I’ve written about winter white wines, in Winter Wonderland Whites: Think Wine, Regionality, Food, and Umani Ronchi Vellodoro Pecorino. I also want to pay homage to winter reds as Heartwarming Wines, because they just are. National Heart Month is February, as you probably remember. Focusing on reds now, most especially, is very evocative for anything to do with red: red wines, Valentine’s Day, and heartiness food (yes, I deliberately misspelled hardy).

So, here were go. Lately I’ve had quite a few noteworthy red wines, and these are some of my favorites.

Part 1 (today’s blog post)

Part 2 (is the next blog post)


~ Heartwarming Red Wine Reviews ~


2Hawk Tempranillo 2016 Rogue Valley, Oregon

This is my second go-around with 2Hawk wines, and I’m still enamored. Their wines are estate grown, so this is vine to glass with no one in-between to interpret what the wine should taste like, given all of their unique characteristics an terroir. The whites go down easily; and the reds are intriguingly different for what we traditionally think of being grown in Oregon. Tempranillo (for instance) versus Pinot Noir? (They do also make a Pinot, we just to think “Oregon? Tempranillo.” in a word association game.)

Yeah, from southwest Oregon, where they’re located, don’t even try to compare the flavors to – say – Willamette Valley. I use this reference, because – by now – people associate Oregon with Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. These wines are unique, expressive, and easy to enjoy.

WEBSITE: Our mission at 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is simple. To be the best we can be. Period. The pursuit of quality guides everything we do in growing fruit, making wine, and providing exceptional guest experiences. Ross and Jen Allen, along with Winemaker Kiley Evans, combine over 50 years of experience in agriculture, winemaking, and customer service. Together their talent, experience, and determination have propelled 2Hawk to the forefront of wine quality, site stewardship, and hospitality. 2Hawk’s production of luxury-class estate wines is focused on Malbec and Viognier with smaller amounts of Tempranillo, Pinot noir, Grenache, Sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay. Oregon’s wine industry is adventurous and filled with exciting opportunities to broaden expectations. 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is blazing the trail.

This was a really delicious wine. I do enjoy a good Tempranillo, and I relished this one.

The Tempranillo variety is Span’s main, red wine grape. ¡Rioja! ~ Right?

This wine has a medium to full-bodiness about it; lots of figs and dark cherries. Get ready for some tannins, which means it will age well, easily for at least 5-10 more years. Like Syrah, it’s got a leather-quality about it, being really earthy. This one is begging for prime rib that’s marbleized with some fat, which will soften the tannins quite a bit.

Homemade Grass Fed Prime Rib Roast with Herbs and Spices… My mouth is watering already!


Henry’s Drive 2017 Magnus Shiraz ~ Australia

Welcome to a really tasty Australian Shiraz! Wine fans the world over are now doing our part to help the Australian wine industry get back onto its feet, after their horrific wild fires. The past two northern California wild fires (2017 and 2019) have been within six miles of my home, both times. Looking out our glass, back door window, each time in the wee hours of the morning, the terror of what we saw would be enough to straighten naturally curly hair, when you’d look upon a close mountain range that’s totally ablaze. I still completely empathize with Australia, about this.

Since last September, at least 27 million acres of Australia have burned, 2,500 homes were destroyed, and 1.25 billion animals were lots. So, to the wine, to help rebuild their county, is a really important world of wine effort. The good lord only knows how long it will take to recover what they had.

When I opened this 2017 Henry’s Drive Magnus from Vintage Longbottom, I had all of these statistics in mind. Although this winery is half a world away and the other half of the world’s hemisphere, I felt so close to it, knowing the panic.

FROM THE WINERY: Henry’s Drive Vignerons (78 percent Padthaway and 22 percent McLaren Vale) ~ Named after the proprietor of the 19th century mail coach service that once ran through their property, Henry’s Drive Vignerons is the wine operation established by Kim Longbottom and her late husband Mark. During the nineteenth century establishment of the farming and wine industries of south eastern South Australia, only horse drawn coaches provided the transit of mail and passengers. The coach drivers reigned supreme on top of their coaches and won the respect and admiration of their passengers.

The flavors of this Shiraz were of juicy berries, mint (neighboring eucalyptus trees add to the terroir’s flavors of the soil, and hints of lavender… It’s a great balance of red fruit, and the herbs of mint and lavender polish off this very evocative Shiraz. Totally yummy and given the location of origin, I chose a venison dish to share. Coincidentally, the winery has the same food recommendation. Venison Goulash Stew with Fresh Herbs Surrounded by Evergreen Sprigs and Deer Antlers.

HINT: If you cook a recipe like this, you can forego the bay leaves. McLaren Vales is already known for hints of bay leaves in the wine… (Flavors of bay can be overwhelming for me. If you’re the same, just use caution.


Mendoza Argentina, Domaine Bousquet Gaia

From Oregon, to Australia, to Mendoza, Argentina, reds from around the world are very captivating. Step outside of your neighborhood once in a while, and you’ll discover delicious treasures.

As the Girl Scouts sing, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. So, off to meet a new experience, until this is already on the gold list for you – like it is for me.

French winemakers in Argentina ~ expect the elegance…


The Bousquet family hails from the city of Carcassonne, in the South of France and have 4 generations of history in the winemaking tradition. Our passion is to produce wines of superior quality, and this is what lead us to Argentina to begin a new chapter.

A 1990 vacation in Argentina was all it took. For third-generation winemaker Jean Bousquet, it was love at first sight. The object of the Frenchman’s desire: the Gualtallary Valley, a scenic, remote, arid terrain high in the Tupungato district of the Uco Valley in Argentina’s Mendoza region, close to the border with Chile. Here, where the condors fly and not a vine in sight, Bousquet discovered his dream terroir, an ideal location in which to nurture organically-grown wines.

With altitudes ranging up to 5,249 feet, Gualtallary occupies the highest extremes of Mendoza’s viticultural limits. Fast-forward to the present and wine cognoscenti recognize it as the source of some of Mendoza’s finest wines. Back then, it was virgin territory: tracts of semi-desert, nothing planted, no water above ground, no electricity and a single dirt track by way of access. Locals dismissed the area as too cold for growing grapes. Bousquet, on the other hand, reckoned he’d found the perfect blend between his French homeland and the New World (sunny, with high natural acidity and a potential for relatively fruit-forward wines).

The winery is spectacular and so are the wines. This 2018 Gaia Red Blend is an organic wine, from the Tupungato region of Mendoza, Argentina; and, is the northernmost sub-region of the Uco Valley, in Mendoza. This region’s name comes from the Tupungato volcano, so we can expect red soil filled with iron oxide. Iron oxide is known for putting a pepper spice into wine… think Dry Creek Zinfandels. (I’ve never met a Dry Creek Zin I didn’t love, because of that recognizable spice.)

When Gaia comes knocking, I get really excited to enjoy this wine again. First of all… the Gaia label is one of my most favorite labels of all time, for its distinctive art work. The wine is also as exciting as its colorful, stimulating label.

This 2018 Gaia red blend of  Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon is richly purple in color. Expect lots of berries – boysenberries dominated for me, when I swirled and sniffed. With its French winemaking style, I was wowed by its velvet feel and flavors on my palate. This was due to its delicate tannins. The spiciness on the finish is accented by notes of black winter truffles, now cultivated in Argentina from June through August (think southern hemisphere – during their winter). The finish on this wine, as always, left me craving for more.

To pair this with food, I’ve paired it with a recipe for Homemade Barbecue Baked Beans in a Black Skillet~ don’t forget to add some salt pork. The fat from salt pork continues to soften the tannins of this wine, just for added enjoyment.