Single varietal wines from Rioja used to be hard to find and expensive. Recently, such wines have become more common, although they still tend to be priced well beyond the $10 range.
I’ve been a fan of Malbec from Argentina for many years, but after I recently tried Clos La Coutale, a dark, red version from Cahors in Southwest France, I have switched my allegiance.
When it comes to wine labels, I’m pretty conservative. I’m attracted to the clean, straightforward look, labels with clear type sporting a crest or a drawing of the chateau. I tend to avoid wines selling themselves with cute names, overweight circus animals and sadly portrayed dogs and cats, labels that, in my experience, often mask an inferior product.
Malbec, the signature red wine of Argentina, is well-suited for winter drinking, full of dark fruit and chocolate flavors that go well with meats, rich soups and stews.
William Hill Estate’s North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value and a perfect wine for drinking on winter nights.
There are a number of wines — reds, whites and rosés — that go well with the Thanksgiving dinner, but over the last few years, Pinot Noir has emerged as my favorite red to pair with the traditional feast, and Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir from Chile is an excellent, inexpensive choice.
In the past, I’ve written about the excellent Pinot Noir being produced in New Zealand. Matua’s Pinot Noir is no exception, and it carries the added benefit of being less expensive than the other Kiwi wines I’ve mentioned.
There is little argument that some of Spain’s best red wines come from the Rioja region in the north central part of the country.
Generally, I’m reluctant to get overly excited about wines with a cause. They often seem like gimmicky marketing ploys to promote less than stellar wines by pulling on your philanthropic heart strings.
In the world of wine, Domaine La Manarine is a relatively minor player — about 89 acres of vines, 60,000 bottles of wine a year — and that’s a good thing.