2012 Paniza Reserva ($7)   This was a recent find. And, in true fashion for a Behind the Cork™ wine feature, it’s a great value!  This is blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Grenache. And it’s a tasty blend.  The Tempranillo and Cab give this blend some definite tannin structure while the touch of Grenache helps to smooth it out a bit.  I paired it with some English Cheddar and really enjoyed. At $7, it hard to beat for tasty red wine.  Look for it!
  2018 Beronia Rosé ($13)   As Spring begins, what better way to get it started than with a Rosé. This Beronia Rosé is from Rioja and is a blend of their famous Garnacha (55%) and Tempranillo (45%).  This Beronia rosé has a fabulous pink salmon color and screams of strawberry with floral note of rose pedals. It has moderate acidity and a delicate finish. The fruit flavors are bright and, at 13% ABV, it is dry. The wonderful fruit flavors of this rosé give it just a hint of sweetness.  Having the pleasure of a 80 degree Southern California weekend, this Beronia Rosé was a perfect way to enjoy some time on the patio.  This one from Beronia is a really nice Rioja rosé imported by Gonzalez Byass. And, it’s also a tremendous value. Look for this one! Cheers!
  2012 Clayhouse Adobe Red Blend ($14)   This was an interesting find. I love Paso Robles and the wines that are produced there. But, I wasn’t previously familiar with this one.  The Clayhouse estate Red Cedar Vineyard is located on the east side of Paso Robles within two of the sub-AVAs: San Juan Creek and Paso Robles Estrella District.  This blend is from winemaker Blake Kuhn who got his start at UC Santa Barbara with degrees in biology and environmental sciences. He later attended UC Davis to further his wine education.  Blake has done well with this Adobe Red. It’s 39% Petite Sirah, 34% Zinfandel, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 3% Tempranillo and 2% Malbec.  It has nice black fruit flavors of cherry and blackberry with a bit of jammy flavor, some nice oak additions of vanilla and cocoa and finishes very smooth. This is a very tasty red blend at a great price. Cheers!
  2016 Vallobera Rioja Crianza ($10)   This was an unexpected recent find. A Tempranillo from Spain. And, it’s a Crianza. This style of Rioja is required to be aged for one year in oak and spend one year in the bottle before being sold.  This extra aging takes the bright red fruit flavor of this Tempranillo and adds some rich, chocolaty flavor.  This is yet another fine example of a wine that just fits the model for a  Behind the Cork™  wine - it’s a great value. Cheers!
  2018 Cune Rosado ($13)   This wonderful Cune rosé is from the Rioja region of Spain and is made from their famous Tempranillo.  The bright red color of this Cune rosé is spectacular. And, hence, it’s big Maraschino cherry and ripe strawberry flavors are no surprise.  These grapes are handpicked and placed in stainless steel tanks at low temperature to delay the onset of fermentation. During these 24 to 48 hours, the must develops this bright red color and then is drained from the vat. Fermentation then begins but it is maintained at 16-18C to preserve the bright aromas and fruit flavors characteristic of this Cune rosé.  Serve this one nicely chilled and enjoy! Cheers!
  Bodegas Ochoa Calendas Rosé ($12)   This is another wonderful offering from the Navarra region of Spain. This rosé of Garnacha (70%) and Tempranillo (30%) is bright cherry red in color and has a beautifully soft mouth-feel.  This rosé is produced by maceration, or “bleeding” of the grapes where the grape skins and flesh is left in the juice ( must ) for just six hours. Then, without pressing, the must is drained off and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats.  While the bright cherry red color of this rosé suggests a big, bold flavor, what you get is a delicate wine with soft flavors of strawberry and raspberry.  At 13.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) this is a dry rosé with little to no residual sugar. The only “sweetness” comes from the ripe fruit flavors.  As usual, this Ochoa Calendas rosé is a great value for such a bright, flavorful wine. Chill this one down and enjoy. Cheers!
  2015 Bodegas Nekeas Vega Sindoa Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)   If you think that the only good Cabernet Sauvignon is from California, think again. This Vega Sindoa from Bodegas Nekeas is quite nice. And, at the price, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better.  This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Navarra region of Northern Spain. The area is filled with native varietals, such as Tempranillo and Garnacha, but, with its proximity to France, wine growers have also been heavily influenced to grow French varietal such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  This Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully delicate with good fruit on the front, nice chocolate notes and a very easy and long finish. There’s just enough tannin in this one to give it structure without being harsh. This is attributable to being fermented in stainless steel before being transferred to a combination of new to three-year old French oak barrels for 13 months of aging.  I was very pleasantly surprised with this one. It’s quite tasty and a super value. If you find this one, pick up several. Cheers!
  2018 Inurrieta Orchídea Sauvignon Blanc ($12)   Here’s nice refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that will compliment any spring or summer meal.  This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is from Bodega Inurrieta and comes from the Navarra region of northern Spain.  It’s got wonderful bright tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and lime and just the right amount of acidity.  It was tank aged over fine lees for four months so its also got a bit if a creamy smoothness to its mouthfeel.  If you are a Sauvignon Blanc lover, or even if you aren’t, give this one a try. I believe you’ll like it!  Cheers!
prev / next