What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 4

Nothing spooky at all about this wonderful Seghesio Venom.
Nothing spooky at all about this wonderful Seghesio Venom.

Seghesio 2016 Venom

This wine makes me think of Tom Hardy. OK, so many things make me think of Tom Hardy.

Seghesio 2016 Venom Alexander Valley ($50) indeed carries the same name of the Marvel movie that got such pitiful reviews that even I haven’t deigned to watch it — Tom Hardy or no Tom Hardy.

I’d much rather take this Venom over that one. This inky wine, of which I received a sample, is made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes. It gets its name from that fact that the grapes grow atop Rattlesnake Hill on the Seghesio ranch in the Alexander Valley.

Its an apt name for this steep slope of impenetrable volcanic shale. The vines have to fight their way through it, and in so doing, produce tiny yet intensely flavored grapes.

The wine is fragrant with of rose water and lavender. Dried cherries and vanilla meld with earthy, graphite notes for an exceptionally silky mouthfeel with a long finish.

The second I tasted it, thoughts of dark-meat Thanksgiving turkey leapt to mind. This wine also would be fabulous with roast duck, roast lamb, and seared mushrooms.

Cheers: Enjoy this wine over a long, relaxing dinner such as Thanksgiving. But save a little to sip during a movie afterward. Just pick a different Tom Hardy movie, though.

Chronic Cellars

Chronic Cellars of Paso Robles may take its wine-making seriously. But it definitely likes to go the wacky route when it comes to its labels.

Just get a load of these four bottles, of which I recently received samples. They will definitely make you do double-takes.

With these zany labels, Chronic Cellars is just the sip for this time of year.
With these zany labels, Chronic Cellars is just the sip for this time of year.

The winery’s name comes from its mission to use the best or “chronic” grapes to make its wines.

The label on the 2018 Suite Petite looks like how I feel after seven months of sheltering in place. The wine, itself, 89 percent Petite Sirah and 11 percent Syrah, is a bountiful taste of blackberries and blueberries with a back note of cigar smokiness. I enjoyed it with grilled sausages glazed with fruity barbecue sauce.

The 2019 Pink Pedals, which is 100 percent grenache, is a most juicy tasting rosé. A blush pink, it smells of rose petals, and tastes of strawberries and Jolly Rancher watermelon candy. Serve it alongside grilled fish or shrimp or a grain salad.

The 2018 Purple Paradise, a blend of predominantly Zinfandel, is full of blackberry and mocha notes. It screams out for barbecue, especially ribs or pulled pork. But a thick-cut pork chop seared in a pan would also do very nicely, too.

The 2018 Sir Real, 93 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 7 percent Zinfandel, shows heavenly notes of dark plum and dried currants with balanced tannin. Where’s the beef? That’s what you’ll be hankering for with this wine.

Cheers: Let’s face it, Halloween this year is not going to be quite the same. So put out a bowl of candy for yourself and your family while you enjoy a bottle of one of these spirited wines with labels that definitely fit the occasion.

Trapiche Medalla Malbec

When my husband and I are enjoying steak or prime rib, our varietal of choice is more often than not Malbec.

First, it’s a nice change of pace from the usual Cabernet Sauvignon. Second, with its typical dark jammy fruit, leather and full body with medium-weight tannin, it stands up to a big piece of meat with aplomb. Third, Malbec is often a bargain, relatively-speaking, compared to many Cabs of comparable quality.

Trapiche Malbecs for your holiday table.
Trapiche Malbecs for your holiday table.

Trapiche winery is definitely one to try. It is located in the heart of Malbec country — Mendoza, Argentina. Recently, I had a chance to sample two of its Malbecs from the same year.

The 2017 Medalla Malbec is a steal at $19. Smooth and rich as velvet on the palate, it exudes notes of plums, dark cherries, and vanilla. The tannin is noticeable, giving it a fullness without adding too much astringency.

In contrast, the 2017 Finca Ambrosia Terroir Series ($50) takes all that, but pushes it up a big notch. Black currants and blackberries predominate with warm spices, graphite, and earthiness. It’s deeper, fuller, and lusher in taste, with a long finish.

Cheers: Pour either for Christmas and you’re sure to impress anyone at the table.

More: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 1

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 2

And: What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 3

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