bottle of Justin cabernet half full

Need a new world wine made in an old world style that is drinkable now? Look no further than this wonderfully complex cabernet. Cherry, spice, and dried flowers on the nose. A silky, medium body, with oak and bright berries, finishing off with cherries and watermelon candy. You can feel this one all over the palate. I think the use of 25% American oak gives it a much subtler taste. I would buy a few bottles of these to just have on hand.

decanter and wine glass next to bottle of zolo mablec

Sometimes you just need something simple, fun, and easy-going. This wine is joyous. If it were at a party, they wouldn’t be the star of the show, but they would be the person you never tire of having around you. “Hey, here comes Zolo! What’s happening, Zolo!” This wine is fruit through and through. On the nose, I get squashed blueberries (with a few stems and leaves left in). On the mouth, tight medium tannins, a hint of black pepper and loads of black cherry. The finish is gentle, with a lingering taste of watermelon jolly rancher.

bottle of wine on table

According to the label, this “bone dry” riesling (0.3% residual sugar) was grown in soil rich with shale, gravelly loam, and clay with limestone. The first thing you notice on this wine (other than its slightly amber-straw color) is the nose. If it has nothing else, it has a bouquet enticing enough to draw you in: honey, mead, and apple. Medium to heavy bodied, on the mouth you’ll find lemon-lime soda and pear, with a tart, mineral and lemon finish.

I suspect Ben Franklin would be more of a côtes du rhône man, but on Friday evenings I like to imagine him kicking back with a vibrant chianti at an Italian cafe in Paris. This 2018 bottle is mostly Sangiovese with other Tuscan reds blended in. On the nose, you get a face full of fruit (raspberry) with the suggestions of something so earthy it’s metal. A robust mouthfeel with fine white pepper prominently featured from start to finish. Tight tannin structure, with lingering hints of jalapeño and sour cherries.

bottle of Tinto Arzuaga with books in background

Wines from this DOP in Spain (Ribera del duero) must be aged at least two years, 12 months of which must be in oak. The influence of the oak definitely comes through here. Hot on the nose with lots of spice and vanilla. This vintage is juicy, with intense blueberry and cigar. The tannin structure is good: I should buy a few more bottles to store for 2-3 years.