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.
This is a period of transition on many fronts. There still may be snow on the ground and temperatures in the teens, but the warm spring sun is a clear signal that it’s time to start trimming down, putting away rich food and switching from heavy, higher alcohol red wines to something lighter and brighter.
Castle Rock Pinot Noir got my attention a month or so ago when I found a bottle on sale and decided to give it a try. For $10.99, I expected a California Pinot Noir like many in that price range, drinkable, but bland and mass produced without much attention to detail.
Part of the fun of writing this column is that I often need to look for largely undiscovered, good affordable wines. It’s a quest that I enjoy and that can be rewarding when I do find something that’s new and exciting in the sea of wines on the market.
Although it might be hard to tell from our contradictory weather these days, we’re in the dead of winter, a season that cries out for deep, rich red wines full of dark berry and plum flavors.
For more than three decades, New Zealand winemakers have been known for producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Until recently, however, the Kiwi producers haven’t been bringing home international accolades for their Pinot Noir.
At first blush, one wouldn’t think that the producer of one of world’s most popular “brown-bag wines” would be making a well-crafted, reasonably priced Pinot Noir, much less any other drinkable wine.
My first impression of Chianti, as it is for many people, was the iconic straw-wrapped bottle, not the wine. Occasionally, an unopened bottle would show up at my parents’ house, usually a gift from a friend coming to dinner, and by the end of the evening, it would be empty.