Category Archives: Wine Recommendations

Are you ready for some football… wine?

superbowlwineThough not a pro-football fantatic, I keep up with what is going on and being in San Francisco, it’s hard to ignore all the to-do. Plus, Super Bowl watching parties are always fun with the food and WINE. Okay, and beer, too. For this year, here are some picks for what you should be sipping while watching pigskin.

King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris 2011 – Easy-drinking, palate-pleasing – this wine is for everyone, with awesome acidity and rich texture.

Peter Lehmann Layers White 2010 – From crab cakes to seven-layer-dip, this super aromatic and rich white will hold up to it all.

Tait The Ball Buster 2010 - This one needs little explanation. It’s decadent and delicious – perfect for February football.

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2010 – This wine hails from the Sierra Foothills, original gold country. Since the term “49ers” refers to those who pioneered their way out to California in search for gold, we find it appropriate for 49er fans to sip on some spicy Zinfandel from gold country, particularly this one at an awesome value.

Raymond Field Blend R Collection 2011 – You may not be on the field to watch the game, but you can sit back and enjoy this savory, spicy, rich fruit field blend that practically melts in your mouth.

If these don’t suit your palate, stock up for the big game with your own favorites & enjoy!



Delicious, non-age-worthy Bordeaux

So many wine drinkers shy away from Bordeaux because of the assumption that a good Bordeaux must be old and expensive. But the majority of Bordeaux is quite the opposite. Most wine from this esteemed region is meant to be drunk early, and is definitely affordable. You just don’t read about those wines as often as the first growths fetching $2,000 per bottle in a good vintage.

Since the majority of wines from Bordeaux are meant to be early drinking and affordable AND the fact that Bordeaux is the largest wine-producing region in France, that means there is a LOT of wine in that category – how does one determine the GOOD affordable Bordeaux?

Well, we are featuring a selection today and to help you find the right wine for you,  here are some helpful tips.

1. Go with a good vintage. Bordeaux has had a string of fairly strong vintages, with 2008, 2009 and 2010 shining with top ratings. Even 2006 and 2007, which may not have run away with top ratings, still deliver some solid wines worth trying.

2. Go with a Merlot-based wine. There are some killer Cab-based affordable Bordeaux out there, but Merlot in general is more approachable when young, so choose a wine from a right-bank region like Cotes-de-Castillon, Fronsac or St. Emilion.

3. Go with a trusted producer. Many of the “big” names (think Rothschild) in Bordeaux make “smaller” wines. If you see a producers second wine or a wine they invest in, it’s a good bet if you like their top wine (or think you might), then you’ll enjoy their second wine.

Those are my three tips. They are not guarantees, but may help you navigate the selection of affordable Bordeaux out there. Remember, Bordeaux is meant to be a food wine, not a huge fruit bomb. So these are not wines to compare to your favorite California or Australian red, but rather wines that will show a bit more restraint and structure and really shine when paired with a meal. So stock up and enjoy Bordeaux!

If you could only serve two wines this holiday season…

We’re big fans of the Wagner family. Not only are they the minds (and hands) behind Caymus, one of our favorite California Cabernets, they also expanded their portfolio to include other varieties, and like Caymus, they do these wines oh so well.

We’re featuring a couple of them today because they really two ideal holiday wines: Conundrum white and Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir.

Conundrum, called as such because you never know what the exact blend of grapes is in this wine, is a customer favorite. It is full of ripe fruit flavors, a creamy texture and lingering finish. It’s a wine that can last through the dinner, especially pairing with anything that has a touch of spice. It is a delicious all-night party sipper for any holiday fete and an all-around palate-pleaser.

The Meiomi (pronounced mey-OH-me) hails from the coastal vineyards of California, the perfect climate for growing a cool-climate variety like Pinot Noir. Delicious red fruits and sweet spice make this a rich yet not-too-heavy wine perfect for holiday parties and dinners. It’s terribly food friendly, but also has all those characteristics that make it a superbly delightful wine sipping on its own. At such a great price point, it could be your go-to dinner party red.

So stock up on these two to pull out for holiday dinners, hostess gifts or just sipping by the fire.


It’s that time of year again – the time to jump on to the “everything should have a Halloween theme” bandwagon. Of course we think this means that you should have some spooky labels of wine floating around as well. This year’s picks include:

in the “Perfect Party Wine” category…

7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel -It has the word “dead” in it, and it seems to fit a Halloween theme, so we threw it on the list. Not to mention it’s a fantastic bottle of Zinfandel perfect for fall weather.

Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon – We love this wine for Halloween – it’s easy to drink, with a slightly spooky – yet grown up- label.

Apothic Red Blend – One of our more popular wines, this red blend seems to be a crowd-pleaser, so we’d definitely recommend it for a Halloween party.

Bogle Phantom – A full-bodied blend, over half of which is Zinfandel (what Bogle does so well), can stand up to all the candy corn in the bowl.

Razors Edge Shiraz – Throwing on some scary movies? Jason? Freddy? Super jammy and concentrated, this is  a cocktail wine at a fantastic value.

In the “Care to Splurge?” category…

d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz – One of our favorite producers, one of my personal favorite wines – this Shiraz is complex, powerful and dense, but with lovely uplifting characteristics that linger on the palate. Looking for a reason to have a great wine, toast Halloween with this one.

Terlato Devils’ Peak Red – A red blend from Napa Valley, this full-bodied bottle is oppulent, but structured. Ideal for a Halloween meal.

Tailgate Sipping

I admit, in my college days at an ACC school, I never drank wine at a tailgate. It wasn’t

An Auburn tailgate hosted by my cousin. The AU Pinterest board named it “Best Tailgate” last weekend!

even an option. My red solo cup was a watered down mix of bourbon and coke, just like everyone else. Now that I’m older, and more mature (I hope), I find that wine and football are a great match. Especially with all the fun tailgate foods that go with it. Some general wine tips on matching up vino and tailgates:

Screw cap wines – Grabbing a glass of wine should be easy, especially if you’re in a true tailgate situation parking lot. No need to dig out a corkscrew – plenty of delicious, refreshing, excellent value wine with screw cap closures around, perfect for the plastic cup in your hand.

Bubbly – A chilled bottle of bubbly is a perfect treat in early tailgate season, when the weather is still warm. I am particularly drawn to its ability to pair with anything salty, like all the chips and dip available. Cava is a delicious wine for the price, and we’re big fans of Jaume Serra Cristalino.

Albarino-  Crisp and clean, Albarino will go with any grilled seafood or seafood dip at the party. Favorites include the Burgans Albarino (great value at $14) and the Bodegas Fillaboa (also about $14).

Malbec – Step it up for the meat on the tailgate menu. Malbec is spicy and jammy, a great match for a mix of sweet and spicy foods. Easy to drink and many a great value. Check out Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec and Apaltagua Malbec.

Zinfandel – Zin is an all-season wine. Great in summer, ideal on the Thanksgiving table, and a perfect pick for a tailgate. Delicious to drink on its own well into the 3rd and 4th quarters. Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel is a definite favorite, though Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel is probably my favorite value.

No matter what you pick for your tailgates – beer, bourbon or wine – enjoy that general football season warmth – fall weather rolling in, funny-looking mascots, screaming at the television when you have absolutely no control of the outcome… Happy Tailgate Season!