A bright-eyed Bordeaux blend built on Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 L'Ecole 41 Luminesce brings the sweet scent of apricot and citrus to the nose. Lively stone fruit and unmistakable minerality meet on the palate with a well-balanced, medium-bodied backdrop.
An understated elegance, engaging finish, and remarkable price point make this a wine to remember the next time you find yourself strolling the wine aisle scouting for a versatile, food-friendly white wine.
The 2012 Artezin Zinfandel from Menocino County rocks out with massive raspberry fruit wrapped up in spicy cinnamon and black pepper on the nose. The palate brings out extended fruit sequences ranging from juicy raspberry to dense plum with black pepper, black licorice and pumpkin pie spice playing a consistent jig on the background profile.
The innate tannin structure is well-maintained and offers a supple skeleton to support the fruit. Expect an engaging finish with solid balance.
Zinfandel makes its mark in foodie circles for its uncanny ability to pair with an impressive array of recipes. Primed to be a top pick red wine for backyard barbecues, chili cook offs, and an endless list of beef cuts and wild game, the Artezin Zin from Mendocino is no exception.
Finding good, cheap wine is not about pinching pennies, but about going outside of well-worn wine buying paradigms. Be willing to try wines from unknown regions or bottles made from unfamiliar grapes. Seek out a wine grape variety in one country and see how it shapes up from another nation.
Always reaching for red wines? Then give a slew of versatile, food-friendly white wines a serious swirl. Substitute similar wine styles for new grape varietals. By approaching wine buying from various angles, you will not only significantly broaden your palate, but you are sure to find plenty of well-priced wines along the way.
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Vivid pink colors and wildly flavorful, this engaging South African rosé from Mulderbosch brings intense aromas of strawberry, raspberry and roses to the nose. The palate busts out some significant red fruit, followed by delicious acidity and a bright, balanced profile.
A top pick wine for pairing with a wide assortment of foodie favorites, the Mulderbosch rosé is a go-to wine when looking for value and versatility.
Looking for a rich, red wine from Piedmont, but don't have the time (or cash) to wait on the region's famed Barolo to mature? Then check out this classic, well-made and well-priced 2010 Barbaresco from Beni Di Batasiolo, an Italian winery under the Boisset Family Estate umbrella, crafted from the famed Nebbiolo grape - maker of both Barolo and Barbaresco wine. Expect floral rose notes and black licorice to dominate the aromas with an earthy backdrop and subtle fruit.
On the palate, black cherry, plum and sweet spice play an intense game of hide and seek with the tightly woven tannins. Power and purpose steer this wine from first sip to persistent finish. Made for meat, this wine will shine when partnered with braised game, bollito misto, regionally cured meats, along with the seasonally-inspired treats of truffles and more.
While perfectly capable of offering up delicious delight right now, patience will pay off, as this muscular red would enjoy another 5-7 years of cellar time development to tame the tannins and showcase the layers of concentration.
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and since many choose to toast the day with wine, we've gathered some of our best wines, gifts and wine and chocolate pairings to make celebrating your love of wine and each other that much easier.
Take a peek at our favorite wine gifts and gadgets with an eye to budget-friendly finds, and our top wine picks with full flavors (and fun colors!), along with an updated approach to pairing Cupid's classic pack of chocolate with a variety of wines (not always an easy pairing, but well worth the experiment):
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While wine and chocolate often share a similar fan base, the two can take a bit of effort to find their footing in a functional wine and chocolate pairing synergy.
By keeping things simple from the start, and choosing a wine that plays well with a variety of chocolate styles and then moving into more defined chocolate pairing protocol, enthusiasts from both camps can hedge their bets and increase the chances of finding the right wine for their choice of chocolate every time.
Get quick tips and specific pairings for wine and chocolate here.
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Italians enjoy a long legacy of love, from Verona's Romeo and Juliet to Venice's famed Casanova, there's no doubt that they've got it going on when it comes to amore!
To satisfy the search for an Italian red wine this Valentine's Day, look no further than this classic Chianti from Frescobaldi; full of Sangiovese's fresh florals, plum mixed with red cherry flavor and good bit of warm spice, this medium-bodied wine enjoys balance and well-woven tannins. At a mere $12 a pop and enjoying wide distribution, this particular wine from Tuscany is a winner with aged cheese (think Parmesan), tomato-based sauces and a variety of sausages.
Symington Family Estates is a top producer of premium Port wines from Portugal's prestigious Douro Valley. Their story began over 350 years ago with some of the earliest recorded ties to the Port trade. Today, the family is in its fifth generation of steering the growth, production and export of some of the world's most coveted Port wines. With well-known Port labels like Graham's, Dow's, Cockburn's, and Warre's playing full time ambassador for Portugal and the Port market, Symington Family Estates places a high value on its rich heritage and tradition while keeping a keen eye focused forward with innovation and modernization.
Priority is placed on offering the international market a full spectrum of Port styles and price points. Case in point, take a peek at Symington's prominent Graham's Port label. The Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port serves as the quintessential introduction to Port wine, with fresh fruit, dark chocolate and an ultra-friendly palate profile that is ready to drink upon release. Then compare the Six Grapes to Graham's high-end vintage Ports, which will require a little more maintenance and patience in the cellar and call for more cash on the outset; they mature into well-layered, deeply concentrated wines with secondary aromatics that spotlight smoke and spice while still clinging on to ripe red fruit early on and coming into more dried fruit with raisin and fig character as time continues.
In between, there's the Tawny Ports and Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports that manage to play the middle market in terms of style and pricing. Graham's 20 Year Tawny carries nutty nuances alongside fresh red fruit character in a rich, well-structured Port with fantastic acidity and a dry, well-developed finish. The LBVs bring nice concentration and depth, as a result of 4-6 years in wood, but are ready to enjoy once they hit the bottle, with a very reasonable price.
As Portuguese Port Producer of the Year for 2013, recognized by the International Wine & Spirit Competition, Symington Family Estates lives up to its reputation and international expectation for being a family-owned industry leader, while living and leaving a traditional Port wine legacy. Graham's, Dow's, Cockburn's, Warre's, Smith Woodhouse, Prats & Symington...these are go-to labels, all under the Symington name, that you can count on vintage in and vintage out, promising consistency and quality backed by history and ultimately the pride of the family's name. Learn more about Symington Family Estates here.
Whether you are rooting for the Broncos or the Seahawks this weekend, there are plenty of reasons to gather with friends and family for your fill of good food and good wine. With Super Bowl Sunday just around the corner, it's time to get your party planning on, we've gathered some easy appetizer recipes with versatile wine pairings, or checkout Colleen Graham's Super Bowl-themed cocktails here.
Party planning in a pinch? Snag some quick tips for Super Bowl party planning with About.com's Entertaining Expert. Whether you are going for pub grub, or chips and dips, we've got your wine recs covered here, or turn things up a festive notch and offer up some Super Bowl Sangrias with these tasty treats.