Red-Blooded American Reds

Hearty red wines to prepare for the Ides of March!

Even the Sonoma Coast pinot noirs are quite muscular.

Whether you’re a fan of Shakespearean tragedies, histories of the Roman Empire, video war games, MMA, the Viking TV series, or the current presidential debates, you know that March is the month where blood flows like red wine. Whether you are celebrating your favorite tragedy or hard-won victory, pour yourself a glass of hearty red wine from an array of recent releases by some of our best American wineries. And if they seem a bit more crimson than usual, it may be because you’ve accidentally bitten your tongue in cheek.

McBride Sisters “Truvée” Central Coast Red Blend 2013 ($14)

A nice bonbon of a wine with ripe, rounded, but not heavy flavors of blueberry with some chocolate and earthy notes.

Tom Gore California Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($14)

Basic cab — fruity and juicy — with brûlée oak-barrel notes.

Four Vines “Biker” Paso Robles Zinfandel 2914 ($20)

A little on the woody side, but big, bright, ripe fruit.

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2014 ($24)

Certainly a pinot in the modern California style — big and cherry fruity with some rooty sassafras flavors.

Roessler “Black Pine” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014 ($26)

Sweet fruit flavors, mainly ripe red cherries, with some tanginess in the finish. Nice, but borders on being “hot.”

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Pinot Noir 2011 ($34)

Best as a sipping wine with bright, juicy cherries, moderate acidity, and red vermouth notes.

Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($37)

With great flavors, texture, and structure, the wine has lean elderberry and tart blackberry flavors, with some hints of red vermouth and defining bitters at the edges.

Albatross Ridge “Cuvée Vivienne” Carmel Valley Pinot Noir ($40)

A light, “warm,” generous pinot with earthy, savory flavors blended with sassafras and cola notes.

Leviathan California Red Wine 2012 ($48)

A quite nice big and burly wine — concentrated purple fruits with bitters at the edges, tart tannins, and some earthiness.

Black Ankle “Crumbling Rock” Red Wine 2010 ($52)

A beautiful East Coast wine from Frederick, Maryland, that reminds us of a premium Bordeaux from St-Éstephe, big but well-structured with lean fruit and some balsamic notes from relatively high (14.3 percent) alcohol.

Three Sticks “Durrell” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013 ($60)

A big wine, but not a tannic one — rounded, ripe cherry flavors with a lot of barrel notes intermingled.

Three Sticks “Gap’s Crown” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013 ($67)

Firm with good texture, lean, some tannins and lots of dark cherry fruit, rooty flavors, and hints of red vermouth — a big wine.

Flora Springs “Trilogy” Napa Valley Red Wine 2013 ($80)

An excellent, complex wine still blossoming in the bottle — rich, concentrated, lots of stuffing, big but smooth with dark fruits, chocolate, chewy tannins.

Robert Mondavi “ToKalon” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012 ($128)


Very smooth and elegant, but with a firm texture and lots of fine tannins for aging. It also has plenty of stuffing that, as the wine ages, will add complexity to its dark cherry, blackberries, and light chocolate flavors that now dominate. Delicious.