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..!!!!!


Pierre Amadieu has a long family history in fact the whole family, uncles cousins are involved in the wine industry.  The Rhone is their home and they have become the “artists in residence” of the family.   Rhone wines are predominantly grenache and syrah, with tidbits of others thrown in for balance.  The Vinsobres is a vineyard in Southern Rhone.

This wine is Grenache and Syrah, medium bodied but still lush.   Perfectly balanced with aromas of violets and lavender, a typical grenache.  But then the juice hits the palate.  Oh man what a sensation.  The cherry and currant surprisingly work together, mouth watering in excess.  Plum comes along at the end. Very very light tannins that just add that extra bit to the enjoyment.   A magnificent, delicious wine.  This is a wine meant to have with food.  Roast, venison, rabbit.  I enjoyed with a pan seared chicken.  Another memorable evening.

Enjoy $$


Oh those Mistral winds, blowing down from the Alps to the Mediterranean.  I’ve stood in the middle of vineyards with the Mediterranean  only a few miles away and those winds howling down, full coat on in late May.  But what I would give to do that again.  The wines of the Rhone region are mainly grenache, syrah and mouvedre.  The southern Rhone deals with these winds bringing cold air and hot humid summers.  Domaine du Mistral has been in the Aubert family for 15 years under the very watchful eye of brother Yves.  A multi award winning domaine with most offerings under 20$.

So lets get to the wine.

A bright, bright red glow in the glass.  Already tantalizing, the wine is calling you to partake.

The floral notes abound, a llittle smoky. Violets intermingled with aromas of red berries.  The bouquet opens up the room and you are smitten already.

As the wine passes over my tongue i am so intrigued.  Rich, robust full bodied.  Every centimeter of my mouth is tingling.  The velevty soft tannins cling to my cheeks, not enough to make me pucker, just enough to make me want another glass.  

Wow, the fruit just keeps coming.  Raspberry, blackberry abound.  What, yes a little hint of toast, smoke and earth. But the fruit is the best and it just keeps going.  Very structured and balanced, Elegant, fruity, I don’t know what else to say.  Just a damn good drink.


Blowing in  the mistral winds
Blowing in the mistral winds

The Del Bondio-Poncia family has been growing grapes in Napa for over 100 years.  Their vineyards in Oakville and Rutherford, now farmed by brothers Rich Poncia and Jim Del Bondio, have been producing high quality juice for  fellow wineries for as long. Now producing wine for themselves in a certified organic environment the whole family plays a role in the success of these beautiful rich wines.

Tonight I am tasting the A Meta, a blend of 50% cabernet and 50% syrah.  The wine is the color of garnet. Aromas of ripe black cherry, you know that aroma you get when you first open a jar of cherry jam.  An almost sweet smell , a floral and fruit bouquet.

As I pour the liquid into my mouth my taste buds erupt.  Oh WOW there is so much happening. First the fruit hits you square.  That unbelievable flavor, a rich cherry, plum mix that coats and soothes.  Next you notice the soft notes of coffee and chocolate, oh yes you do, followed with a very slight hint of tobacco.  Pepper and spice linger well after you have swallowed.  Firm tannins finish off.  Unbelievable.  An amazing complex wine.



As you see I paired this with a piece of chocolate cake,  I wish you could taste this now, my mouth is watering