My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.
I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.
Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.
On a visit to Regale Winery and Vineyards in Los Gatos with a group of friends, I tasted an outstanding Zinfandel 2006, Dry Creek Valley ($45). Now here’s a wine to make your heart beat faster. Balanced and elegant, this not-too-jammy Zin is total sensuality with its soft and spicy berry notes, crushed violets and light minerality. Earthy aromas of tobacco and coffee with touches of spice add to the warmth of this concentrated full-bodied wine. Pair it with red meat or enjoy it with appetizers and cheese.