Just because we can’t physically travel doesn’t mean that our pallets can’t – Right!

Over Christmas and all through the month of January did just that.  Spent some time falling in love with Spain always leading the way with inexpensive good reds, stepped into Portugal and Italy for a bit.  Can’t help but visit the good old USA and we had some bubbles along the way.

Rotari Brut Rosé Sparkling 2014: $19.95, Trentino Italy

What you can expect: A vibrant blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.   The racy palate offers pink grapefruit, orchard fruit and bitter almond, somewhat vivacious.


Champagne Victoire Brut Rose: $45.95, Champagne, France

What you can expect: A toasty, robust, dry Champagne at an incredibly great price! Aromas of toast and apple from a classic Champagne blend of pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Spain – I don’t generally see much in the way of Spanish white, I must pay more attention.  I am however becoming overwhelmed by the great pricing and the amazing quality coming from Spanish Reds.

Juan Gil Yellow Label Monastrell 2018: $14.95, Jumilla, Spain

It might be too early in the year to call this the wine find of the year but I am pretty sure that it will be near the top.  Hard to find a better red at 15 bucks!

What you can expect: Dark red cherry look and aroma.  Full bodied, flavorful and a long finish and mild spice at the finish.  I now have a case!

Barón de Ley Reserva 2015: $21.95, Rioja, Spain – Tempranillo

What you can Expect:  A very solid red no wonder it was a Decanter Wine of the Year.

A plush texture and ripe flavors, plum, currant and fig notes and a hint of licorice.  Full bodied through the spicy finish. Score – 92. (Thomas Matthews, winespectator.com, June 30, 2020)

Borsao Berola 2016: $18.95, Campo de Borja, Spain – Grenache Blend

What to expect:  This has a very rich and vibrant feel with a succulent, juicy and impressively ripe core of dark and redder-fruit flavors. Drink now. Score – 90. (jamessuckling.com, July 26, 2019)  A bargoon!!!!

Portas da Herdade Grande Reserva 2016: $30.95, Alentejo, Portugal, Aragonés Blend

What to expect: A mouthful to say the least, intriguing with delicious deep fruit flavors along the style of a wonderful Italian Amarone.  Long slow finish making me want for more.  Sold out before I could land more – unfortunately.  Score – 92. (Mark Squires, robertparker.com, Aug. 30, 2019)

Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2018: $21.95, Piedmont, Italy

What you can Expect:  It is a bottle that you cannot walk by without noticing the intense deep yellow tint.  It says “Take Me!” So I did.  A few days later I went back for more!  It is a smooth mouthful of yellow wildflowers.  Well rounded flavors of tart apple, lemon zest and honeydew alongside fresh acidity. Score – 90. (Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, Aug. 1, 2019)

Zensa Nero di Troia 2019: $16.95, Puglia, Italy

What you can Expect:  It’s not going to break the bank but it might break your heart if you don’t get some.  A wowza purple label and impressive gothic bottle designs.  Bang for the buck organic Italian red that would be at the high end of a table wine as it is named.  Juicy cherry, plum notes highlighted by hints of coffee and chocolate.

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay 2019: $17.95, Washington, USA

What you can Expect: Impressive and refreshing aroma and taste of apple, melon, with butterscotch and oak.

Shannon Ridge Buck Shack Cabernet Sauvignon 2017: $31.95, California, USA

What you can Expect: Surprise, surprise that you might not expect from a wine called Buck Shack.  Interesting looking label, a very solid bottle at a price that might be slightly above the norm.  A smoothie, this full-bodied wine has plenty of dark berry and cherry notes, a touch of black olive and a big structure of firm, fine-grained tannins. Deft oak accents spice up the palate and linger on the finish. Best through 2025. Score – 91. (Jim Gordon, Wine Enthusiast, Nov. 1, 2019)