August 2014


NV Scalinella Lambrusco dell’ Emilia Amabile

Scalinella’s the producer, Lambrusco is the wine (and the grape), it’s from Emilia-Romagna and made in the Amabile (off-dry) style. Cherries, raspberries and pomegranates. Pop a chilled bottle to enjoy with Parmigiano Reggiano, just like the Emilians do.

Cleopatra’s Pearls

2013 VINI Chardonnay

For a time in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Bulgaria was the fourth-largest wine-producing nation, providing red and white wine for European countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Continuing a winemaking tradition dating to Roman times, VINI’s Chardonnay is fleshy and fruity, with apples and pears and pineapple. Pour it with grilled lamb sausages and stuffed peppers.

Treasured Rubies

2013 La Playa Carmenere

Carmenere is becoming Chile’s calling-card wine, made from a red grape originally imported from Bordeaux but now virtually extinct in France. Deep, dark fruit on the nose, with hints of clove and grilled red pepper. Blackberries and cigar tobacco drive the velvety palate into a luscious finish. Put it next to some spicy Korean BBQ shortribs and watch it do its thing.


2012 Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell

Jumilla is a desert region in southern Spain specializing in Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre). Intense, jammy black raspberry fruit is balanced by freshness and acidity preserved by high-elevation vineyards’ cool nighttime temperatures. A delight with smoky pork BBQ!

Wondrous Whites

2012 Marques de Casa Concha Sauvignon Blanc

Leyda is a subregion of central Chile’s San Antonio Valley best-known for its white wines, like this Sauvignon Blanc from Concha y Toro. Vibrant aromas of lime and grapefruit followed by ripe white peach and fresh-cut grass. Enjoy with Boston-style lobster rolls.

Regal Reds

11 pinos Bobal Old Vines 2012

Bobal is the third most-planted grape in Spain, but its presence in the US marketplace doesn’t seem to reflect that fact. This Bobal from Manchuela DO, in east-central Spain, is all plums and cherries on the nose, with smoky mineral hints. Smooth and broad on the palate, with gentle acidity lifting dark, jammy fruit. Pour this with some grilled pork chops and make it a Bobal-B-Q!


2013 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Spy Valley is named for its proximity to a satellite communications monitoring station in Marlborough, New Zealand. Their Sauvignon Blanc shows typical grapefruit and gooseberry, with notes of sage, black pepper, lemongrass and ginger adding complexity. Fleshy yet sprightly on the palate, with well-balanced acidity making it perfect for summery seafood dishes.

American Beauties

2010 Split Creek Farms Merlot

Monterey County is the center of California’s Central Coast, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wines from the region can be wonderfully ripe and round, like this Merlot with aromas of wild blueberries, mocha and a hint of violets. The lush palate is supple and smooth, with abundant dark plum and berry flavors. Red wine this rich will be right at home with grilled lamb chops.

European Classics

2012 Obalo Rioja

This is Rioja joven (“young”) from north-central Spain, 100% Tempranillo fermented in stainless steel and aged 4 months in new French oak. Expressive blackberry and dark chocolate aromas. Broad and showy on the palate, with ripe dark fruit and floral notes enlivened by smoky minerality. Gentle tannins accent the blueberry, violet and woodsmoke on the finish. Got ribeye? Get this wine.


2011 Cascina Ballarin Pilade Barbera d’Alba

This Barbera from northwest Italy’s Piedmont region is named for its vineyard site, once farmed by a Mr. Pilade. The rich bouquet of ripe blackberries repeats on the palate, where six months’ oak aging adds structure and spice. The luminous finish begs for salumi and Taleggio.

The Bubbles

2009 Schild Estate Sparkling Shiraz

South Australia’s Barossa Valley is rightly famed for its Shiraz, and this bubbly version is one of the best of its kind. Fresh aromas of dark berries, cedar, tobacco and exotic spices. Full and round on the palate, with juicy cherry and berry alongside glimpses of chocolate, deep and vibrant and hinting at a perfect pairing!

Cellar Master

2012 Hillinger Pinot Blanc Leithaberg DAC

This Pinot Blanc hails from the Leithaberg region, about 50 km south-southeast of Vienna. Aromas of baked apples introduce a supple, svelte body alive with pineapple and pistachio underlined by vigorous minerality. Serve with butter-basted roast chicken.


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