Samples. Companies are listed with each wine.


  1. HEART ~ THE WINERY: This information came from the wineries’ notes.
  2. SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING ~ From the winery.
  3. SOUL ~ Jo’s Musings

[PHOTO: Taken at Castello di Meleto]

BACK STORY: In 2002, I was charged with getting publicity for Petite Sirah. At that time, I could only find a total of 62 growers and producers. Today, they’re over 1,186… That’s 1,124 growers and producers combined. Pretty substantive in 16 years of chanting Petite Sirah, Petite Sirah, Petite… The “i” without the “y”… At the time, wine’s biggest highlight, beyond the wine, was how it paired with food. White was for chicken, pork, and fish. Red was for red meat, lamb, and chocolate. Rosé was for “pussies…” The Sutter Home White Zin crowd; I was among them, in the late 80s. My wine palate hadn’t even begun to develop.

[PHOTO:  Donato Fiorentino]

So, how was I going to get Petite Sirah in front of wine writers, and have a different twist in 2002? I paired it with holidays. It was pretty novel idea in the early 90s, so I had given writers another edge. Now, I’m pitched all of the time; this wine is for this holiday. and that wine pairs well with that holiday. I still occasionally do it, I have to admit. I have, however, come back around in my own thinking, that Red, White, and Rosé don’t have a specific season, but they do have a reason… And, that has always been to pair it with the best foods. If we sit around and wait for a holiday to break open any bottle of wine, we’re going to only have… how many days a year(?)… when we’re enjoying wine guilt free or not just for pool side or Christmas.

So, here’s the deal… I’m going to list a RED, a WHITE, and a ROSÉ wine I’ve enjoyed this year. Each one was great wine for the money, as my old friend Audie used to say, when Jose and I would pop into his wine shop for another bottle of Merlot – in the 80s. Any of these wines you can plunk down on a table with a group of friends, when the occasion isn’t to celebrate your latest Margaux find for only $3,000, so you wouldn’t be able to talk about anything else. These are everyday wines, which pair really well with the right, everyday fare, for the other 350 days of the years…

2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon


The first one (red) I want to list is the 2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve told their story several times, because it’s a really great one to share. It’s a real story and it defines the wine. Now, instead of repeating myself, I’m letting their video (below) tell their tale of drama and intrigue to you, because it really says it all.

And all I’m going to say is this: Casillero Del Diablo’s wines, from one vintage to the next, is always one of the greatest wines in the room for value, as deliciously yummy. I wouldn’t blink opening this wine anywhere, anytime, for any party, for any reason. Pick the occasion, pick the wine, pick the variety, you just picked a winner.


Science and Soul of this wine is right in the bottle, waiting for you to simply pull the cork. The 2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are grown in Chile’s Central Valley vineyards, on hillside with benchland and river bench soils. After the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks

And, I dare you to watch this video first. (It’s so worth it.)


And Now The White

NV Montinore Estate’s Borealis White Blend

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz, taken at Castello di Meleto, Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy. It’s a wall painting replica of a Medieval tapestry. The colors remind me of a white wine.]

NV Montinore Estate’s Borealis White Blend [Willamette Valley, OR]


Established in 1982, Montinore Estate is the largest producer of certified estate wines made from Biodynamic® grapes in the country. With our 200-acre Demeter Certified Biodynamic® and Stellar Certified Organic vineyard located in north Willamette Valley in Oregon, we focus on producing superior Pinot Noirs, cool climate whites, and fascinating Italian varietals.


By employing thoughtful Biodynamic® and organic growing practices and utmost care in winemaking, the quality of our vineyards is reflected in the grapes and then in the wine. Our approach to winemaking focuses on producing wines that are an expression of where they are grown, while ensuring they are approachable, food friendly and structured for graceful aging. From harvest dates to fermentation vessels and temperatures, from cultivating our own yeasts to selecting the perfect barrels for aging, each decision is thoughtfully made with one end goal in mind: To craft wines that reflect the place where the grapes are grown, offering freshness, liveliness and complexity, while showcasing the best characteristics of each variety.

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]


This wine reminded me of why I love wine in my own unique way…  When it comes to wine, being a purist is so limiting; the more the merrier is my credo, and Borealis delivers. Primarily composed of northern Alsatian white wine grapes, Borealis is a melange of 38 percent Müller-Thurgau, 32 percent Gewürtztraminer, 19 percent Riesling, and 11 percent Pinot Gris. The blending of these grapes is as intriguing as a Medieval tapestry, in the blending of white wine elements:

  • Müller-Thurgau dominated my palate, as represented by the beige coloring
  • Gewürtztraminer is seen as the hints of gold… it’s lusciousness
  • Riesling is gray moments, fueled by a slight petrol
  • Pinot Gris is in the foliage, balancing the Germanic influences with a bit of Italian flare

Together, as they blended into the melange characteristics, it was a really fun, floral exploration of this Montinore.

Rosé is Like Champagne, in that Rosé is for Any Day

With Most All Foods

2017 Little Black Dress Rosé [Mendocino County, CA]

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]

I like the entire concept of Little Black Dress wines, from the Excelsior Wine Company. This is the 2017 vintage of LBD Rosé, the winery’s first Rosé release since the 2015 vintage. Highlighting LBD Wines’ commitment to crafting top quality wines only when growing conditions deliver exceptional grapes, the current vintage is bursting with flavors of fresh strawberries, bright red fruit, juicy watermelon and a crisp, bright and balanced acid with semi-sweet finish.


Since its inception in 2009, LBD Wines has been a strong supporter of women’s causes worldwide including Dress for Success Worldwide, Susan G. Komen, Keep a Breast, True North Foundation and Fatigues to Fabulous. Now through the brand’s LBD Cares Fund, the heritage continues with upcoming Spring events in support of the Junior League of Boston, Dress for Success Worldwide in Chicago and Susan G. Komen in New York. The 2017 LBD Rosé will be featured prominently at each of the aforementioned events. To find out how to join LBD Wines in supporting these women’s initiatives while experiencing the new 2017 LBD Rosé, visit Facebook and Instagram.


 According to a February 2018 Wine Intelligence Study:

  • Over half of Rosé wine drinkers are male
  • Over a third of the adult population drinks Rosé Wines
  • And approximately half of Rosé Wine drinkers between 21 and 34 consume Rosé at least once per week.

Along these lines and well before the newly energized #metoo movement, industry experts were extolling the popularity of Rosé, citing that the once female-skewed beverage has lured more male drinkers and found appeal beyond beach communities such as the Hamptons and Miami. According to a May 26, 2016 Fortune Magazine article “Rose Isn’t Just A Girly Drink,” the varietal is “a boozy trend that has engulfed boisterous bros, the Hamptons ‘It’ crowd, and major Hollywood stars, including Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie. The beverage that unites them: Rosé, is reporting sharp sales increases that far outpace the broader $38 billion wine industry.”

[PHOTO: Purchased – Ilya Glovatskiy]


I just explained sapiosexual to someone, after I heard someone say about him, “Oh, he prefers blondes with glasses.” He looked at me quizzically. I said, “You know, someone finding some else sexually attractive or arousing who’s intelligent.” He asked, “What’s glasses got to do with it?” I responded, “People who wear glasses are using their eyes too much and need support. Those are readers. That’s an intellectual  habit.”

He had to admit, I had a point. Now, imagine someone in a little back dress wearing glasses… Yeah, she’s smart, snappy, and has more that a modicum of decorum. Now you get Little Black Dress.

Whatever the reason, whatever the season; when dining, wine and food will complement each other… Find your groove and treasure the moments, with Little Black Dress.

[PHOTO: Purchased ~ Sutsaiy Sangharn]