Wine recommendations


  • Aia Vecchia Solidio ($14). Flower petal aromas combine with cherry flavors to make a decent aperitif. 
  • Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals 2016 ($15). As the label suggests, this blend of grenache and syrah is boisterous with strawberry and raspberry flavors.  
  • Leyda Pinot Noir Rose 2016 ($16). Using pinot noir from this coastal region of Leyda Valley in Chile, this producer has made a unique rose with bright and pure cherry fruit flavors.
  •  Presqu'ile Pinot Noir Rose 2016 ($22). Made entirely from pinot noir grown in Santa Maria Valley, this exquisite wine has fresh strawberry flavors and crisp acidity. 
  • Castello di Bossi Rosato Toscana IGT 2016 ($18). A blend of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon, this Tuscan rose has lots cherry and cranberry flavors with a dash of dried herbs on the nose. Very nice. 
  • Clos Pegase Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($50). The blended grapes in this voluptuous wine have more than a supporting role. Petit verdot, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah and Malbec give the 75 percent cabernet sauvignon a burst of flavor, aromas and body. Flavors widely range from black cherries to plums with hints of cedar, licorice and sage.   Dense and forward.    

  • Fortress Knight's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 ($40). A pleasing blend of 88 percent cabernet sauvignon, and a dash ofpetite verdot, malbec, and merlot. A modestly intense and sophisticated red wine with a blackberry and cassis nose and flavors, some spice and a tad of sweet vanillin oak.  

  • Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Jane’s Vineyard Sonoma County 2014. We really liked this easy drinking pinot noir that personified the crop of delicious pinot noir currently coming from a number good California producers. Cherries and spice with a whiff of integrated oak make this wine a crowd pleaser.   

  • Chateau La Cardonne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 ($25). A blend of 50 percent merlot, 45 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc, this is a delightful red bordeaux from the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Berry and cassis nose and flavors with a hint of leather. Very drinkable now but should evolve well over the next 3-5 years.. 

  • Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2013 ($27). This zesty blend of all five Bordeaux grapes sang when we served it alongside grilled steak. Deep and dark with rich cherry/berry flavors and scents. Ready to drink now or age 3-5 years.  

  • Dutcher Crossing Taylor Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($48). New to us, this Dry Creek Valley producer impressed us with all its wines. The cabernet is a killer for those who like a fruit-forward style that hits 10 on the delicious scale and that is thanks in part to the syrah that makes up 20 percent of the blend. Ripe blackberry and spice aromas with richly textured blackberry and spice flavors. You will enjoy Dutcher Crossing's flavorful Maple Vineyard zinfandel too.    

  • Beringer The Waymaker Red Wine Paso Robles 2014 ($28). This mélange of mostly syrah and cabernet along with petite sirah, malbec, mourvedre, petite verdot and tannat produces a abundantly rich and elegant red wine. Effusive blueberry and blackberry nose. In the mouth cherry, blueberry and cherry flavors are accented by delightful spicy elements. This is a terrific effort by Beringer and well worth the price. Awesome! 

  • Grove Mill Pinot Noir Wairau Valley Marlborough New Zealand 2013 ($20). This pinot noir from New Zealand will give you some insight about the increasing interest in this finicky grape grown in the southern hemisphere. Spice and cherry elements dominate the nose and palate in a thirst-quenching package. Very well balanced and easy to drink.   

  • Joseph Drouhin Côte De Beaune-Villages 2014 ($29). This red burgundy made from 100 percent pinot noir would be a terrific introduction to those readers not familiar with this appellation. A typical expressive cherry accented pinot noir nose with cranberry and cherry flavors with some spice elements. Not complicated just pleasing to drink and at a decent price for a burgundy.  

  • Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah 2014 ($20). For decades we have enjoyed this delicious petite sirah from the Livermore Valley. Very rich texture with intense, focused blackberry and blueberry fruit flavors. Concannon specializes in this grape variety and there are even better, single-vineyard versions, albeit for more money.   

  • Ron Rubin Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2013 ($40). This unique region of the Russian River Valley produces some interesting wines. The Rubin pinot noir has bright cherry and plum flavors with a good dose of spice and cocoa. Fermented in stainless steel, it's profile is clean and medium bodied.