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.