Quick Sips — 05 February 2016
Wines to sample, way off the beaten paths

By Bob Hosmon

City & Shore Magazine

We’re well into a new year, but still resolved to celebrate by sampling some wines you may have never had or had so long ago you’ve forgotten how good they were. Choose any of the following, and you’ll be glad you did:

–Consider Merlot. If you still believe that wines from that grape are inferior, thanks to the movie Sideways, then you’ve been missing out on some of the best red wines in the world. Among them: the Grgich Hills Estate Merlot ($43). This Napa Valley winner can be paired with duck, rack of lamb or pulled barbecue pork. Yum!

–Look for something different on the shelf from Italy — like the Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso ($23), a red produced in Umbria; or the Villa Gemma Masciarelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo ($17) a light cherry pink made from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes.  Both wines can be enjoyed with pizza, pasta and red meats, and I particularly like the latter with rich soups like Caldo Gallego.

–If you’ve never had a wine made from Marsanne grapes, it’s time to sample the Qupé Santa Barbara County Marsanne ($20). This delightfully fresh white can be enjoyed now with lobster or chicken curry or you can cellar the wine for 15 to 20 years (it’ll hold up — and improve with time).

–I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the first-rate wines coming out of the Duckhorn Wine Company, but you may have not sampled their Paraduxx Napa Valley Syrah ($55). I hadn’t until very recently, and I can attest that it blew me away; i.e., I loved it. It’s a perfect complement to beef stew, lamb, duck, and — yes — pulled barbecue pork.

–From the first sip I took, I also favored the Fable Mountain Vineyards Jackal Bird ($35). Produced in South Africa from old vine Chenin Blanc this white wine is a great alternative to your usual chardonnay. It pairs nicely with scallops, fish or crab cakes, and a well-made onion tart.

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