Let’s keep the summer grilling theme going with another great Cabernet Sauvignon value. The state of Washington produces a lot of wine varietals. The Horse Heaven Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) is approximately 50 miles long and 20 miles deep and is known for producing some of the best Washington wines.

Columbia Crest winery has multiple levels of multiple varietals. Their H3 series (Horse Heaven Hills) can be found in the $12-15 range and consistently over produces in the quality to price ratio. This beautiful Cab scored 90 points and is great with grilled meats or even by itself. Generous dark fruits fill the palate and the finish lingers pleasantly. Drink this beauty over the next 2-3 years.



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It’s grilling season and we’re raising the price bar a little bit this week by introducing a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon from California.   Napa and Sonoma Cabernets are considered the “king of red wine”.

Even the most casual wine drinker has heard of Beringer.  They produce wine for the masses, but did you know they have some very high-end wines that are often outstanding?  This particular Cabernet Sauvignon from the Knights Valley region of northern Sonoma County is an outstanding Cabernet having recently received a score of 91 points.  The release price is listed in the upper $20’s, but I found this at Total Wine for $19.99.  This certainly represents an outstanding wine for an excellent price.  Be sure to look closely at the label because they also make a “Reserve” Cabernet and it sells for $45-$50.

Cabernets of this quality usually cost in the mid $30-$40 range.  It drinks beautifully now but will last for another 8-10 years.  You will find rich dark fruits along with smooth tannins in this food friendly Cabernet.  Pair it with grilled steak, lamb chops, burgers or pork chops.

There were over 79,000 cases made so you should be able to find it pretty easily, but don’t wait too long, this will get gobbled up quickly by those who appreciate great Cabernets.



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Let me tell you about one of my all time favorite “go to” white wines.  Nobilo is a New Zealand winery specializing in Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region.  Grapefruit, lemon, green apple, honeydew, and a crisp acidity typify the Marlborough style and no one draws these characteristics out of this varietal more consistently than Nobilo.

Almost every year this wine scores between 88-90 points and can be found for $8-$10.  This year it received 89 points.

This is your perfect summer time refresher.  It is very versatile.  We love it with an appetizer of sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and basil on crusty baguettes.  It’s awesome with any white fish or garlic and oil based pastas.

Oh, and by the way Nobilo also produces a wonderful Pinot Noir.  But I’ll save that for another post.



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Rosemount Estate is a large Australian winery that produces multiple levels of many varietals.  Their Diamond Label is their entry level series.  This Shiraz was the first Aussie wine I was introduced to about 15 years ago and I was amazed at how good it was for the price point.

Rosemount has a hit with the 2010 vintage.  It recently received 89 points from the Wine Spectator, and even better yet I found it for $5.99.  It is widely available with 110,000 cases produced so you should be able to find this for between $6-$8.  This is a wine that should be drunk now through the next couple of years.

It is very smooth and fresh, delivering classic Australian fruit.  I served this for 3 other couples last week when we cooked burgers on the grill and it was a big hit.  When I told them the price their eyes got pretty wide.


A note about wine ratings: The Wine Spectator uses a rating scale as follows:

• 80-84 = Good

• 85-89 = Very Good

• 90-94 = Outstanding

• 95-100 = Classic


So you can see that this vintage of the Rosemount Shiraz Diamond Label is considered very good and on the verge of outstanding by those who evaluate wines for a living.  Enjoy.



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Yalumba winery from Australia makes many different varietals of both red and white wines.  Viognier, a grape of French origin is an interesting and unique grape.  Yalumba makes several bottlings of Viognier.  This is their “Y Series” and for $11-13 is an excellent value.

Viognier is often characterized by aromas of melon, peach, and pear and is one of the more floral accented grapes that you will have the pleasure of encountering.  On the palate you’ll notice hints of lemon zest in this refreshing and juicy white wine.  It pairs well with fish, chicken, summer salads (non-vinegar based), and many light appetizers.

– The Wine Buddy



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father’s day dinner and wine 2012

June 26th, 2012 | Posted by admin in WINE - (0 Comments)

Our main course was grilled Armenian shish kabob (lamb & beef), blended with onions, tomatoes, assorted peppers, and accompanied with a side of Armenian pilaf and Armenian bread.  RECIPE: Armenian Shish Kabob  (Click to Read)

When I hear lamb, I think Australian Shiraz.  When I hear grilled anything, I think Zinfandel.

We started with a MollyDooker 2008 “The Boxer” Shiraz (91 points from the Wine Spectator).  The big fruit forward Australian Shiraz with its peppery complexities made us say “wow”.

Next we opened a Seghesio 2007 Sonoma County Zinfandel (93 points from the Wine Spectator and the #10 wine of the year) which we are savoring while I write this.  Zinfandel may be the perfect wine for grilled meats.  Somewhat similar to the Shiraz, the up-front fruit and spiciness of Zinfandel is an excellent complement to anything on the grill.



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Shoofly 2010 Shiraz – $8.99 at Total Wine.  This Australian Shiraz received 90 points from the Wine Spectator.  That is an incredible quality to price ratio.  I’ve had one bottle of it and I went back and bought 3 more.  Trust me; I’m not done buying this wine.  It’s a wine that you can drink now or continue to enjoy for the next 5-8 years.  Deals like this don’t come along too often.  I hope that you can find it at this price where you live.  Even if you pay up to $12 for it it’s well worth it.  Complex, spicy, and full of Australian fruit.  Love it!

– The Wine Buddy



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We started our Father’s Day feast this year with an appetizer of sun dried tomatoes, wet mozzarella cheese, fresh basil from the garden on asiago cheese bread.  I paired this with Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 from Marlborough New Zealand (90 points from the Wine Spectator).  The citrus in the lemon, grapefruit, grassy flavors and aromas paired wonderfully with the acid in the sun dried tomatoes and creaminess of the mozzarella.



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