Resolve To Drink More Wine

Red wine is good for you – in moderation it is good for the heart, good for cancer prevention, good for blood pressure and cholesterol levels…at least that is the theory that I am sticking with.  I even have a friend who is doing the Atkins diet right now who can drink red wine…only red…no bubbly…no white…but all the red he wants.  (Not sure this is actually a part of the plan, but it seems to be working for him.)  It is the good antioxidants found in red wine that studies have shown lead to protection and prevention of disease. 

So if you are looking to increase your red wine consumption for the health benefits in 2011, or if you are like me and just enjoy a good glass,  here are a few ideas on some great ones to try.  Some have been sent for editorial consideration, all are enjoyable.

Vision Cellars is one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma making award winning Pinot Noir from some of the best grapes in the region.  The 2007 Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands highlights the true beauty of this vineyard with lots of floral aromas of violets and wildflowers with bright raspberry, strawberry and cherry flavors melding with spice leading to a long, lush finish.  The Sonoma County Pinot Noir blends the best mix of fruit from a variety of vineyards in the region into one exquisite representation of Sonoma County with balanced fruit and earthiness.

On a recent trip to Napa Valley I had the opportunity to taste at Ancien, a small production winery making stellar Pinot Noir (and some tasty Chardonnay.) The 2008 Toyon Farm was a favorite.  Floral aromas with sweet baking spices fill the nose as the wine opens, with a palate filled with lots of black cherry, blackberry, chocolate and a layer of minerality.  It is a bold, intense Pinot Noir with a total production of 42 cases in 2008.

Kuleto's Wine Dog, Pilot

Also on this trip we visited Kuleto, a stunningly beautiful winery on 761 acres in the mountains overlooking Lake Hennessey.  Restaurateur Pat Kuleto started the winery in 1993 after purchasing the property to build his home.  It is a representation of his beliefs in a rustic, robust yet refined lifestyle.  Wine production is small, with just 90 acres of the 761 planted with grapes and most wine sold through their tasting room, which is warm, inviting and incredibly comfortable with over stuffed chairs, a charming staff and the sweetest winery dog.  The 2006 Frog Prince Cabernet Sauvignon was the stand out with complexity and depth.  Aged 28 months in 57% new French oak the wine is filled with anise, plum, chocolate and cedar with an earthy layer of forest floor and leather aromas.

Italian winemaking powerhouse Antorini Family has a winery in Napa Valley, Antica,  producing elegant estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Atlas Peak fruit.  The 2007 has deep, concentrated fruit flavors with great complexity.  Filled with plum, licorice and currant with layers of caramel and chocolate and a hint of spice.  The wine was bottled in 2009 after 12 months of aging and then bottle aged for another year until its recent release in late 2010.   Antica also makes olive oil from olive trees on their estate.  With bright green, grassy flavors the oil is typically produced at the end of each years harvest and made as a celebration of the year and the earth’s bounty.

For everyday, go to wines there are a few that I like that won’t break the bank for your any-day/everyday consumption.  Chateau St. Jean is a good go to wine.  Their Sonoma Merlot is a consistent wine that pairs well with anything from burgers to Chinese food.  Floral aromas of violets and wildflowers with ripe plum, blueberry and cherry, with similar fruit flavors married with a hint of cocoa and dried herbs. 

Souverain’s Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is also a good go to with bold flavors of chocolate, clove and cherry with balanced tannins, good acidity and a lovely, velvety finish. Through January they are offering some great wine discounts with $5 shipping if you resolve to drink Souverain through 2011!

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