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One of the greatest joys of my gig as a wine blogger is to occasionally have wine show up on my doorstep. It doesn’t happen all the time, because I’m so non-traditional as bloggers go… I don’t consistently do anything, because that’s my nature. I’m a mutable personality type, and people have come to learn that you can expect the unexpected around here. That’s the nature of my job, and while it’s fun and stimulating, it doesn’t play well for wine companies simply wanting a traditional wine review. Meanwhile, there are those who appreciate the insights I bring to what I do, and their wines happily land on my doorstep. Those wines take the edge off all else that I do, elevating my quality of life, and I’m ever grateful.

The following are the wines that I’ve recently enjoyed with good food, family, and friends.

2010 Re Midas Soave (from Cantina di Soave) ~ Italy ~ Always on my hit parade, the Re Midas Soave is consistently great wine. A golden straw colored, this white wine is beautifully dry and refreshing. It has aromas of apricot and nectarine on the nose; was followed by peach, melon, and a touch of filbert nuts and nectarine on the palate. The finish was crisp and deliciously smooth. I tasted this wine last year and was very impressed. The wine continues to impress me. It’s a crowd pleaser. If you’re not familiar with Soave wines, you’re missing a great white wine (the Garganega grape), and this one tops the list for me. I enjoyed it with my daughter Lyla, as we munched on a pear | raspberry crisp that she had just baked. It was all so delicious. It’s worth ordering this wine by the case, and making it your house wine. Best Value ($9.99)

2009 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais ~ France ~ This wine has a beautiful garnet color that’s slightly translucent. Aromas wafted upward from the glass as I looked deep into its soul, aromas that invited me to swirl and sniff… Plums emerged with a touch of spice at the end that made me say, “Ummm.” I couldn’t wait to taste this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Rich, dark cherry flavors, with a touch of cinnamon lingered on my palate, as I thought about how beautiful this wine is tasting. I have Boston Baked beans cooking in the over for dinner, for which I’ve added some fresh salsa to my mother’s traditional recipe. I’m going to enjoy this wine with brown rice and baked beans for dinner, and all will be well with the world.  If you can get your hands (and palate) on it, I highly recommend it, because it’s a gorgeous wine. Beautiful Old World Flavors at a Very Affordable Price ($16.99)

2006 Iron Horse Ocean Reserve ~ US ~ The Ocean is the source of food, rain, oxygen and beauty; but today, pollution, overfishing, and climate change have placed the ocean in crisis. Iron Horse calls this wine a sip of hope. Iron Horse Vineyards is partnering with National Geographic to help restore the ocean to health. From the winery, “Continuing our commitment, every bottle purchased Iron Horse will donate $4 to establish marine protection areas and reduce overfishing around the world.”

We enjoyed this wine with our friends at, Cori and Ken Waggoner, and sommelier, chef, owner Chang Liow at Chinois Asian Bistro. This was a perfect wine to celebrate being with friends who are so sensitive to life, also. The flavors of this sparkling wine are true to their tasting notes… bright, crisp, and a really long, linger finish replicating our evening of fun and lively conversation. (Think Austin City Limits and you now know the man behind the production… He’s that talented.) We savored this bubbly with Chinois’ delicious appetizers:  Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Tofu, sweet pea sprouts, cucumber and roasted peanuts in rice paper), Won Ton Soup (Savory pork won tons, shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy), Soft Shell Crab (Deep-fried whole soft shell crab served in spicy sambal chili sauce), and Coconut Prawns (Coated in fresh coconut shreds, served with pineapple citrus dip). Great Wine with an Even Greater Cause. ($40.00)

NV Spartico Tempranillo ~ Spain ~  A tag on the bottle states (Organic Wine, no sulfites added). First of all, all wine grapes have sulfites naturally. Secondly, I’m almost wondering why being “organic” from Europe needs to be touted. It is we American’s who have been over using synthetic chemicals on our fruits and vegetables and growth hormones in raising our animals for decades now. When I visited Europe, all I saw was natural ways of living and farming. It’s not easy to grow grapes organically, and the tonnage delivered is always much less that vineyards grown with chemical fertilizers, but the results demonstrate quality over quantity every time, and it ends up in the bottle for us all to enjoy.

Meanwhile, this wine was intended for #TempranilloDay, but arrived the following day… and that’s okay, because it’s still a wine that I can write home about. Screw cap savvy, this wine was a rustic deliverance. It reminded me of being on the southwestern border of Portugal, and my friend Delfim Costa of Enorfum Wines pointing to the horizon, telling me that that was the eastern border of Spain. I was that close to Spain, but didn’t make it there. This wine’s character reminded me of the Portuguese wines I had tasted from that world region. Only 30 miles from Spain’s border, I now know that its terroir bottled was as I imagined it would be. This delicious table wine, from the Utiel-Requeña region in southeastern Spain, reminded me of fresh cherries and it has a delicious toasty flavor that was very enjoyable on the finish. Spartico Tempranillo would be excellent with cheeses and grilled meats. I enjoyed it with burritos that I had made, that had lots of fresh salsa, brown rice, beans (that I had baked the day before), cheddar and Jack cheese. It all came together really well. A truly delicious Tempranillo, now I know why I didn’t have it on #TempranilloDay. I would have been missing the perfect food and wine pairing. Best Buy ($13.00)

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