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The Weekly Dozen - Light Bubbles, Heavy Reds

As much as we argue that sparkling wines can be enjoyed all year around and with or without food, and as much as we drink big reds with bloody meat during grilling season, there is something about the advent of cold weather that makes us want bubbles and brooding reds.

So to ease us into the season, here is the first round with promise of more to come.

NV Segura Viudas Cava Brut ($10). Soft and light with a hint of vanilla cream in the finish.

NV Zardetto Prosecco Brut ($14). Creamy and fruity, but with a savory edge and some minerality.

NV Mionetto Prosecco Extra Dry ($15). Fruity, somewhat complex with a spicy underlay and a touch of tannins.

NV Vilarnau Barcelona Cava Brut Reserva ($15). Very nice – spicy and a little gamy, full on the palate.

NV Freixenet Prosecco DOC ($19). It’s a bit startling to see this Spanish giant, now part of Henkell, with an Italian label. But the result here is good – Prosecco fruitiness and Cava-style crispness.

NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($19). Apple-flavored, full-bodied, good acidity in the finish.

2016 Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Blanc de Blanc ($22). Fruity with candied flavors, a touch of metallic minerality and a crisp finish.

NV Zardetto Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Dry ($25). Rich and deep flavors, a little fruity with good minerality.

NV Champagne Palmer & Co.  Brut Reserve ($52). Lovely – Rich and deep with nice minerality from the aromas to the palate with tangy fruit.

2016 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($32). Although this is the most affordable of the Mondavi Cabs, it is nevertheless a delicious one – firm, dark fruits and savory spiciness.

2014 Long Meadow Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($55). A delightful big, almost burly Napa Cab with great blackberry flavors and a granular finish that half wants to be meaty and half wants to be dark chocolate. A sit-and-sipper.

2017 Aperture Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($70). Concentrated dark flavors – almost carbon and chocolate – but with a tart, almost citrusy strand to lend balance; an intriguing, dark, murky wine that will develop well in the bottle.

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

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