Celebrating Malbec World Day

Manos-Negra-Malbec-DayToday is Malbec World Day and after searching my wine stash for a Malbec, I was surprised that I didn’t have a single bottle of Malbec. All I found was a Meritage from California, that included Malbec grapes in the blend and several Bordeaux blends from France that also included Malbec grapes. With no Malbecs to celebrate with, I had to go out at lunch and pick up a couple of bottles, one for drinking today and the other for my wine stash.

Argentina produces 70% of the world’s Malbec grapes and the hilly northwest region of Mendoza is perfect for growing Malbec grapes. I love a good Malbec from this region so today, I am drinking a 2010 Manos Negras Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.

Cheers,
Kristina

Great California Wine Bargains

Zin GrapesIn the past decade, the number of California wineries has exploded, and with that explosion came a plethora of superior-quality bargain wines.  Although California has suffered through years of drought and small crops, the proliferation of new wineries, coupled with greater attention to viticultural areas other than Napa and Sonoma, means that wine enthusiasts don’t need stacks of $100 bills to enjoy quality wine.  Boutique and family-owned wineries are mostly behind the Golden State’s wine bargains.

Cambridge Cellars is one of the newest wineries in California’s wine scene, and the Cambridge Cellars’ Limited Series of wines stand out as bargains.  The winery’s 2013 Limited Monterey Chardonnay constitutes extraordinary value as does the Cambridge Cellars Limited 2013 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both sell for well under $20.00 a bottle.

Donati Family Vineyard in Paicines, California, fashions top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Claret, with the latter featuring an exceptional blend of Bordeaux varietals.  Donati’s 2012 Claret exemplifies the high quality one can acquire at an affordable price. While many California Meritage wines sell for  $50.00 and more, Donati’s Claret is a veritable bargain at $22.00.

Fore Family Vineyards, which strides the Napa/ Lake County border, turns out award-winning wines from Napa, Carneros, and Lake County.  The Fore Family’s 2009 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir exemplifies the exceptional quality emanating from dedicated family wineries in California.  At just under $40.00 a bottle, it may not be in the reach of every Pinot lover, especially those in search of the Holy Grail of Pinot Noir at $15.00, but it tops many $50.00 and $75.00 Pinots.

Napa Cellars crafts classic Napa Valley wines at incredibly affordable prices. Whether it’s Napa Cellars’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc or the winery’s award-winning Chardonnay, Pinot, Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Zinfandel, I am hard-pressed to find better quality and consistency in Napa Valley for under $25.00.

Pietra Santa in California’s Cienega Valley produces extraordinary Sangiovese along with many other varietals.  Although renowned as a producer of Sangiovese, Pietra Santa also excels lately with Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Merlot and various white varietals.  Pietra Santa’s recently reviewed 2010 Sangiovese earned 91 Points from Wine Enthusiast and it can be purchased for $18.00.

Don

Don’s March Collectors Series Top Pick

ClaretNVMy March Collectors Series Top Pick might be different if this were May or June, but it’s not. Very few California wineries make a Chardonnay equal to the Sonoma County Chardonnays that Benovia turns out in small batches. Beautiful could easily be a synonym for Benovia’s wines. And who makes better Rioja than Luis Valentin at Valenciso, whose 2007 Rioja Reserva made Decanter magazine’s Wine of the Year? I love these wines, but for the weather, the need for immediate gratification, and the fact that so many think that top notch California Cabernet must emanate from Napa Valley, I am going with Donati Family Vineyard’s 2011 Ezio Cabernet Sauvignon as this month’s Top Pick. Named for the founder and patriarch of the Donati Family, the 2011 Ezio pays tribute to a visionary and dispels the notion that Central Coast and Paso Robles Cabernets can’t hang with those from Napa Valley. In our panel tastings, Ezio actually blew away quite a few big name Napa Valley Cabs, so there it is. Enjoy!

Don

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.

Don

 

 

 

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 www.winemonthclub.com/sale.