Sipping into Winter

Wine Suggestions From Vineyard Travels

Written by JoAnn Actis-Grande

Wine CountryNow that the weather is cooler, I find myself wanting to spend much more time at home in the kitchen and very close to the wine cabinet in order to create new menus to serve with the wines I have discovered while traveling. Recently, I spent time in California, including on the central coast where Paso Robles is located, and where you still can find acres and acres of rolling farmland and lush vineyards. Another trip took me to Italy and Sicily where so much of the itinerary revolved around eating and drinking. During this time of year, you too can embrace the joy of welcoming family and friends around your table to share the wonders of entertaining while enjoying new wines. The following wines can be found in and around New England or ordered directly from the wineries, and all are good values for their extremely high quality.

Bollinger, Champagne Special Cuvée

This French champagne is the purest expression of the rich and famous Bollinger style. A dry, full-bodied wine that has aromas and flavors of gentle rose, ripe citrus and lightly toasted nuts. The taste is delicious and the aftertaste long-lasting. The perfect bubbly for special occasions such as New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.


Imported, Bisol Crede Prosecco

An Italian wine that’s full of life. This Prosecco distinguishes itself from other wines by boasting an extreme freshness filled with exotic fruit notes and perfect acidity. The abundance of fine bubbles are a lively masterpiece. Serve alone as an apertif or pair with fish dishes.

Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2008

The flagship wine of Tablas Creek Vineyards from Paso Robles. A white wine that has sumptuous aromas of orange marmalade, lemon blossom and white currants along with spice, crushed rock and subtle earthy notes. This is a full-bodied wine, rich in flavor and perfect served with cheese, fish and chicken.

Planeta, La Segreta Rosso

This young, fresh wine is produced mainly from Nero d’Avola grapes, the flagship grape of Sicilian wine. It has a ruby red color and an intense red currant and raspberry blend flavor with cacao and toasted coffee notes. It is the perfect introduction to Sicilian wine with its excellent connection between price and quality. A great everyday wine to accompany any meal.

Justin Vineyard, Justification 2007

A great wine from a gorgeous winery located on the central coastal area of Paso Robles. It’s a big, bright and powerful red wine made from a blend of Bordeaux grapes and holds aromas of currant, black tar, leather and cedar. The flavors are extremely approachable, finding tastes of red currant, blackberry, cedar, caramel and cinnamon. The wine is elegant from start to finish and best paired with meat dishes.

Zaca Mesa, Mesa Reserve Syrah 2006

This winery crafts Rhone varietal wines with character and integrity from grapes sustainably grown. The syrah is deeply extracted and displays aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, strong coffee, cassis, tobacco and oak as well as sage. This wine is dense and bold with a powerful presence on the palate and a hearty finish. A great choice with eggplant dishes, pasta, lamb and veal.

Vina Robles, Petite Sirah Jardine 2007

Produced at a fabulous state-of-the-art winery in Paso Robles, fast becoming one of California’s leading producers of petite sirah, this grape variety excels in the region. This wine has spicy aromas and a big, rich, spicy cedar texture along with extracted blackberry fruit, full tannins and a lingering aftertaste. Enjoy with duck, grilled and barbequed foods.

Trefethen, Cabernet Sauvignon

A Napa Valley signature wine. This cabernet sauvignon has delicate aromas of coffee and black cherry with hints of bay leaf that carry through to the last sip, adding firm tannins and flavors of ripe plum and walnut. Delicious with beef, lamb and game dishes.

Marchesi  de’ Frescobaldi, Nipozzano Riserva

A Tuscan wine produced mostly from sangiovese grapes. A wine where its aromatics show great finesse and complexity, opening to dark fruits of plum and black currant, followed by traces of cinnamon and clove. Goes well with barbecued meats, stews and aged cheeses.

J. Lohr Paso Robles, Zinfandel

A lovely dark plum color, this wine is bursting with expression full of concentrated fruits with aromas ranging from raspberry and blackberry to tobacco and chocolate. On your tongue, tastes of black pepper spice come forward. The wine shows its best when paired with foods accented with herbs or spices and is great served with hot sausage, zesty pasta and even chocolate desserts.

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