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. 

arlaux champagne bottle and small paper dinosaur

I don’t need a celebratory reason to drink champagne, but drinking champagne always feels celebratory. This bottle, disgorged in 2019 after spending 3 years sur lie, opens with fresh bread crust and vanilla on the nose. With a surprising amount of structure, citrus jolly ranchers hit the tongue with hints of apple. A long, tight finish of cream soda.

bottle of wine and decanter

With its luscious rosewood red color, this 2015 malbec from Argentina was just what I needed after an arduous, but successful week. As soon as I opened the bottle, this wine exploded with plum and oak on the nose. Seriously… you could smell it from 4 feet away. On the mouth, tight pepper and strong cherry (both fruit and stem). With its smooth, blueberry (or maybe boysenberry?) finish, this vintage leaves you feeling silky and smooth.