you purchase this wine, it ranges from $13 up to $19.99 per bottle. It also pairs well with barbecue, roasted meats salads, light cheeses, non-spicy Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indian foods. Win-win.


Next, a bottle of Chateau Ferry Lacombe Haedus Rosé 2017, Cotes de Provence (AOP) France sets the stage for rosé excellence. I gave this wine five stars on Vivino because of color, clarity and taste. All magnificent. Fifty percent Grenache, 25 percent syrah, 15 percent cinsault and 10 percent vermentino work for me. The soft pink/peach color leads to a delicate taste of raspberry and strawberry mixed with some freshly-picked white and citrus fruits. Served best as an aperitif, but if you must sip with food, choose white meats or grilled fish, mixed salads, paella or Thai satay. Priced at $21.99 a bottle, you’ll want to savor this one.

Now we’ll head to Portugal for a 2016 Vila Nova Vinho Verde (DOC) made with 50 percent Loureiro, 30 percent Arinto and 20 percent Avesso grapes. Priced at $11.99, you get what you pay for with this bottle. It’s a bit Vila_Nova_Verde_BFfrizz-forward upon opening, but once it relaxes, it offers a fresh, tropical fruit palate. Best served with shellfish and vegetarian dishes (sushi).