BOO-ze! Have a Scary Good Halloween with these Wine Picks

Once again, it’s time to peruse and sample the scary good wine options out there to celebrate all things Halloween. This year shows a few of the usual amazingly delicious suspects as well as some new choices for those to like to keep their trick-or-drinking light and portable.

Dark and Devilishly Good Reds

 

2017 All Hallow’s Eve Cabernet Franc – $60

As always, the ever impressive Nat Komes has created a unique Halloween label for the historic Ghost Winery. A menacing rat however should do little to dissuade you from tasting this smooth mouth-filling Cabernet Franc, from a small block on the Rutherford side of the Komes Ranch. Ripe fruit flavors of blackberry and warm notes of toasted marshmallow make this a spectacular choice for a crisp Halloween night.

2017 Ghost Winery Malbec $60

As one of the few remaining ghost wineries in Napa Valley, once again their Malbec is bottled in small amounts to pay homage to it’s historical roots. Aged in the Ghost Winery cellar for 21 months, the wine offer the dark flavors of plum and black cherry, while hinting at coffee beans, dark chocolate and a hint of black licorice. A dark and enticing wine to sip on a spooky All Hallow’s Eve, when phantoms and spirits roam the night.

 

 

2015 Mount Peak Winery, Rattlesnake Zinfandel $46 

Named for the serpents that coil ’round the vines for warmth at night, Rattlesnake Zinfandel is a rich and inky Zin that entices with a dark and alluring juiciness. Layers of dark fruit, combined with cocoa, black pepper and licorice make this a dark force to enjoy.

 

2017 Tessier Gamay Noir, Barsotti Vineyard $36

Aged in neutral French Oak, this exceptional Gamay Noir is costumed like a naughty librarian, alluring yet cheeky with bright tart rhubarb and spicy white pepper. This wine is crushed by foot (specifically lady feet) and is enjoyed fresh like a Beaujolais. Enjoy with your favorite naughty costume for Halloween.

 

 

Tarantas Tempranillo $11

Considered the “people’s grape” Tempranillo is a perfect addition to your Halloween festivities. Bright with the flavors of cranberries and finishing with crisp dry citrus and tannins, it pairs delightfully with a variety of foods, at a frighteningly affordable price point.

Apothic Brew $14 

A surprising cult favorite, Apothic Brew is a red blend that has been infused with cold brew coffee. A full bodied red swirls with intrigue while the coffee infusion lends mocha and chocolate to this devilish hot chocolate-like creation.

 

Trick or Drinking

When portability or single servings are the name of your Halloween game, these cans provide a delicious outlet perfect for transporting to your favorite neighborhood haunted house… No wine opener necessary.

 

 

Obsession Wines – Symphony White Wine $6.99

Like magic, this peachy, fruity white blend opens with a hint of effervescence and transforms even the darkest, spookiest Halloween jaunt through the headstones. Travels well as you traverse the neighborhood in search of devilish tricks and sweet treats.

Cascadian Outfitters – Chardonnay $30 for 6

A fresh, light chardonnay is the best thing to bring with you on a dark and stormy night. With the portability of a can, this wine brightens even the darkest Halloween nights.

 

 

Wine by Joe – Joe to Go – Pinot Noir $7 

When wine is this good, you need to be able to bring it everywhere! 350 mls of juicy acidity and bright red fruit will make this your favorite treat of the night. Pairs well with spooky adventure!

Alloy Wine Works – Everyday Red $30 for 4

This easy drinking red blend will be the life of your Halloween party. Versatile and no glass required. Enjoy as you watch the witches, dinosaurs and Fortnite characters infiltrate your neighborhood.

 

Dark Horse Rosé $4

Last but certainly not least, the dark horse of the night is actually a beautifully done rosé… by Dark Horse. This Provence-style rosé feels like sunshine in a can, with a dry, fruit-forward wine that is anything but dark.

JAM Cellars, California Candy $16 for 4

If Halloween candy isn’t your thing, maybe JAM’s California Candy is more to your liking. This delicious dry rosé of Grenache and Syrah proves that while a bowl full of fun size candy bars might be good, a can of Candy is much, much better.

Must-try Summer Wines: Bubbles, Rosé and More!

Looking for an amazing addition to your pool party, backyard bbq or summertime soiree? Check out my favorite picks then watch my time in the 8 o’clock hour at the Today Show!

Rosé All Day:

Americans have finally discovered the joy of rosé. Drinking pink is one of the hottest trends in wine with double-digit growth. These garnet-hued beauties can be made in myriad styles resulting in wines with a whisper of color or those more intensely pink. Most rosés are dry and crisp, while blush wines and those dubbed ‘white’ (as in white zinfandel) tend to be sweeter. With flavors ranging from delicate strawberry and citrus, to juicy red berry and spice, there’s a pink for everyone to drink.

2016 Minuty ‘M’ Rosé, Cotes du Provence, France $20

Packaged in a curvaceous, sexy bottle, this classic rosé hails from southern France’s Provence area. One of the top producers in the region with a rich history dating to the 19th century, Chateau Minuty is known for elegance, quality, and class. A pale-hued pink with floral aromas and peachy flavors, the ‘M’ is a Marvelous summer sip.

2016 Forty Ounce Rosé, France $16 (one liter)

A bang-for-your-buck bottling, this Gamay-based wine captures the essence of a sunny day in the French countryside, but with an American twist. New York-based sommelier, Patrick Cappiello, joined forces with French vintner, Julien Braud, to create this light-hearted pink that’s high on tongue-in-cheek style.

2016 Summer Water, Central Coast, California $19

A collaboration of Yes Way Rosé and Winc, the Summer Water is an easy-drinking pink that says it all with the name. I prefer to drink rosé over water on most summer afternoons anyway, and this wine pairs with dishes from grilled salmon to fruit salads. (If you join their wine club, the price goes to $15.)

2016 Tablas Creek ‘Patelin de Tablas’ Rosé, Paso Robles, California $24

Who said rosé can’t be a serious sipper? This one most certainly is. Primarily Grenache grapes blended with other Rhone varieties such as Mourvèdre and Syrah, it’s an aromatic, mineral-laden pink. Though Californian in birth, Tablas Creek is French at heart with the famed Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel involved.

 

Beach Bound or Poolside?

These selections are lower in alcohol than other wines offering quaffable fun in the sun.

 

Barefoot White Wine Spritzer, California $9 (four pack)

Barefoot Wine is among the top selling wine brands in the world. The reason? Good wine at great prices wrapped in a feel-good vibe.

Everyone wants to dump the shoes and walk barefoot in the sand. Now, you can do it with can in hand. This slightly fizzy tin-of-fun is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Symphony grapes topped with carbonated water, making it an ideal beach companion.

La Grande Courtâge Rosé and Brut, Sparkling Wine, France $7 (per 187 ml)

Want to upscale your outdoor imbibing? Reach for a mini from La Grande Courtâge. A French sparkler made by a Californian, Tawnya Falkner, the brand is an ode to the marriage of French and American culture. It’s a unique option for those wanting to indulge al fresco. Just add a straw, then sit back and relax.

Eppa Red Sangria, California $10

Ringing in at a mere 9 percent alcohol, this super-Sangria is organically-grown red wine blended with organic juices including pomegranate, blueberry, and blood orange. The refreshing red is ideal over ice with sliced fruit. Enjoy a pitcher poolside and let summer begin.

 

Global Grilling with Latin Flair:

From Spain to South America, these selections bring a little heat to dishes hot off the grill. There are no rules when it comes to pairing white wine with fish and red with meat, but if a spicy shrimp platter or Cajun-rubbed chicken breast is on the menu, reach for one of these two mouthwatering coastal whites to tame the fire.

 

2015 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile $15

 

A classic pairing with fiery fare is Sauvignon Blanc. This citrus-scented version is made from grapes grown in cool-climate vineyards on Chile’s Pacific Coast. Made by the talented hands of Rodrigo Soto – one of the country’s acclaimed winemakers – the Ritual is a winner for not only warm-weather sipping, but year ‘round imbibing.

2015 Fillaboa Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain $18

For an exotic take on crisp whites, head to Spain’s west coast to sample Albariño. An Iberian Peninsula grape variety, it explodes with orange blossom aromas and succulent fruit flavors. Fillaboa is one of my top-pick producers from the area of Galicia called Spain’s “land of the sea.” Don your shades and take a virtual vacation in a glass.

 

When barbecue ribs or perfectly-seared rib eye is served, think of these spicy reds to pair alongside.

2014 Clos de los Siete, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina $20

Made high in the Andes by noted French winemaker, Michel Rolland, this Malbec-driven blend combines Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in a full-bodied, dark-fruited red that’s supple and alluring. Still sporting elegance, however, it’s an ideal match for steak, steak, and more steak.

 2008 Arinzano ‘La Casona’ Pago de Arinzano, Spain $40

Want to splurge on your next grilling red? Reach for this exceptional bottling from Arinzano. Noted as one of the top estates—or Pagos – in Spain, La Casona is made with the signature red grape Tempranillo rounded out with Merlot. A lush, age-worthy red, it’s a wine to drink with anything…or nothing at all.

 

Summer Holiday Celebrations, American Style:

From July 4th to Labor Day, these American wines with a story to tell are ones to share with a crowd.

 

2016 The Federalist Chardonnay, Mendocino County, California $17.76

With the smashing success of Broadway’s Hamilton, it’s no surprise there is a wine brand celebrating our Founding Fathers and

wine’s role in American history. This oak-kissed, smooth Chardonnay showcases Lady Liberty on the label making it fab for the 4th. The price is what else? $17.76.

2014 Purple Heart Red Wine, Napa Valley, California $20

You can do good and drink well during summer gatherings with Purple Heart. A rich red blend

that’s delicious to sip is one reason to buy the wine, but the other is that annual donations are
made to the Purple Heart Foundation in honor of American military veterans and their families.

Chandon ‘American Summer’ Brut sparkling wine, California $26

Wrapped in a seascape of red, white and blue, this limited-edition bottling from Chandon is a deliciously dry yet fruit-driven sparkling wine. Become part of the #chandonsquad and raise a glass. It’s a top way to toast summer.

 

 

 

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Weekly Wine Picks : Bubbles, Rosés and Blends

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Ferrari “Perlé” Brut sparkling wine, Trentodoc, Italy ($35)
As a sparkling wine lover, I’m always on the look out for exciting, high-quality bubbly and this wine qualifies. It’s a beauty to savor with food or on its own. You’ll be considered in-the-know by saying “TrentoDOC” (pronounced dock) like the northern Italians do. A special place tucked into the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains outside of the city of Trento, the wines are made in the traditional method and with the same grapes that grow in Champagne, France including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Around 1900, Giulio Ferrari was responsible for bringing those grapes to the Italian region after working in Champagne. From there, one of Italy’s top bubblies was born. The Perlé is made with pure Chardonnay and serves up a sumptuous yet crisp sparkler layered with rich fruit.

2013 J. Lohr “Gesture” Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles, California ($18)
J. Lohr is a winery that has helped put Monterey County on the map. With vineyards in Paso Robles and Napa, as well as Monterey, it’s a California winery with stature and status. Originally conceived to be part of their wine club, the Gesture line focuses on Rhone-style wines such as this appealing pink. Made with Grenache grapes, it’s dry but with succulent red berry fruit flavors and a kick of spice. Don’t worry about pairing it with food (it goes with just about everything), just serve it with special moments in your life.

2012 Doña Paula “Black Edition” red blend, Mendoza, Argentina ($18)
Take a virtual trip to South America for less than $20 with this stupendous buy. Like tango dancers that pair tension with drama, the Black Edition is a red for lovers of sultry blends. Made with a marriage of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon & Petite Verdot, it has enough structure to age up to five years, but is appealingly smooth and ready to drink now. It partners well with hearty dishes like grilled steak or Portobello mushrooms. Stock up and toast me when you open a bottle.

Cheers!!

hecht-bannier-rose-picks

The Right Time for Rosé

RoséNo matter what season, it’s always the right time for rosé. We think of drinking pink in warm weather but with the carefree days of summer nearly behind us, don’t put away those bottles yet. Sip into fall with rosé, too. Enjoying a glass makes short work of back-to-school stress.

Rosé is a top pick year round due to its flexibility, affordability, and visual appeal. It pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes, most are under $15, and it’s pretty to look at. With a rainbow of hues from light salmon to deep fuchsia, there are easily 50 shades of pink when it comes to rosé.

I’m such a fan of pink wines, I have a glass of rosé tattooed on my leg. Now, that’s commitment.

Leslie Sbrocco

 

Pink from Red

Most rosé is made by crushing red grapes and allowing the fresh juice to remain in contact with the purple grape skins for a short time. Which grape varieties are used and how long the juice soaks with the skins gives rosés their telltale color and style. Lighter versions can be made from grapes like Pinot Noir, Grenache and Tempranillo, while deeper-hued, fuller-bodied wines hail from varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.

The juice can be made into sweeter blush styles (ubiquitous white zinfandel) but the hot trend is to drink dry. All the wines I recommend below are deliciously dry in style with mouthwatering fruit flavors.

Dish it up

From brunch to lunch wines, cocktail hour sipping to dinner options, rosé is the answer. Because pink wines are made with red grapes but in a white wine style, they swing both ways when tackling the table. In other words, rosés pair as easily with delicate fish dishes as with rich meaty ones.

Rosés have a vibrant, racy character with juicy flavors that are ideal with ribs off the grill smothered in barbeque sauce or Cajun-spiced shrimp. Pinks are also my pick for handling the cacophony of flavors on a Thanksgiving table (if you want to think that far ahead).

When it comes to serving, chill your pinks down. This brings out the fruity notes and tames the alcohol. I put my bottles in a bucket or sink filled with half ice and half water for about 20-30 minutes. But, I am not above putting an ice cube or two in my glass. I make my own pink cubes with leftover rosé. It’s the perfect way to keep my glass cool without diluting the wine.

Take a trip

Drinking rosé is a virtual visit around the wine world. From New York to California, South America to Europe, and Australia to New Zealand, you can find high-quality global pinks.

Famous spots to look for on a label include the regions of Rioja and Navarra in Spain, the southern French areas of Bandol, Tavel and Côtes de Provence, and Bordeaux in France. This iconic place is thought of primarily for expensive reds, but my hidden gem recommendation is Bordeaux rosé. Producers are making lighter-styled versions dubbed simplyrosé” while their unique “clairet” (pronounced clare-ahy) styles are darker and more similar to a light red.

Whichever rosé you choose, follow my lead and pack your upcoming calendar with drinking pleasure.

artazuri_rosado

 

Shopping List

 

Light and Refreshing:

 

2013 Chateau Pey La Tour, Bordeaux Rosé, France $13

Hailing from the scenic EntreDeuxMers area of Bordeaux, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes is crisp and lively.

 

2013 Charles & Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington $10

Winemakers Charles Smith and Charles Biehler have a motto “It’s just wine, drink it.” Couldn’t agree more. You’ll want to drink two bottles of this grown-up juice.

 

2013 Marc Roman Rosé, France $10

Light, bright and simply fun to drink. With lip-smacking freshness and an easy-open screwcap, it’s a top party pick.

 

2013 Ontañón Clarete, Rioja, Spain $12

A unique wine with a salmon hue blends mostly white Viura grapes with a dash of red Tempranillo. It’s floral-scented elegance makes the wine an ideal pick for patio sipping.

 

2013 Jaboulet “Parallèle 45” Rosé, Côtes du Rhône, France $12

This classic blend of Grenache and Syrah is a crowd pleaser. Red berry and strawberry aromas are followed by a spicy kick.

 

  

Medium-bodied and Juicy:

 

2013 Chateau Penin, Bordeaux Rosé, France $14

Winemaker Patrick Carteyron crafts some of Bordeaux’s best rosés including this deliciously complex yet succulent pink. It’s one of my current favorites and a wine to seek out.

 

2013 Domain de Nizas Rosé, Languedoc, France $17

A traditional combination of southern French varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, the modern-styled pink is class in a glass.

 

2013 El Coto Rosado, Rioja, Spain $13

Hailing from vineyards high in Rioja, this wine is made in a style to please every palate. Fresh and juicy but with some fleshy qualities, it goes beachside to tableside with ease.

 

2013 Artazuri Garnacha Rosado, Navarra, Spain $11

A snappy yet complex wine from the grape variety Garnacha (otherwise known as Grenache), it’s packed with strawberry and watermelon notes layered with a hint of spice. You’ll convert to pink after sipping this appealing wine.

 

2013 Hecht Bannier Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France $20

If you want a striking gift, stock up on this wine. The packaging – a clear bottle with glass closure – is sleek and stylish. Buy it for the looks but love it for the wine inside.

 

 

Powerful and Spicy:

 

2013 Montes “Cherub” Rosé of Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile $15

Winemaking icon, Aurelio Montes, captures the fun of pink wines with Cherub. The whimsical angel label grabs your attention, but it’s the lush rosé that makes you smile.

 

2013 Las Rocas Rosé, Calatayud, Spain $14

High altitude, rocky vineyards in the rugged Calatayud region are responsible for a rosé with layers of flavor. Serious wine, but still seriously enjoyable to sip.

 

2012 Chateau Penin Clairet, Bordeaux, France $14

For red drinkers who don’t like rosé, this hearty wine will have them seeing…and drinking pink. A deeper, darker dry rosé based upon Merlot, it shines with grilled or braised meats.

 

2013 Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California $12

Don’t think sweet when you see Zinfandel on the label. Pedroncelli is an historic producer of the classic red grape and makes this dry pink version that will impress for less.

 

2013 Wild Horse “Floyd” Rosé, Central Coast, California $20

Named for the llama who lives on the winery’s property (with a tongue-in-cheek ode to the band Pink Floyd, as well) this delicious, limited-production rosé is a unique blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese.

 

 

Do you love to drink pink? Let me know what YOUR favorites are!