Wine Recommendations:
(Prices are retail and change from time to time – there is no markup.)

Hahn Estates – Napa Cabernet – Santa Lucia Highlands – $22.00
(This wine is utterly drinkable with any meal on the menu. Being an old-world style blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon – then lesser percentages Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec – the wine is exceptionally well balanced as far as acidity, tannins and deep fruit flavors. Sensitive palates should appreciate the light, mineral notes in the background. There is simply nothing out of place when it comes to this wine. You will find it a great cross-over red for fans of lighter whites who are on the fence about deeper, more robust Cabernet wines.)

J – Russian River Pinot Grigio, Sonoma – $18.00
(Crisp and light with well balanced acidity. Wine bursts in your mouth when sipped with mangoes and fresh fruit dishes. Light enough to drink by itself, yet with enough body and character to stand up to rich reduction sauces and seafood. A favorite white – coming from a guy that is not a big fan of white wines. Stick around for the finish, which is surprisingly and pleasantly long.)

J. Phelps – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – $45.00
(More in line with traditional Cabernet wines, this well crafted, deep, rich red begs you to continue drinking after the first sip. Robust and complex with well balanced tannin up front – the wine is a good rack wine that will last in a collection for quite some time and mellow with age. An absolute must for true Cabernet fans.)

Seghesio Family Vineyards – Sonoma Zinfandel – $16.00
(This wine packs a walloping 15.4 percent alcohol punch disguised in a very well rounded, deep fruit flavor with great balance and an elegant, near silky mouth feel. Not an “over the top” Zinfandel where big fruit overwhelms you – This wine on the other hand seems to pull up a chair at the table and say, “How ya’ doin’? Lovely fruit with a start to finish character that doesn’t morph on you halfway through the meal. Get extra bottles because your guests will be asking for more. Excellent with peppered, spicy, sweeter meals.)

Chateau La Fleur Perey, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux – $20.00
(Going back to my love of mineral-laden wines, this french Bordeaux should take the mystery out of why the wine should be loved – An 85-15 Merlot-Cabernet blend – big glasses are a must. Sit back and let this earthy, spicy, medium bodied black cherry red take you to the lush and fertile grounds from whence it came. A real pleasure when time is not at a premium – enjoy it as you go into the latter part of your evening.)

Markham, Reserve Merlot, Napa – $40.00
(A guest once referred to this as an “old world, country red” – I’m not sure exactly what he meant with those words – but I know what he meant when it came to enjoying the wine. Velvet mouth feel, well rounded tannins and balanced acidity, subtle fruits and light oak. Once again – well balance all around. A surprising Merlot that seems to have shed all the cumbersome traits which follow the varietal around from year to year. It is somewhat dry with pronounced tannin, but not overdone in any way. Craftsmanship in the wine is evident. A must for Merlot fans.)

Marques de Riscal Rioja, Tempranillo, Spain – $18.00
(Always one of my favorite Spanish reds, the wine never ceases to satisfy. A rack-worthy wine that can have a bit of a bite when young, a few minutes in the air and spice along with deep dark fruit abounds. The crispness of the tannins begs for cheeses, meats and breads. It is a popular drinker with the guests – so be sure to get a few. – Enjoy the wine and the rest will always follow.)