Don’s March Premier Series Top Pick

Artesana-Tannat-2013It’s always hard to choose just one Top Pick, especially when wines like Emile Beyer’s beautiful 2013 Pinot Blanc and Vigneau-Chevreau’s wonderful 2012 Vouvray are part of the monthly line-up. However, with winter still hanging around, my Top Pick has to be one of this month’s reds. El Pajaro Rojo’s youthful 2013 Bierzo Mencia is a classy, splendid red that makes me believe that the little known Mencia varietal truly deserves a lot more recognition. El Pajaro’s Mencia also makes for a wonderful dinner companion. On the other hand, Artesana’s 2013 Tannat provides a hearty mouthful of wine that is sure to fortify the blood and give courage to even the faintest of souls. And like Mencia, Tannat in the hands of an accomplished property like Artesana deserves to be better known. Maybe it’s the weather, but my Top Pick this month goes to Artesana’s beautiful, bold 2013 Tannat.





Announcing Our “Bold Reds” Wine Sale

red wineTired of winter yet? How about some big, bold, red wines to help shake off the cold?!

We at The International Wine of the Month Club are very excited to announce a sale on 4 powerful, world-class red wines which blew us away at our recent Tasting Panels. We’re making each of these highly-rated red wines available at unbeatable values – up to 45% off retail price, plus extra discounts when you order 6 total bottles or more!

And, you don’t have to be a wine club member to take advantage of this Special Offer, so feel free to let all your wine-loving friends know, too!

High ratings, gold medals, super-limited production – and a huge thumbs up from our 30+ person tasting panel – these wines have it all. Check them out at

More Winter Warmers: Wines for a Cold Winter’s Night

Winter WineWhat a winter this has been! Here it is March and spring has not yet sprung in my neck of the woods or in many other places around the country either, so rather than turn my sights to springtime wines, I am still looking for complex, robust reds to ward off what appears to be a terminal case of winter. Here are a few beauties that I’ve come across recently that should get us through winter’s last stand:

Alta Vintner’s Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – What a find this wine is. Grown on the heights of Atlas Peak, this reserve Cabernet positively sings from the glass. Balanced, complex and thoroughly palate pleasing, this wine makes me forget about the weather outside. Better still, it tastes great now, with or without aeration.

Benovia Sonoma County Zinfandel 2011 – There’s no wimp in this Zinfandel. With 15.8% alcohol and a boatload of flavor to bolster its body, Benovia’s Zin is sure to ward off what’s left of winter. Give it some aeration and let it get your blood pumping and your mouth watering.

Château St. André Corbin St. Georges-St. Emilion 2012 – Although not as bold as some of the other winter warmers, this young Bordeaux is too delicious to pass up. It offers terrific aromatics, a wealth of long smooth flavors, and ample amounts of silky tannins to chase away the winter blues. This young Bordeaux offers the perfect claret to drink now, though it should provide great drinking pleasure for a decade or more.

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2005 – La Rioja Alta is a traditional bodega that ages its reserve wines and releases them only as they approach maturity. This 2005 Reserva is the bodega’s current release, and what a beauty it is. It’s a traditional, full-bodied Rioja Reserva that offers plenty of savory cherry, plum, chocolate and espresso flavors to make weary humans forget the weather stained cares of life for a while.

Nus del Terrer Tarragona D.O. 2010 – An artful blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain’s sunny Mediterranean Coast, the 2010 Nus del Terrer rivals in quality the greatest reserve bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s bold, beautiful and jam-packed with flavor. It brings sun and warmth in every glass, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

Drink up and enjoy!

Champagne Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving and Holidays

ChampagneMost Americans relegate Champagne and other fine sparkling wines to special occasions, like Thanksgiving dinner, weddings, late-night holiday parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations, and other such events. Frankly, Champagne deserves better.

European wine drinkers discovered the many pleasures of Champagne long ago and consume far more Champagne than Americans. As the original and finest sparkling wine from the ancient province of Champagne, France, this wonderful wine still enjoys a reputation as the “Belle of the Ball” or a wine of conviviality and good cheer. But, this delectable drink also pairs beautifully with many types of foods, and deserves a new reputation as a wine for all seasons and occasions.

To get a taste of what I’m talking about, prepare a meal around a good bottle of Champagne and see why French and Italians consume so much more of this magical wine than Americans. Why not discover the pleasure of Champagne and pour a glass of Champagne on a cold, rainy day as well as a warm, sunny day, or serve it at a mid-week meal as well as at a party? Isn’t every day meant to be celebrated in some fashion? Why limit the pleasure of good bubbly to a few occasions or just one time of year?

Champagne makes glad the heart as it cleanses the palate and enlivens the soul. For these reasons, and more, I enjoy Champagne at Thanksgiving and any other holiday where a good meal is to be had. I especially enjoy it as an aperitif, or as an accompaniment to a fun-filled evening with tasty morsels.

Winston Churchill is reputed to have remarked, “In the time left to us between the disaster and the catastrophe, there is time for a glass of Champagne.” So, what are we waiting for? Make mine Brut Champagne with some amazing foods, like the ideas I’ve listed below!

Some great foods to pair with Champagne

  • Smoked Salmon with Capers, Cucumber, and Cream Cheese
  • Caviar
  • Crab Dip
  • Lobster
  • Salmon with Fennel in a Light Cream Sauce
  • Sautéed Scallops
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Stuffed Mushrooms, Hors d’Oeuvres, Canapés
  • Chicken or Shrimp Satay with a Peanut Sauce
  • Suprême de Volailles aux Champignons (aka Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)
  • Vegetarian Spring Rolls
  • Muenster, Neufchâtel, Port Salut and many other cheese

Learn more about how our wine club works and why wines from The International Wine of the Month Club™ are a great choice for Thanksgiving.


Why Serve Wine at Thanksgiving

Fall WineFor me, Thanksgiving remains a day to be truly thankful – a day to remember that faith, family, friends, health, and abundance should never be taken for granted. I, for one, am grateful that I don’t have to drink a wine I don’t like, but that’s just a perk behind my position. Hopefully, parades, football, and the specter of Black Friday shopping haven’t totally obliterated the meaning of Thanksgiving, but there is one great aspect to enjoying the day’s feasting: drinking amazing wines that pair perfectly with the meal.

Thanksgiving is a day to reacquaint myself with gratitude for all that is good in life, and that includes gratitude for fine wine. Gratitude may be the least appreciated of all virtues, but at least in America we have a day set aside to remind us to practice gratitude and give thanks.

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to spend time with those we care about the most, but more importantly, this holiday is a day to share the finest wines with family, friends, and whoever else shows up for dinner or simply to say hello.

So, what are the best wines to serve at Thanksgiving? I’ll be answering that question in my next blog post. Until then, think about what wines you might like to include with your Thanksgiving dinner, and read up a little on our Food and Wine Pairing Guide to get an idea of how to pair your favorite holiday dishes with fine wines!