After my wine tasting in Chicago, I had to search out and find a Chilean wine that stood as a good example of the delicious wines that can be found in that region. The 2009 Veranda Cabernet-Carménère is an excellent example of just such a wine.
The Veranda Cabernet is an estate bottled wine from the Colchagua Valley of Chile where Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah wines are predominant. It is a medium-bodied red wine blend with dark fruit and earthy aromas and just the right hint of smoky notes. Its flavors are well structured and primarily of blackberry and plum, courtesy of the Carmenere grapes, but the finish is all Cabernet, with the taste of black cherry coming to the forefront. A wonderfully rich wine that will pair well with heavier meals. I recommend everyone stock up on this one while it is still available.
Food Pairing: As with the fuller Cabernet Sauvignons, this blend of Cabernet and Carmenere, pairs best with the rich and powerful flavors of grilled meats as the dark fruit and spiciness compliments the smoky taste of the grill.
Want to serve a nice red wine with your next steak dinner? Well, you can’t go wrong with this 2010 Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if you like a more medium-bodied wine and one that is not too dry.
And there is an interesting story behind this wine. It has a very famous singer/songwriter to thank for its origin – Dave Matthews, as well as a famous winemaker, Steve Reeder. Dave & Steve were eager to create a wine that was both flavorful and “full of soul” as well as one that had the least amount of environmental impact. They achieved their goal by sourcing grapes only from sustainably-farmed vineyards on California’s North Coast, producing labels that are made of recycled paper, using a bottle that is 25% less dense than standard bottles and stopping with corks from sustainably grown trees.
Now, without a good tasting wine these noble ideals wouldn’t be that important but, thankfully, the wine is very enjoyable. Upon opening, aromas of dark fruit and plum meet the nose followed by a taste that is full of intense cherry and blackberry flavors and just a touch of vanilla and licorice. It has a nice smooth, velvety texture and a finish that has a hint of sweet spices and vanilla. Great wine for the money!
Food Pairing: Serve with beef such as steaks and standing rib roasts, grilled leg of lamb and pork loin as well as coal-fired pepperoni pizzas, Eggplant Parmesan and hard cheeses.
I first had this at a neighbor’s house and was so impressed that I had to ask where he bought it and stock up on some myself. This is a wonderfully delicious wine for that special occasion and one that won’t make a big dent in your wallet.
2007 Bodega Norton Privada
A fruit-forward Malbec/Bordeaux blend from Argentina with just the right amount of spiciness and minerals. Comprised of 40%Malbec, 30% Cabernet and 30% Merlot it is the perfect combination that is both well balanced and full-bodied. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry, chocolate and smoke greet your nose and upon first sip you will be met with flavors of cherry, dark fruit and toasty oak along with a naturally smooth, slightly chocolatey finish.
A great wine for the money. Decant prior to serving to enhance aromas and flavors.
Food Pairing: Pair this wine with steak, braised or barbecued beef, game, lamb, Mexican, Italian or other spicy ethnic foods as well as bratwurst and other hearty meats. Truly a versatile wine!
While dining at the lovely Brio Tuscan Grille in Boca Raton, Florida I saw a very interesting bottle of wine on the counter of the bar. It was a Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon with hand-drawn sketches of Mendocino County California on the labels. I later learned that these labels were sketched by artists Bill Shedds and Randy Grochoske and are meant to reflect the beautiful Mendocino countryside and the free-spirit of the winemakers.
Sketchbook Cabernet is a lush, full-bodied, velvety wine with complex aromas and appealing layers of sweet cherry, plum and black currant flavors accented with hints of mocha & toasty cedar. The wine has a wonderful balance with a long fruity finish enhanced by oak overtones. Truly a wine I enjoyed with my Italian pasta dinner and one I would purchase to enjoy at home.
Food pairing: Pair with red-sauced pastas, red meats, lamb, rich cheesy vegetable dishes, aged cheeses and, my favorite, dark chocolate.