What’s your favorite wine Andrew?

People always ask me what’s my favorite wine. Well that’s a long conversation, but let me break it down. I love Malbec from Argentina, hot climate ripe, dark, muscular structure and fruit as well as high altitude, Andes influenced, cool nights that give seductive floral, sweet spiced perfumey Malbec. I love the Languedoc/Roussillon in southwest France near the Spanish border along the Mediterranean coastline that is the home to the mysterious and cerebral Carignan that I adore. These wines have amazing organic concentration and a distinct cocoa/cacao dark chocolate flavor in their wines that you cant find anywhere else in the world. I love that these wines are under the radar and offer so much personality. I’m also a sucker for a culture that mixes a little bit of Spain/Catalonia into France. Its easy for me to tell everyone how much I love the southern Rhone. Chateauneuf-du-Pape makes the best $35-$75 wines in the world that show what magic wine can be as a result of its mutual love and obsession with the Sun. Those abundant white rocks and those old gnarly vines are so unique and picturesque that are just a glimpse of what fruit come from this wonderful location. I love this region for its well known ambitious little brothers and sisters that perform like rising stars ready to become the next among best players in the world. Gigondas is like the Prince Harry who just because he was born 3 years earlier, cant be King, but performs just as impressive, if not better than Chateauneuf and delivers amazing concentration and big, deep, spicy, dark, muscular structure and fruit for less than $40. One producer Domaine la Bouissiere made one of my favorite wines of all time that was a declassified Gigondas for $15 that was so amazing I bought a whole case and turned on several of my friends to it which very rarely happens. Vacqueyras is like the twin sister to the brother Gigondas that has many identical traits but often performs slightly more feminine and elegant but still powerful and full of dark delicious spicy fruit. Cairanne is also an intriguing place that I call the quiet, brilliant younger sibling that doesn’t speak much, but when they do, they blow your mind with how much artistic brilliance and imagination they have inside them. This place produces several (hidden secret) spectacular wines everyone should seek out. I’ll mention the producer Domaine de l’Oratoire as one of the greatest. Rasteau makes some amazing under $20 wines that have delicious chocolaty grenache based fruit. I love Cote-du-Rhones! They have had a string of great vintages and you can find dozens around $10 and they are ALL good. Burgundy France probably makes the best wine in the world, but because they are so expensive and I’m not rich, the economy is just OK, they are not a hot category. However the few over $50 ones I have tasted have been magnificent, white and red. I have to taste Domaine de la Romanne Conti Pinot Noir before I die. The Iberian peninsula. I love Portgual. I often get asked, what are the best $10 wines? My answer in 2011 is Portuguese reds. These wines kick ass and keep you coming back for more. I love what they are doing and exporting to the USA for such a low price. These wine are filled with such enjoyable juicy plumy fruit with hints of cocoa and lovely balance that I cant resist. One of my favorite grape varietals in my Top 5 is Touriga Nacional. I love LOVE this grape. Its so dark, plumy and mysterious and intoxicatingly arromatic. Any Portuguese wine with a blend of this I easily fall in love with. Give me more! Touriga Nacional is the main grape grown in the famous Douro winemaking region that is known for the production of Port wines, which I love, but I love table reds that show the natural expression of the genius Touriga Nacional varietal without being sweet. Try Portuguese wines! OK now let me finish by expressing my love for ESPANA (Spain) Here we have a country that seems to have all the right elements to be the greatest in the world at all the things that I cherish and TODAY is the time people are starting to notice that this is one of the most important countries in Europe, if not the world. Oh wow, Spain is so special. Let’s talk about Tempranillo. This is the royal grape that seems to always walk around with a velvet cloak. It works so well with new french oak and shows very sexy red fruit and hints of vanilla. Its not always brainy, but its sure is hot. I’m really not an expert on Spanish wine, but I put a lot of faith and passion in supporting the great brands by the famous importer Jorge Ordonez. He knows how to send the USA delicious Spanish wines at a very affordable price with very attractive, modern labels that are a retailer’s dream. The wines from Jumilla in the south east are incredible as they are dominated by the powerful and seducticve Monastrell (mouvedre) grape that is packed with more skittles rainbow fruit than any varietal I’ve evr come across. Yum! I love Juan Gil monastrell that I sell for $16 that is pure pleasure and indulgence in a bottle that I don’t say about any other wine under $20. I cant ignore the fact that the one place one Earth that I have never been that I am head over heals in love with also makes amazing wines. That place is Catalonia and they are mostly famous for their sparkling wine known as Cava which is always under $20 and can rival the quality of fine Champagne which is something I adore. I cant begin to describe my love for Champagne, that’s a whole other story. Catalonia also is home to Montsant and Priorat which are making some incredible powerful fruit packed wines that I am just beginning to explore. This is a place I hope to live one day and hopefully work in a vineyard. There or the Roussillon. I just want to work with this mysterious Carignan varietal. I want the world to know Carignan.

Let me finish by naming my 5 favorite grapes. This is very Very serious.

1. Carignan (because of the future and Catalonia) Go Barca!
2. Touriga Nacional
3. Malbec
4. Pinot Noir
5. Grenache



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