It’s no secret that great red wines are made from many places and many different grape varieties from around the globe, and this selection is “Exhibit A” in illustrating that diversity. Included are, among other things, tempranillo from Spain, malbec from Argentina, pinot noirs from Marlborough, Patagonia, and the Santa Maria Valley, an old-vine zinfandel from Sonoma, Washington State syrah, and cabernet-based wines from Bordeaux and Napa Valley. For those preferring something lighter, two sparkling rosés top the list, followed by three chardonnays, a sauvignon blanc, and a still rosé. For dessert, there's a 10-year-old tawny port.
McBride Sisters Marlborough Sparkling Brut Rosé NV ($20). The back story is that these two sisters have the same father but different mothers, with one sister growing up in California, the other in New Zealand. Neither knew of the other’s existence until they were young adults. Today they make wine together, in both places. This sparkler is mouth-filling but sophisticated, with rich cherry flavors and some metallic notes.
Laurent-Perrier Rosé Brut NV ($77). Complete and complex, with rich bubbles, light cherry flavors, metallic mineral notes, and a light creaminess.
Arízano Pago de Arízano Chardonnay 2015 ($20). “Pago” is a single-estate designation in Spain. That said, this one has good minerality and fresh-apple fruitiness with some crisp lime in the finish.
Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($20). Fruity, but with honeycomb and dried herb notes.
McBride Sisters Central Coast Chardonnay 2016 ($20). Tightly structured with fig and stone fruit flavors, mature barrel notes, and pear and figs in the finish.
McBride Sisters Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($20). Full-bodied and spicy, with a finish that morphs from kiwi to lime.
Domaine Lafage La Grande Cuvée Côtes du Roussillon Rosé 2016 ($25). Lovely color and presentation, this pink is very fresh and refreshing, with light strawberry and cherry flavors and lots of minerality.
Huberto Dinale Denario Rio Negro Patagonia Pinot Noir 2015 ($11). Not a lot of complexity, but its flavors are Burgundian and the wine is certainly worth a try at the price.
Santa Julia Uco Valley Malbec Reserva 2016 ($15). Well-balanced with fresh cherry fruit, this malbec would serve equally well as a sipping wine or a companion to food.
Casarena Areyna Mendoza Malbec 2015 ($15). Rich, bright cherry flavor with hints of vermouth in the finish.
Cline Cashmere California Red Blend 2015 ($15). A pleasant quaffing wine — but don’t quaff too much, as it is quite potent.
Saved California Red Wine 2015 ($20). A basic enjoyable red, full-bodied with a touch of caramel in the finish.
Mercer Horse Heaven Hills Malbec 2015 ($21), Rich and warm cherry flavors with loads of tannins and a wisp of Butter Brickle in the aftertaste.
Mercer “Sharp Sisters” Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend 2015 ($21). Fresh and lively fruitiness with a pleasant vegetal under-taste.
Château La Grave Fronsac 2014 ($32). Classic red Bordeaux with nicely matured “bricky” cherry flavor, dusty tannins, and a crisp finish.
Arínzano La Casona Pago de Arínzano Red Wine 2010 ($37). If you love complex red wines, you should follow winemaker Manuel Louzada wherever he goes, as we have done from Cheval des Andes to Numanthia to his current post as overseer at Arínzano (as well as Tenuta di Toscana and Achaval Ferrer). This tempranillo is a big wine, but still quite elegant, with light, rounded cherry flavor well-married to flavors of wood.
Seghesio Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel 2014 ($37). Quite enjoyable, with rich, barrel-accented fruit and a dark and spicy finish.
Dierberg Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2014 ($44). Nice structure, with a muted cherry flavor; good aging potential.
Charles Smith “K Powerline” Walla Walla Syrah 2015 ($45). A statement wine from this talented and prolific Washington State winemaker. Think of a dense fudge brownie; this is the wine equivalent, dark and definitely brooding.
Charles Smith “Substance Cs” Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($50). Ripe and tight, with dark fruit and a flash of oak and tannins — the kind of wine you’d be tempted to drink a couple of glasses of before you even got to the table.
Dierberg Drum Canyon Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2014 ($52). Light-bodied, but with lots of beautiful, complex sassafras and rooty aromas and flavors. Enjoy it now, but enjoy it even more in a few years.
Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($55). Rich, ripe blackberry fruit with some intriguing gaminess and dusty tannins in the finish.
Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Franc 2014 ($65). The “other” Mondavi cab, this one full of rich cassis and raspberry flavors, with a little of the typical cabernet franc vegetal quality and a nice raspiness in the finish — a winner.
Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Port ($36). You know you should drink more port. Perfect to sip on a chilly evening or to savor after dinner, this one resonates with figs and raisins with some roasted nuts thrown in.