Friday, April 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024
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Restaurants & Bars

What to Drink Now: Winter Wines

Must-try seasonal sips.

The groundhog saw his shadow, meaning winter’s here a few more weeks. What a perfect excuse to drink a hearty red or bold white wine. Here are a few to indulge in. (Some selections were sent for editorial consideration.)


Cool Russian River brings freshness to textured MacRostie Kent Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay. Honeysuckle and orange-blossom layers with guava, honeydew and citrus. ($46, via the winery.)

Rich Carneros fruit is showcased in luscious Cuvaison Adda Chardonnay with lemon, apple, and crème brulee. ($50, via the winery.)

Full-bodied Amavi Semillon brings textured weight to the palate, with a fresh style. The variety, most often used in making sweet wines, highlights white flowers, ripe melon, and citrus. ($20, via the winery.)

Aromatic Murrieta’s Well “The Whip” creatively melds Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with Chardonnay, Viognier and Orange Muscat for a unique, yet balanced winter white. ($26, via their website.)

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Textured, concentrated Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon, from vineyards originally planted over 130 years ago in St. Helena, showcases why Napa Valley is ideal for growing the variety. Bold, with firm tannins, tobacco, herbal sage, and cassis. ($200, at Pogo’s.)

The gravelly soil of  Napa’s To Kalon Vineyard brings crushed-stone minerality to juicy valley-floor fruit in Cliff Lede’s Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon. Dense, hearty, with age-ability, the wine is filled with blackcurrant, cedar, and roasted espresso. ($185, via the winery.)

Rolando Herrera’s Mi Sueno wines, like his varietally spot-on Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), celebrate his passion and determination to make his dreams come true from washing dishes as a young immigrant in America, to becoming one of Napa’s most highly regarded winemakers. His “Herrera” wines are gifts to his children, naming each of his unique wines after his kids, with each possessing the same personality of his children. Herrera “Rolando Jr.” Cabernet Sauvignon, named after his oldest son, is a bold, confident and intense wine, like his boy. With chewy tannins, spice, dusty earthiness and vanilla, this wine will age beautifully. (Via allocation.)

Corley Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon celebrates Napa Valley blending fruit from throughout the valley floor to create a harmonious wine. Predominantly Yountville Cabernet, with fruit from St. Helena, Rutherford and Oak Knoll, creating a wine layering red cherry, blackberry, and dark chocolate. ($70, at Spec’s.)

Merlot vines in Bordeaux

Right Bank Bordeaux, from regions like St. Emilion and Fronsac, blends predominantly Merlot with floral Cabernet Franc. Chateau Lassegue “Les Cadrans de Lassegue” Saint Emilion Grand Cru, opens with lilac, wildflower and soft herbal aromas, followed by blackberry, red plum, and dark chocolate notes. ($35, at Spec’s.)

In addition to the renowned, highly celebrated Left Bank Château Lafite Rothschild Premier Cru Classe, Pauillac, Bordeaux, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) has expanded with a range of easy-drinking wines under the “Légende” label. Légende St. Emilion ($45) blends 85% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc for an earthy tobacco and black plum filled wine. If you prefer Left Bank, Légende Paulliac ($55) delivers a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine with blackberry, toasted vanilla and licorice. (Available via

Elegant Cote-Rotie, Rhone Valley’s northernmost region, highlights smoky, intense Syrah often blended with a touch of Viognier to add lightness and elegance to the wine. E. Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde elevates this style, adding 4% Viognier to spicy Syrah, bringing refined finesse to robust wine. ($65, at Grailey’s.)

Siduri Muirfield Vineyard Pinot Noir, from Willamette’s Chehalem Mountain AVA shines with layers of fresh roses, woody herbs, and spice, balanced with wild strawberry, and pomegranate. ($50, via the winery.)

Dutcher Crossing Winemaker’s Cellar Kupferschmid Red melds red and black fruit with spice, oak, and fresh herbs. The perfect wine to enjoy with roasted pork belly. ($39, via the winery.)

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