California Cabernets, especially from Napa, are well known for their power, richness, tannin, high alcohol...and too often, astronomical price. Those in the "cult" category such as Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate can fetch hundreds of dollars or more per bottle, and are difficult or impossible to get unless you're a "VIP" customer and on the allocation list. Don't get me wrong: there are some outstanding Napa (and Sonoma, for that matter) Cabs at "fairly reasonable" prices and they, too, have a devoted following, albeit among us normal folk. And given that I'm a #1 fan of Bordeaux, years ago I discovered "Meritage" wines, produced by a group of American vintners that formed The Meritage Alliance in 1998 to produce and…

Read More

I’ve seen a lot of ads on Facebook lately for the Firstleaf wine “club.” The ad takes you to a 13-question quiz, kinda like a junior high “pop quiz,” (because you can’t really prepare for it) to “scientifically” determine the wines you like in order that Firstleaf can then send you wines you’ll want to drink. Evidently, it’s based on a “proven” algorithm…’cause, well, impenetrable and opaque mathematical formulas are always the way you should select wine. Evidently. The first question was a linear “slider” that asks you to select white wines at one end, red at the other, and “a mix” in the middle. OK. But what about Rosé wines? Ports and dessert wines? Sherries and Madeiras? Champagne, Prosecco,…

Read More

I’ve just tried two very different but very delicious Paso Robles gems. Here they are: Folkway Revelator 2016: This Bordeaux-like blend sells for about $25 (or less) and is about half Cabernet Sauvignon, one quarter Cab Franc and one quarter Merlot. Deep red, very balanced with noticeable but polished tannins and flavors of black cherry, coffee and cocoa. Villa San Juliette Chorum Reserve Red 2014: A truly extraordinary and almost unheard-of blend of 32% Syrah, 16% Grenache, 14% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 12% Alicante Bouschet, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petite Sirah. Dark fruit with a lot of plum and black cherry, and a hint of mint. I think I enjoy this most of all because I’d love to…

Read More

I know that Spring isn't here yet, and spring is the traditional time to drink Rose. But you don't have to wait for spring to stock up on--or even drink--this incredible and remarkably inexpensive wine. And here in New Jersey, it's like spring anyway. From South Africa, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and I don't know another Rose made from 100% Cab. It's dry but mouth-filling with a fruit bomb of red cherries, strawberries and pomegranates. This is not a wimpy Rose - it's a relatively big wine, and it'll stand up to a lot of food. You can find this wine at about $9-11.         

Read More