From a love story comes one of the finest Albarino wines from Rias Baixas, Spain. In the mid-1990s, English wine buyer, Andrew McCarthy, visited the region looking for a quality Albariño he could sell to his English customers. He met Angela Martin, winemaker for Bodegas Castro Martin, and the rest is history. A romance bloomed, and the two traveled back and forth between Spain and England until Andrew eventually relocated to Rias Baixas in 2002. Since then, the two have created one of the highest quality Albarino wines from the region, expanding to various tiers, showcasing the quality of the premium fruit and gorgeous region. These wines are light, zesty, and approachable to any palate.
From 50-year-old vineyards, grown in sand and granite-filled soils in the Salnes sub-zone of the region, Bodegas Castro Martin Family Estate Albarino ($20) is harvested and then fermented in stainless steel in their gravity-flow facility to capture the freshness of the fruit. The wine is then aged for around 6 months on the lees (yeast) which adds depth and texture to the stone fruit notes of peach, nectarine, and soft herbs lingering throughout the luscious wine.
The coastline of California offers a Pacific Ocean influence that nurtures delicate Pinot Noir fruit with maritime climates that create complex wines with character. Winds off the ocean in the evening, fog in the morning, and sunshine-filled days create a long growing season that results in simply delicious wines. MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($34) highlights the gifts of nature in their vibrant, lush selection with an acid-forward palate, evenly balanced with nicely integrated tannins, creating freshness and structure. Layer in ripe red cherry, berry, cola, and fresh nutmeg and you have a wine that is easily enjoyed with anything from poultry to seafood to slow-roasted pork shoulder.
Napa Valley is the home of Cabernet Sauvignon. The region figured this fact out decades ago, with the Heitz family shining as one of the best representations of the variety in the region. Established in 1961 and still owned by the family today, Heitz Cellar is best known for its elevated single-vineyard Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($250.) Heitz Cellar was the first in the region to label a wine noting the single-vineyard designation, something their neighbors soon replicated becoming the norm for showcasing premium quality fruit. Their Napa Valley selection, Heitz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is easily one of the best bang-for-your-buck wines in Napa. With a suggested retail price of $63 (but you can often find for around $50-$55), the wine leaps from the glass with classic notes of black licorice, cherry, sweet spice, and dark chocolate. Pair with your favorite beef or venison dish, or even with a rich, spiced Mole sauce. Cheers!
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