2012 Fitapreta “Sexy” Rosé, Portugal ($10)
This full-bodied pink is made from native Portuguese varieties such as Touriga Nacional and Aragonez with a dash of Syrah. Watermelon and red berry flavors with a ping of peppery spice on the finish makes it a complex wine for the price. Serve it up with anything hot off the grill and doused in barbeque sauce.
2010 Palacios Remondo “La Montessa” Rioja, Spain ($17)
This is such a delicious wine. At this price, it qualifies as one of the best values on the wine market. Alvaro Palacios ranks among Spain’s hottest winemakers/vintners crafting beauties from areas like Priorat and Bierzo, but his family’s historic winery, Palacios Remondo, is a classic. This unique red blend (of mostly Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes) hails from the high-altitude southern reaches of Rioja where gravelly soils reign. Lush yet vibrant, it’s a wine that belongs on every table.
2012 Reata Chardonnay, Carneros, California ($25)
I’m a huge of Chardonnay. Balanced, mouthwatering yet rich styles are what I crave and that is exactly what Reata makes. Grapes hail from the cool Carneros region straddling Napa and Sonoma allowing them to get ripe, full flavors, but maintain their acidity and brightness from cool nights. This wine is aged in half stainless steel and other half in oak barrels creating the perfect balance of crisp fruit notes and a creamy texture. It’s a wine at home with salmon dishes as well as pork chops bathed in mustard sauce.
2011 Jamieson Ranch “Double Lariat” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California ($55)
You might expect to pay twice the price for a cellar-worthy, classy Napa Cabernet such as this one. The Double Lariat is powerful and structured but already drinking as smooth as silk. Both fermented and aged in barrel to allow for more complexity, aromas of cocoa and brown spices pair with rich, dark berry fruit notes and supple tannins, which give layers of lushness to the wine. Drink with simple grilled steak for a perfect pairing (just make sure to decant several hours ahead of time).