Every now and then I am reminded of the Joe Cocker song, “With a Little Help From My Friends.” For way too long one of my friends was pushing me to try this red blend he had “discovered”. Magic Box. He described it as fruit forward, some complexity with structure. Ample and rich with soft elegant tannins. At the price point he noted, $7, I thought he had to be out of his mind. There is no way a wine can be that good-especially a red blend at that price. He must be pulling my leg. So just to shut him up really, I bought a bottle.

To my surprise he was right. A perfectly balanced wine. Just enough acidity to keep my mouth watering for more. The juice flooded my mouth with flavor. Full, rich velvety feel. Plum, cherry and cassis. Hints of tobacco and chocolate, a slight oak note with a medium finish. And those elegant tannins.

The best part of the deal. It is Spanish. Yes a Spanish wine, 90% syrah and 10% grenach. The world just got a little better.

Enjoy!! Oh and every now and then ….Listen to your friends..!!!!!


I don’t know if I had ever heard of Gamza, also known as Kadarka, before- doubtful.  It is not a commonly known grape and definitely not one that roles of your tongue when discussing favorite varieties.  Gamza is a very dark skinned grape that is common in Eastern Europe, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.  Probably why it is not a well known variety.  The fruit of the vine of Eastern Europe is just now starting to gain an audience here.  And, after trying this one, it should play to major crowds.

Dark like a raven wing, with those purple tinges that keep your eyes busy trying to see everything going on.  The red will come to play again.  Think of bing cherries, raspberries.  The explosion of flavor once it hits your tongue is not mono.  A symphony of flavor rolls down your throat.  A roll of the eyes in ecstasy.  Soft tannins that just that bit more nuance.  And the finish…not too long but very enjoyable and just enough for you to notice the bits of spice that come through.

This little trip through Bulgaria will set you back a whopping 12$ or under.  IK say book your travel plans now.

I will note that this wine is difficult to find, and for 12$ you should pick it  up if you ever do.




In my continued infatuation with Spanish wines I bring you truly one of the easiest drinking, but complex wines you wil ever try. #Baronia Florida dEnglora.  A lovely wine from Montsant, named for the mountain top.

It carries a bold dark ruby color.  Enticing and mesmerizing like the gem it is named for.

Open the bottle and just stand back for 15 minutes or so.  The aroma of fresh violets and roses fill the room.  These are accompanied by aromas of fresh brewed coffee and kitchen spices.  Already you are in your comfort zone.

Taking the glass to your lips, the anticipation of what is to come is almost unbearable.  The color, the bouquet have all combined to entangle your senses.  And truly the juice does not disappoint.  The fresh rich flavor of the fruit coats your tongue making your mouth water uncontrollably.   The cherry and plum are the first noticed.  Then the light note of coffee and chocolate finished off by cinnamon  and pepper. This party in your mouth is both exciting and comforting at the same time.

Spanish wine, what can I say.  No where else can you get such full bodied richness and stay under $10.00 (US)
This is a wine you will serve to any wine geek and they will think you paid a fortune for it. Just keep it our secret.

Enjoy. $

Yea, this baby got back and she’s stacked.  This voluptuous wine  soothes and excites all at the same time.  Like listening to your favorite Barry White song  with an exotic dancer moving slowly in front of you.

There is so much depth to this wine. So many elements competing for attention.  The aromas erupting from the bottle your olfactory system (yes I had to use that word) will go into overdrive.  Plum, violets, cherry blossoms and more fill the room starting the hypnosis that will eventually set in.

Once in your mouth your body will hit nirvana.  That peaceful feeling that leads you into bliss.  All of the flavors pop in your mouth like an eruption.  Each flavor taking its turn at lead.  Like the sirens of lore beckoning you, your body eases into complete relaxation.  What a wonderful feeling.  Very lite tannins follow a very long finish.Pure pleasure.


$$  a phenomenal value.

wp-1484265583400.jpgI enjoyed this with a little afternoon snack.  Needless to say the rest of the day was ecstasy.

Last week we went to a BYOB in Lahaska.  A new place called Calebs.  The place features All American style cuisine farm to table.  I chose La Conreria a Priorat as the wine for the night.

For starters we had the crab tacos with sirachi and jalepenos.  The taco was crisp, the crab was delicious withe the added spice it was amazing.  There was a burn but oh was it a good burn.

Next was the goat cheese and beet salad.  The sweet savory mix with the spice of the arugula–I can do this all day.

Of course I had the ribeye, but was torn between that and the duck.  The steak was aged 28 days and cooked perfectly.  Tender, juicy and flavorful. I made the right choice.

The wine, La Conreria, was absolutely amazing.  Big bold and fruity, the deep dark rich color begging to be drank.  The fruit jumping from the bottle gave the whole room a warm floral bouquet aroma.  Oh and I haven’t even had any yet.  Smooth, silky, velvet.  Blueberry, plum, cedar to start then finishes with chocolate and spice.  A long-long finish.  Yea I will be having this one again.


A great night of food and drink.


@ 30$


Wow who could deny this one.  Chapoutier brought us a great one here.  60% grenach and 40% syrah.  Chapoutier brings us great wines from all over France, each one representing the terroir of the specific vineyard.   This one-the Belleruche Cotes Du Rhone – is a perfect representation.

The nose has aromas of plum, raspberry and bright cherry.  The color is bright red and inviting.

The juice is beautifully exuberant.  Ripe red fruit, raspberry  with notes of spice. A little licorice note on the end, bringing in slight tannins that makes your mouth water.  Medium bodied with depth and character.  Just a wonderful wine.

Enjoy @ 20


A perfect compliment with the steak.   Making myself hungry.

So I start this by trying to decide if I shouls talk about Montalcino or Brunello.  So, in a compact I will try to give a little of both.
Montalcino is an area of Tuscany most famous for Brunello wine.  Montalcino also gives us Rosso di Montalcino, and some “Super Tuscans”. Some sweet white wines are also produced there.  Brunello is the most famous wine from the region made from Sangiovese.  Brunello was the first to be awarded DOCG (Denominaziione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status.  Basically a controlled designation of origin.  Brunello is aged 5 years with Reserva 6, (what we are having tonight).   This Brunello is from Renieri, (Bacci wines ) a highly respected winery which produces several brands from the estate. 
When I opened the bottle I was struck immediately by the fragrance.  So inviting, very foral but also very fruity. 
The liquid is very dark and seems dense. When the juice hits your tongue -rapture- I can hear the angels singing. 
Luscious, velvety smooth.  Evidence of a master creator, for  the wines and vineyards.  Huge fruit tones; currant, plum, black cherry.  These are accompanied by licorice, oak and cedar, smoky tobacco and hints of cocoa.  Who couldn’t love this right?  Just thinking about it now is causing my mouth to water.  The finish is long and bountiful. 
This wine is also meant to be shared with a big meal.  I am thinking a big steak with some sort of heavy side like a hearty mac n cheese.


Just look  at that beauty

Yes I said 1995. 1995 was by all accounts a very good year in Bordeaux, most high 90’s rated.  This wine usually scored in mid 90’s from most raters.

Ch. Giscours is a third growth, but don’t tell it that.  It has been producing fine wines forever, rivaling the seconds and firsts in the past 20 vintages.

The nose  exhibits aromas showing off ripe fruits,  raspberry, blackberry, dark cherry, with notes of oak.

The juice shoots volumes  in your mouth.  Big juicy notes that make the eyes bulge.  So many layers, definitely structure and complexity.  Full bodied cannot even begin to describe.  The tannins are huge.  Let this one breathe please.  This is not a stand alone. Protein is needed in some form to go with this.  Have a big steak and enjoy the evening.




Altra cabernet hails from Atlas Peak, Napa.  It is the “child” of Margo Culcasi and Gerry Moffit, a fitting tribute to a long lasting friendship.  Gerry is the winemaker and is also associated with Kapcsandy, Blankiet and Grace Family.  These wines are of course some of the premier wines of California. So my expectations were high going into this.

Whoa, the nose just about rips through your soul.  The smell of freshly pressed fruit erupts through the air making the nostrils quiver.

Once you pour the juice into your mouth, the rich depth and complexity overloads the senses.  The mouth is watering uncontrollably.  So much is going on.  The taste of cherry, casis, chocolate with hints of wood (cedar) all explode in the mouth.  You would expect big bold tannins that make you pucker.  Instead you have these soft, lovely elegant tannins  that are just beautiful to the mouth.  And, all of these flavors very gradually recede…over like a month.  This is been one of life’s most pleasant experiences.