SOMMELiER VERiFiED – hand-picked and tasted by me. Every single wine is superbly made by devoted wine-makers, that have dedicated their lives to make only excellent wines that over-deliver on quality and value. Each wine tastes like a $100+ but its cost averages $15. TRY THEM – TRUST ME!

Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018

ORIGIN: Burgundy France – GRAPE: Chardonnay

Winery: “Full of life! A bouquet of citrus aromas, and then we find honey and vanilla. In the mouth, it’s funky, spontaneous, striking. Really charming!. Aperitif “finger food”? A light (almost) improvised dinner, lunch in a trendy restaurant, LaForêt is always in the right place! It’s a no brainer, LaForêt is at ease everywhere and with everything or almost! Chardonnay and sushi, veggie pizza… simple things, a sign of times.

2017 reveals all the elegance of our white grape varieties. The wines are floral with hints of citrus. They are round, well-balanced, and very attractive. It is a remarkable vintage.”

Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone Rose 2016

ORIGIN: COTE DU RHONE GRAPE: 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault & 10% Syrah


There aren’t many things we like more than the quenching, food-friendly style that is classic to Rosé’s home in southern France. It has delicious fruit like currants, raspberry, and white cherry; the floral notes and clean, beautiful balance don’t hurt either…. Offer it as an aperitif, and swim around in its gorgeous flavors. If you’re outside, grill up some salt-and-pepper halibut steaks and drizzle them with a melted lemon and tarragon butter. Or, for something on the sweeter side, marinate chicken pieces in apricot jam, white wine, garlic and scallions, and then grill to perfection. If dinner’s inside, make it Maryland style crab cakes with a summer slaw of cucumber ribbons, green cabbage, and multicolored carrots. You’ll be glad you did.


Winery: “Eye: Clear, brilliant and fresh. Nose: Fresh with an expressive nose of red fruits and citrus; notes of raspberry and redcurrant. Palate: Fruity, fine and round. Overall: A well-balanced and elegant wine. Pair with starters, grilled fish, white meat, poultry.

This seductive wine has already won many blind tasting facing worldwide recognized and established roses. This wine is amongst the best examples of the Guigal quality range.”


Senorio de P. Pecina Rioja Blanco 2018

Robert Parker, Jr’s, Wine Advocate: “The young white 2018 Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha Blanco is quite pale, young and fruit-driven, as it corresponds to an unoaked Viura fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and bottled quite early. It’s clean and harmonious, with aromas of white pear and flowers, quite elegant. The palate is fresh, but the wine has weight and fills your mouth; 2018 is a cool vintage and it shows. The flavors are focused and clean, and there is a pleasant bitter twist on the finish. 15,000 bottles were filled in February 2019.” Jun 2019

Winery: “The winery focuses on red wines, but does have a small amount of white vines. This limited production white is superb with notes of apples and peaches on the nose and great intensity of fruit on the palate.”

Stephane Aviron Cote de Brouilly Vieilles Vignes Cru du Beaujolais 2017

ORIGIN: Burgundy – Beaujolais, FRANCE

GRAPE: Gamay

Winery: “The Stéphane Aviron Beaujolais Villages is sourced from 50+-year-old vines in a lieu-dit named “Les Monthieux,” located in the commune of Lantignie, considered the finest in Beaujolais villages. The terroir is composed of clay and limestone soils with a favorable southwest exposure.”

Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d'Alba 2017

ORIGIN: Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

GRAPE: 85% Barbera, 15% Nebbiolo

Winery: The color is ruby-red with purple shades. The fragrance is fresh with fruity notes reminiscent of blackberries, red fruit jam and spicy scents of vanilla and toasted hazelnut. The taste is full and rich, with a slight touch of tartness. The oaky note is clear but well blended with the other aromas.

Barbera d’Alba is an ideal wine for the entire meal and a perfect companion for every occasion. It pairs well with savory appetizers, first courses with rich sauces, and second courses made with boiled or roasted meat. This wine also enhances the flavor of traditional vegetable soups. It is the ideal pairing for fresh cold cuts and hard cheeses.

Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

ORIGIN: Colchagua, Rapel Valley, Chile

GRAPE: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot

Winery: From the same people who craft the oh-so-lovely and delicious Montes Alpha M, Montes Folly, and Purple Angel, we have the Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon. And yes, it is retailed at a ridiculously low price which warrants borrowing your friends big truck so that you may take advantage of this crazy-good deal… Okay, so you don’t need a big truck because we deliver to your door, but you get the picture… We are dreaming about the meat dishes, grilled, braised, roasted and more, that we’re going to make in order to have just one more excuse to open another of our bottles. This is a flat-out don’t miss requirement wine lovers. Be responsible and get some!

James Suckling:  “A spicy cabernet that shows redcurrants, paprika, and a touch of wet earth. Medium-bodied with medium-chewy tannins and a red-fruited, drying finish. Drink now.”  Apr 2019

Winery:  “A very bright and lively violet-red in color with a predominance of ripe red and black fruit aromas such as strawberries, plums, and figs on the nose. Notes of crème de cassis intermingle with sweet spices such as nutmeg and black pepper. Aromas of tobacco and dark chocolate meld with light notes of leather contributed by the French oak that also lends sweet sensations to the palate. The wine stands out for its well-balanced acidity, medium body, and incredibly smooth tannins. The moderately persistent finish echoes the notes perceived on the nose. Highly recommended with braised beef with french fries, steak and eggs, paella, cannelloni, and lasagna.”


SOMMELiER VERiFiED – hand-picked and tasted by me. Every single wine is superbly made by devoted wine-makers, that have dedicated their lives to make only excellent wines that over-deliver on quality and value. Each wine tastes like a $100+ but its cost averages $15. TRY THEM – TRUST ME!

Les Darons by Jeff Carrel 2017

ORIGIN: Languedoc, Roussillon, France – GRAPE: 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Carignan

It’s ready to drink now, and a great price. Pour a glass of this beautifully approachable class act in a bottle and then get to work on the best roast chicken recipe ever. You’ll need a 5 pounder. Preheat the oven to 425. Put together a seasoning mix of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, good quality onion and garlic powder, and porcini salt. Pat the chicken dry inside and out, and sprinkle the cavity generously with the seasonings. Place 2-3 whole crimini mushrooms and 2-3 peeled garlic cloves in the cavity. Tie the legs together and fold back the wings and then drizzle with EVOO. Rub to moisten the chicken and then sprinkle with seasoning mix. Cut two peeled medium red onions in half and place around the chicken in the roasting pan. Cook on 425 for 10 minutes and then reduce temp to 350, basting twice over the course of cooking time. When chicken is almost done, turn oven up to 425 and cook just until it reaches that temp again. Let the chicken rest for a minimum of 25 minutes. Drizzle generously with pan juices when you serve. Steamed broccoli with lemon brown butter sauce is a great companion. Be sure you get enough wine because you won’t want this meal to end…

Jeb Dunnuck: “The 2017 Languedoc Les Darons is made from 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Carignan that’s mostly from older vines in the Minervois. It saw a touch of whole clusters in the fermenters and is still aging all in concrete tanks. It’s deep purple (almost inky) and offers a sensational perfume of blueberries, blackberries, licorice, ground pepper, and earth. Deep, full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, and long, it shows the purity and sexiness of the 2017 vintage and is going to be a killer value.” Jun 2018

Winery: “An accessible wine with loads of character, Les Darons is packed with ripe, red and dark fruit aromas, with plenty of spice and a streak of underlying minerality.”

Domaine de Prion La Madone Fleurie 2015

ORIGIN: Fleurie, Burgundy, France

GRAPE: 100% Gamay

Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate positively gushes about this Domaine de Prion La Madone Fleurie, and we can see why. It’s a complex, layered, beautifully flavored red which will pair with a myriad of cuisines. Nothing too mild, though, as this La Madone brings buckets of personality to the table, in particular, forward red fruit, floral notes and smooth earthiness. What are you putting on your next special dinner table???

Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate: “The 2015 Fleurie La Madone is stunning, soaring from the glass with aromas of raspberries, Griotte cherry, rose petals, grilled meat and incipient hints of forest floor. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, velvety and layered, with superb concentration, fine-grained structuring tannins and juicy acids, more fragrant and mineral than Chanudet’s Moulin-à-Vent though similarly atypically rich. Beautifully balanced and built for the long haul, this will also make for dramatic drinking in its youth. Drink 2018-2033.” Sep 2018

Winery: “La Madone” is one of the most famous climats in Beaujolais. This wine is high in acid, has palpable minerality, good tannic structure and lends blue fruit aromas.”


Catena La Consulta Malbec 2016

ORIGIN: Mendoza,Argentina. GRAPE: 100%Malbec

Robert Parker, Jr’s Wine Advocate:  “The blend of wines from La Consulta 2016 Appellation La Consulta Malbec fermented in stainless steel and matured in oak barrels for 12 months. It’s a ripe expression of La Consulta from sand and stone soils, with juicy cherries and a soft texture. 45,600 bottles produced.” Jun 2018

Winery:  “Family vintners for over 100 years, the Catenas are recognized for their pioneering role in high-altitude viticulture and in leading Argentina’s Malbec revolution. In the 1950s, Don Domingo Catena began sourcing Malbec from the vineyards of La Consulta. The combination of intense sunlight and cool nights yields a wine that Domingo prized for its deep purple color, black fruit aromatics, and rich velvety tannins.

This wine goes through cold maceration for 5 days at 50ºF (10ºC). The juice is then fermented for 16 days with a post-fermentation maceration of 10 days. 12 months in barrel (35% new). Barrel selection varies depending on vineyard and vintage. 85% French, 15% American oak.”

Von Winning Estate Trocken Riesling 2018


Winery:  “The estate’s premium wines are treated with a minimalist approach and with the highest respect in the cellar. Gentle clarification, a natural and spontaneous fermentation, and the abandonment of fining agents create wines with a distinctive indigenous and very elegant style. Pumping the juice or wine is never necessary in the gravity flow winery, allowing for minimal, and gentle vinification.

Green herbal notes complement the floral bouquet, then translate into a cooling elixir that vies for attention with lusciously ripe peach on a silken but infectiously juicy palate. The finish really grips as well as refreshes. Here is real Pfalz class for a modest price.” 

Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2018


GRAPE: 100% Viognier

Get ready wine lovers, because the Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Viognier is not one you want to miss. This amazing Aussie boasts a beautiful body, vibrant acidity, exotic fruits such as lychee, pineapple, and more, some citrus, as well as ginger and even cashew flavors. It is made for shellfish, rich fish (like black cod), chicken, turkey, mild curries, fruity, spicy condiments like chutneys, and more. And best of all, it is a ridiculously affordable bargain! Put on your hoarding pants!! At this price, you can pour generous glasses without a second thought. Enjoy them with mango-mint lobster sliders on toast brioche buns. There may be a stampede so be careful. If you’d like to stay with shellfish, we suggest crispy shrimp cakes with cucumbers and chopped peanuts as the entree. If not, make it crisp-roasted garlic-tarragon chicken over toasted orzo. You’ll love it! And for an indulgent comfort food choice, we love the full body and perfect acidity of this Yalumba with curried mussels with a side of skinny fries. Just heavenly. Nobody’s leaving, so open another couple of bottles, refill those glasses, and savor them with an indulgently creamy French Chaource cheese with toasted walnuts and your favorite dried fruits. What on earth are you waiting for??!

Wine Spectator: Designated a Best Value.  “Floral and fragrant, featuring orange blossom, peach and marmalade flavors set on a smooth and juicy frame. Shows precision and balance, with nutmeg details. Drink now.”  Aug 2019

Winery: “After a cool spring, December and most of January were cooler than average. This cool start was followed by a return to warmer conditions at the end of January. This warm weather continued into February and accelerated the ripening of the Viognier with the blocks being harvested earlier than previous years but with the lush varietal flavours that we love and which match so well with spicy foods.

Sweet honeysuckle and jasmine fragrances set the scene for an exotic blend of grapefruit, lemongrass, and stone fruit flavors. This alluring, silky white wine is rich, rewarding, and nothing short of delicious.”

Solosole Vermentino 2018


GRAPE: 100% Vermentino

Robert Parker, Jr’s Wine Advocate: “This is absolutely one of my favorite Vermentino wines from the Tuscan Coast. It is made by Marilisa Allegrini and her consulting enologist Luca D’Attoma. You get so much freshness and varietal purity in the 2018 Bolgheri Vermentino Solosole, with lemongrass, grapefruit, and green tropical fruit like papaya and mango. The aromas are expertly delineated and crystalline. Some 88,000 bottles were made, and the value is unbeatable. Drink date: 2019-2023”  May 2019

Winery: “The wine proffers intense Mediterranean aromas, expressing a textured combination of aromatic herbs and citrus notes. The palate exhibits pristine, pure Vermentino, characterized by a satisfying savoriness, minerality and a structure that promises great longevity.

This is an ideal accompaniment to both sea and lake fish, and is excellent with prestigious raw fish dishes, Livorno-style mullet, Lake Garda sardines and various refined tempura specialties. It pairs perfectly at the end of a meal with Doppia Panna soft cheeses and Tuscan Pecorino.”

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SOMMELiER VERiFiED – WOW wines that have been hand-picked and tasted by me. Every single wine is superbly made by devoted wine-makers, that have dedicated their lives to make only excellent wines that OVER-deliver on quality and value. Each of these white wines taste like a $100+ but its cost averages $15. TRY THEM – TRUST ME!

Guy Saget Marie de Beauregard Vouvray 2017

ORIGIN: Vouvray, Loire, France – GRAPE: 100% Vouvray.

You’re going to want to wet your whistle on this delicious Guy Saget Marie de Beauregard Vouvray winelovers! Why? Because it’s got seductive ripe fruit as well as honey, subtle spice and even toasty notes, all beautifully woven together in a stunningly bright balance. We say enjoy your first glasses with lettuce cups filled with garlicky ginger-chili chicken. Baked ham is a terrific pairing because its salt is lovely opposite the honeyed fruit of the wine. Mild to moderately spicy Asian fare also pairs well with those flavors. Or, let the wine’s bright freshness be the foil for a decadent Peking duck with all the trimmings. You’ll love it. To finish? A French Camembert cheese, toasted pecans and some quince paste. Et voila!

Winery: “Beautiful pale gold color with some bluish tints. On the nose, mineral expression of chalk and flint followed by a burst of ripe pear, acacia honey, candied fruits and lemon. The palate has a beautiful balance of freshness and sweetness with a silky texture.”

The Infamous Goose Sauvignon Blanc 2019

ORIGIN: Marlborough, New Zealand

GRAPE: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

The Infamous Goose Sauvignon Blanc (our favorite wine name this week, by the way) is a bright, fresh choice to go with hot summer temps and the great foods that come with them. It brings lovely acidity and an assortment of fruit flavors and aromas to the table. A platter of magically crunchy shrimp tempura is a terrific starter to go with your first glass. Caesar salad with homemade dressing with lots of anchovies is the perfect lunch or light supper. Try the Goose with a classic Danish Smørrebrød, typically one slice of buttered dark rye bread with endless toppings. We love the Goose with capers, smoked salmon and thinly sliced pickled red onions. For dinner? We say make it shredded, grilled chicken on soft corn tortillas topped with queso fresco, refried beans, guacamole, tomatillo sauce and a dollop of sour cream. You’re going to love it!

Wine Spectator:  “Focused and distinctive, offering a savory thread of toasted herb and a note of sea salt that mingle with lemon-lime and green apple flavors at the core. Mouthwatering finish.” May 2020

Winery:  “In appearance, it’s a pale lime to straw colored. Lime zest give way to distinctive, freshly opened passion fruit aromas. The palate features fresh crunchy acidity and an abundance of tropical and citrus aromas.

The 2019 vintage is largely regarded as the best vintage yet in Marlborough. The season started out damp and warm until Christmas. It then transitioned to warm and dry throughout the ripening period resulting in grapes with perfect sugar-acid, balance and great concentration. Overall, Marlborough enjoyed perfect natural balance in the vineyard which lead to modest alcohol and bright acidity.”

Fun Fact: “The winery is named for the Infamous Goose, a.k.a. the moa, a giant flightless bird that long ago roamed the South Island of New Zealand.”

Muga, Rioja, Blanco 2018

ORIGIN: Rioja, Spain. GRAPE: 90% Viura, 10% Malvasía and Garnacha Blanca 

James Suckling:  “A very bright and citrusy white Rioja that shows green apples, lemons and cherry blossom. Medium body, steely acidity and a fine finish, soaked in crabapple flavors. Drink now.” Jul 2019

Jeb Dunnuck:  “The 2018 Blanco (90% Viura and 10% Malvasía and Garnacha Blanca) is a beautiful wine that shines for its purity, balance, and freshness. It’s not the most complex white, yet it has plenty of white flowers, apple peel, and citrus aromas, medium body, a seamless texture, and a great finish. It’s well worth seeking out.”  Sep 2019

Winery:  “A clean nose with intense, complex aromas of white blossom, American lime citrus notes and slight toasted nuances coming through from the oak.

On the palate, it can be defined as a fresh wine with good acidity, a silky texture and reminders of fruit such as pears.”

La Val Albarino 2018

ORIGIN: Rias Baixas, SPAIN GRAPE: Albarinho

Winery:  “The wine has an intense and clean straw-yellow colour with bright green tones. On the nose it shows aromas of fresh herbs and laurel with fine floral and lemon notes as well as white stone fruits. In the mouth it is fresh and rich , with citrus notes and a long finish. Perfect with all kinds of seafood and fish, as well as fresh cheese, foie-gras, chicken, rice dishes and pasta. Best enjoyed at 54 degrees F.”

Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016

ORIGIN: Burgundy, France

GRAPE: 100% Chardonnay

Winery: “A very nice expressive nose has white flower scents. The attack is bold and generous. This wine, which is balanced on the palate, has good volume and quite exceptional long-lasting scents and tastes for this appellation.”

Newton Skyside Chardonnay 2018

ORIGIN: Napa Valley, USA

GRAPE: 100% Chardonnay

Winery: “Newton Skyside Chardonnay offers lively character and harmonious balance derived from meticulous approach top winemaking. Sourced from Napa and Sonoma county vineyards, these wines are made in the Newton style to showcase the purity of fruit.

The grapes used are sourced from select vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma counties including Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley. Los Carneros and Knights Valley. Every year, we select grapes with a specific characteristic that will allow us to achieve the desired flavor profile of the final blend and create continuity vintage to vintage. The wine was fermented in a combination of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. For added complexity, our barrel fermented lots were stirred monthly while undergoing malo-lactic fermentation. The wine was aged for a total of 8 months on the lees.

Bright aromas of pineapple, white peach and elderflower are balanced on the nose with aromas of star anise, vanilla and creamy French oak influences. On the palate flavors of apricot, golden apple and ginger mingle with well-integrated oak notes, resulting in a crisp yet rounded wine with a long, lingering finish.”


SOMMELiER VERiFiED – same big WOW wines that have been hand-picked and tasted by me. Every single wine is superbly made by devoted wine-makers, that have dedicated their lives to make only excellent wines that OVER-deliver on quality and value. Each of these white wines taste like a $100+ but its cost averages $15. TRY THEM – TRUST ME!

Alta Vista Atemporal 2017

ORIGIN: Mendoza, ARGENTINA – GRAPE: 53% Malbec, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot. 12 months in French oak

Atemporal means “timeless”. Not a bad word for this delicious Argentine red. It brings rich, dark fruit and warm spices to the table which make it an ideal pairing with your favorite bbq’d meats. Meaty and/or tomatoey pizza is another good pairing choice. If you’d like to play up the tannins, make it a grill night and do some lamb lollipop chops. At this price, you can have a bottle or two waiting in the wings. ¡Salud winelovers!

James Suckling:  “Blackberries, blueberries and hints of rose stem undertones. Medium to full body. Firm tannins with freshness and energy. A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Needs time to soften. Try after 2022 and onwards. ” Apr 2020

Winery:  “In nose, complex due to its three vines. Notes of violet, pepper, cinnamon and licorice. In mouth, it is a balanced combination: The silkiness of the Malbec, the structure and power of the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the intensity of the Petit Verdot that integrates this assemblage. A complex and persistent wine.”

Harvest Notes: “2017 was a typical vintage for Mendoza: Low precipitation levels in spring and summer, and moderate to warm temperatures. From the quantitative aspect, results were low, as a consequence of the frequency and duration of late frosts. Nevertheless, nature takes and nature gives: We were punished by low temperatures, but relief came with summer and autumn, giving us grapes of exceptional quality. Due to a superlative must extraction, wines of unique color were produced. Moreover, moderate temperatures in February and March helped grapes to keep their natural acidity. Polyphenol maturity was surprising because we prevented plants from suffering extreme temperatures. Young wines of 2017 are promising. They are balanced, concentrated, with a nice aromatic profile, and notes of fresh, mature fruit. A note of its characteristic violet, plus its classic aromas of red fruit and plum are perceived in our Malbec vines. Over-ripeness is not felt thanks to intense controls on temperature in order to adjust the harvest date to its ideal moment.”

Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2018

ORIGIN: Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais, France

GRAPE: 100% Gamay

Imported by renowned afficionado, wine importer, wine author and enthusiast, Kermit Lynch, the Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes is not your typical Beaujolais. It hails from Moulin-a-Vent, one of (some say the grandest) the 10 most esteemed Crus of Beaujolais. As one critic put it, “It’s about as far removed from a Beaujolais Nouveau as a Whopper is to a prime piece of beef!”. This wine is made for  lovers of old school Cru Beaujolais. Thomas Patenôtre works with extremely old Gamay vines (50-85 years old), and he only makes this one wine, which is a classical expression of the appellation. And, the price is spot-on.

More good news: it’s ready to drink, with beautifully integrated tannins and dark, delicious fruit, cassis in particular, or you may hold it for another 10-15 years. Go old school and pair it with a classic steak tartare with all the trimmings, or bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Manchego and Marcona almonds to start. The sky’s the limit after that…

Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate:  “Revisited a year later, the 2018 Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes continues to show very well, exhibiting a rich and inviting bouquet of black cherries, licorice, smoked meats, anise, orange rind and peonies. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, its deep core of fruit is framed by ripe tannins and succulent acids, concluding with a sapid finish. This is sufficiently demonstrative to drink well today—preferably with a rare steak or similar—but it will also age well. In style, it’s quite reminiscent of the 2009, which is in its prime. Drink 2020-2038.

As I’ve written before, Thomas Patenôtre today superintends this five-hectare Moulin-à-Vent domaine, continuing to fashion resolutely classical expressions of the appellation, perpetuating the style favored by Bernard Diochon. Old vines, whole-cluster vinification, classical macerations and élevage in foudre are the order of the day. After making a success of challenging circumstances after the hail of 2016 and 2017, Patenôtre realized a very successful 2018 that exemplifies everything admirers of old-school cru Beaujolais—the present writer included—are looking for, and his 2019 vintage is just as promising.” May 2020

Trade Notes: This is a wine that admirers of old school Cru Beaujolais, me included, are going to love. It’s about as far removed from a Beaujolais Nouveau as a Whopper is to a prime piece of beef! The color, like the flavor, is cassis-like, and the style here is like a hypothetical cross of Red Burgundy meets Northern Rhone Syrah.

Importer Kermit Lynch sums it up pretty nicely: “Diochon’s Moulin-à-Vent is juicily delicious yet there is a majesty to it. It is full-blown and full-bodied, yet it has a lush, supple, swallowable texture. No hard edges. No astringency. No heat. Moulin-à-Vent is supposed to be the grandest of the region’s Grands Crus, and here you sense a certain grandeur throughout the taste experience.”

If it’s good enough for Kermit, it’s good enough for me. After tasting this, I promptly bought my distributor out. I’ve already snagged mine — I’ll cellar 6 of them, and I’ll drink the rest with family this year at Thanksgiving. You should do the same.

Importer:  “Diochon’s Moulin-à-Vent is juicily delicious yet there is a majesty to it. It is full-blown and full-bodied, yet it has a lush, supple, swallowable texture. No hard edges. No astringency. No heat. Moulin-à-Vent is supposed to be the grandest of the region’s Grands Crus, and here you sense a certain grandeur throughout the taste experience. And don’t overlook the visuals. Diochon’s color is always a sight to see. The color, like the flavor, is cassis-like.

This wine is a perennial favorite at the retail store in Berkeley, and Bernard himself is one of the most respected and beloved figures in the region. His wild moustache looks as if it has seen the inside of a million wine glasses, and it’s hard to imagine a world without wine like this.” ~ Kermit Lynch

Flavium Seleccion Mencia 2015

ORIGIN: Vierzo, Spain. GRAPE: 100% Mencia 

The Vinos de Arganza Flavium Seleccia Mencia from Spain is not only a rich, delicious red, it’s a bargain and then some. As wine and food writer for “The New York Times”, Eric Asimov states, you won’t soon forget this great, lesser-known grape. The Mencia grape is known for lending great ageability to its wines; it will sit quietly in your wine cabinet for several more years, or you can partake now. If you’ve chosen the latter, fill your glasses and get acquainted with this rojo espanol while you snack on Spanish ham, Manchego and fig tartines. Happy? Prepare to get even happier when you contemplate the main course… This Vinos de Arganza’s beautiful balance and structure, dark, mature fruit and luscious nature make it a natural with meats on the heartier side like game, lamb and beef. Our first choice is a Cocido Lebaniego, a Cantabrian meat stew with chickpeas. Beware though, it will taunt you mercilessly with the most delicious aromas for hours while it’s cooking; this choice is not for the faint of heart. Roast pork tenderloin rubbed with paprika, garlic, almonds and Madeira won’t disappoint either. Another simple yet perfect combination is olive-crusted racks of lamb. At this price, you’d better have at least two bottles waiting in the wings. Refill your glasses and savor a creamy and tangy Los Beyos cheese from Spain. La vida es corta! Bebida Mencia, winelovers!

Wine Spectator: Designated Smart Buy. “This plush red delivers a deep well of black cherry and currant flavors, with licorice and cocoa notes that give way to a floral finish. Well-integrated tannins and lively acidity keep this focused. A richer style. Drink now through 2028.” Oct 2018

Winery: “Intense ruby colour, with ripe blackberry and blueberry aromas and beautifully balanced smokey cedar oak notes. These red fruit notes transpire onto a silky smooth, mouth wateringly juicy, herbal rounded palate leaving a persistent ending taste.”

Rocca delle Macie Riserva Chianti Classico 2015

ORIGIN: Chianti, Tuscany, ITALY GRAPE: 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot -24 months in French oak barrels; minimum 3 months further refining in bottle.

This beautiful Rocca Delle Macie is fantastic with Italian food and much more. Our favorite with this Riserva Chianti Classico is pasta with tomato and/or meat sauces. We love it with a big pan of baked manicotti in a red sauce which has simmered for hours. A simple roast veal dish is another great option. Put a porcini risotto next to that veal and let the wine bring all of those luscious flavors together for you. Oh mio! If your meal is slated towards the simple, this Tuscan gem is wonderful with pizza. For a twist, how about one with prosciutto and arugula? Delicious. We don’t drink this Riserva Chianti with sweet dishes, so after the serious eating is done, we’ll have just one more glass (or two) with a nibble of tangy Provolone. Che perfezione!

Wine Spectator: “A dark version, featuring intense flavors of blackberry, black cherry, spice and tar up against a wall of tannins. All the elements are here, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Terrific length. Best from 2023 through 2040.” Oct 2018

Winery: “Color: ruby red, becoming garnet with age. Bouquet: ample, intense and refined, with excellent variety of aromas. Taste: warm, robust, elegant with a persistent aroma. The bottle should be uncorked as early as an hour before serving or decanted for a few minutes before being drunk. This wine is particularly suited for red meats, roasts, wild game and dry cheeses. It should be served at a temperature of 65/68°F.

The grapes destined for the Riserva di Fizzano are carefully selected at the optimum moment of the vintage and the vinification of this riserva only happens in exceptional years. After the traditional fermentation the wine is matured in French oak barrels for over two years, then bottled and refined for almost a year before being released.”

Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


GRAPE: 100% Cabernet Suauvignon – 12 months in new French oak (6%) and new American oak (7%) with the balance in seasoned oak.

Winery: “Dark red with a magenta core, the Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of red currants, cranberry, and dried Italian herbs. Red, blue and black fruits melded with sweet spiced cinnamon on the palate with a touch of vanilla chai and cedar oak. Fine, silky tannins add savory balance and length to the palate.”

Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva 2018


GRAPE: 100% Garnacha/Grenache

What’s not to like about this Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva? Not much that we can find; it’s expressive, sultry and nuanced, able to drink now or hold for several years, and it’s a great value! Fill your glasses and pass around lamb samosas with a spicy mango chutney. The combination is heavenly. Then, get your Catalonia on and make chicken with tomato sauce, a wonderfully savory dish. The warm spices in the dish will shine against the gorgeous fruit and fruit-based flavors notes in the Navaherreros. The lovely balance and texture of the wine will go well with the creaminess of a steaming bowl of spaghetti and a walnut/tomato pesto. Be sure to have a good Parmesan on hand for grating. And if you’re just in the mood for comfort, open a bottle, and make your best homemade mac and cheese. If you’re like us, you’ll need a bag of potato chips to crumble over the top when it comes out of the oven. A su salud, WiNEisFOOD lovers!

Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate:  “The 2018 Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva faithfully represents a year of good yields and slow ripening of the grapes, a year of fresh and balanced wines. It has floral varietal notes of the Garnacha and the serious texture of the granite soils along with fine-grained tannins and very good balance. This has to be the finest vintage for this bottling. It was bottled in January 2020. Drink 2020-2024.” Apr 2020

Trade Notes:  “Nose: typical varietal floral notes of Garnacha. Mouth: fresh and balanced, with fine tannins. Pair with meats and meat stews.”

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