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The Weekly Dozen

I have sometimes been accused of loving too many wines, but I believe once you pull the cork or unscrew the cap, you most often find a good wine waiting for the right occasion.  This week’s 12 are all reds – from simple café pours and fruity party wines to expensive, complex, collectible wines from California and Chile – and quite a bit of stuff in between.  Choose your niche and enjoy! Up next week: Visiting the wine marketplace.

2017 Geyser Peak California Cabernet Sauvignon ($13). An affordable party wine when the party doesn’t require formal invitations and RSVPs – juicy, lightly sweet and some green fruit notes. Light chilling is permitted.

2017 M. Chapoutier “Bila-Haut” Côtes du Roussillon Villages Rouge ($14). This one has so much fresh raspberry flavors you’ll be tempted to pour in milk and grab a spoon – but don’t. A light tanginess in the finish rounds it out.

2016 Sassoregale Maremma Toscana Sangiovese ($16). Light, tangy, affordable – the kind you get by the glass at an outdoor café when you’re out shopping.

2010 Ochoa Navarra Reserva ($22). I love older reds from the north of Spain with their mature, homey flavors of old oak and mellow but balanced fruits – in this case, a blend of Cab, Merlot and native Tempranillo. This is the kind of wine you would expect to be poured when a guest at a farmhouse dinner table in the Spanish back country.

2016 Ferzo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($26). Homework assignment: Google the difference between Montepulciano, the grape, (which this is) and Montepulciano, the region, (which this isn’t). Big, red cherries in flavor, but also with some mature oak notes and chewy tannins.

2014 Macari North Fork of Long Island “Dos Aguas” Red Wine ($28). A mature, Merlot-dominant Bordeaux blend punctuated by a tangy and spicy finish.

2016 Frank Family Carneros Pinot Noir ($34). Many California Pinots continue to get bigger in volume and in alcohol, which is neither good nor bad, but simply another option for us. I like this one, with big cherry fruit – both fresh and maraschino in flavor – and a plus-size, but well-balanced, body.

2016 MacPhail “The Flyer” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($55). If you like Manhattans, this is your Pinot – lightish in spite of its relatively high alcohol with cola and rooty flavors and a touch of bar bitters at the finish.

2015 Groth Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($56).  Some nice Oakville elegance at work here – very smooth with a mix of juicy dark cherries and blackberries and just a hint of cream in the finish.

2015 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Merlot ($72). Both this wine and the La Jota below are Merlots owned by Jackson Family Wines and made by winemaker Chris Carpenter.  There the similarities end. This west side Napa mountain wine is dark and murky, a seriously complex wine with mature fruits and savory hints of the forest with integrated tannins – just marvelous.

2015 La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot ($81). From the upper east side, it is juicy and tangy – a wild ride with rich fruit and good minerality and acidity.

2015 Concha y Toro “Don Melchor” Puente Alto Cabernet Sauvignon ($102). I don’t know of any winery that makes as many different wines at as many different price levels as does Chile’s C y T.  Don Melchoir is always highly rated, although I often find it somewhat more vintage variable than most. That said, this vintage is splendid – smooth with cherry fruit and pleasant herbal notes that the variety can flash when allowed. Quite collectable.


Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com.

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