December 2018

Bodegas Breca Old Vines 2015

Basics: Grenache from Calatayud, Spain

Style: Savory and full bodied red

Notes: Ripe black fruit, olives, and toasty spice end in a long finish - This is an interesting one!!!

Why this wine matches you: Well… maybe it doesn’t. Made from old vine Grenache, which is a typically more of a blending grape, Breca gives a very different profile than the usual fruit/floral/spice notes that many wines have, no matter how differently those characteristics are expressed. This is an interesting wine, not because of its backstory, but because it has caused a lot of disagreement in the wine community. For example, Wine Spectator named this the #29 best wine of 2018, while Wine Enthusiast gave it 82 points (basically a death blow, ratings-wise) and called it hard to drink. At the same time, it has over 7,000 reviews on Vivino and 3.9 out of five stars.  It’s pretty rare to see such disagreement surround a commercial wine; is Wine Enthusiast just wrong? Breca is not to my personal liking, as I found it to be too extreme in some of its dark notes but you and I drink really differently, so I thought I’d see what you thought. Reasons you may like it: it’s intense but smooth, it has deep, concentrated flavors, it will compliment red meat very well, and it’s just really different. It somehow fits into the ‘softer’ style I picked for you this month too, because the tannins are smooth and round. Please tell me what you think of this, because there is hardly a consensus on it!!

Pairs well with: bacon, pork tenderloin, beef stew, and grilled meats

$16.99 at or Winelala can order it for you!

Loveblock Pinot Noir 2015

Basics: Pinot Noir from Central Otego, New Zealand

Style: Fresh, bold and elegant red with round tannins

Notes: Red and black berries, violets, herbs, smoke, and velvety tannin  

Why this wine matches you:   Lovebloc makes a fantastic and pretty famous Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a little more subtle than expected, but is full of fruit. Lovebloc’s Pinot Noir is a bit opposite in that it does not lack subtlety.  Not traditionally considered a ‘powerful’ grape like Cabernet Sauvignon or  Zinfandel for example, Pinot Noir can sometimes be thin or bland, but this fresh and fragrant version is driven by dark berries and plums, herbs, French oak spice, and tertiary notes such as mushrooms and forest floor. Texturally, there is a touch of cream. The diversity of flavors work together in harmony while lively acid levels keeps the wine bright and round tannins keep it mellow. I think it’s a great match for you given how wonderfully complex it is, yet it’s easily drinkable, available, and approachable. If you don’t want to order this from, you can easily find it in many stores. Personally I love this label, but I understand it’s not your style. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Pairs well with: this extremely diverse wine pair well with dishes across the board. The winemaker created it to go alongside food; turkey, salmon, lamb and beef in particular.

$27.99 from  or Winelala can order it for you!

CVNE Vina Real Reserva 2013

Basics: Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain

Style: Elegant, spicy and refined

Notes: Cooked dark cherries, strawberry and balsamic notes mingle with tobacco spice and vanilla

Why this wine matches you:  This is grown up wine. It’s delicious and lovely but there is nothing playful here. This wine was built to become more refined age. It has a level of sophistication worthy of the high-end meals to which I picture you as a business traveler with an important job going. The grapes were fermented in stainless steel to preserve the freshness, and the resulting wine was aged in new and used French oak barrels for two years to impart spice and micro amounts of oxygen for softening and complexity. The grapes (primarily Tempranillo with Grenache, Graciano, and Masuelo playing supporting roles) are from Rioja Alavesa, a subregion of Rioja that creates wines that bottle age particularly well. I’ve put this on your list because it’s a high quality celebratory wine, great for special occasions such as your frequent promotions, it’s easy to pair with most meals, and while not inexpensive, it’s not too pricey, so is also good for a crowd if you need multiple bottles. Finally, it maintains the softer side that has guided your recommendations this month through fine tannins.

Pairs well with: the winemaker specifies ‘red meat and fatty fish’        

$32.99 from    

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2017

Basics: Chenin Blanc from Vouvray in the Loire Valley, France

Style: Full flavor and full bodied white wine 

Notes: Orange peel, pear, quince, and lime meet ginger, ripe honeysuckles and cream

Why this wine matches you:  Just to reiterate, I know you are not much of a white wine fan, however, this is a good start for someone who primarily drinks red. Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile grapes on the planet and it produces wines ranging stylistically from bone dry to very sweet to sparkling. This particular bottle is dry and layered as it is made by one of the most respected Chenin Blanc producers in the business from grapes from the Le Mont vineyard, Vouvray’s finest. I actually just drank too much of it this past week. Because of its weight and acidity, it’s more upfront than most of the whites I drink but it has an amazing ability to stand up to heavier dishes - baked red fish over black olive tapenade, for example. The reason I thought of this for you is because of its intensity and focus, bringing us back to some of the premises on which I decide upon wines for you. There’s a lot going on in a glass of this, and it is definitely a food wine.

$45.99 at or Winelala can order it for you!

Noelle AllenComment