Hob Nob Vineyards Wicked Red Blend 2012


An appropriately festive, limited edition red blend for All Hallows Eve.

Winery: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits and Les Vins Georges Dubœuf developed Hob Nob in 2007 with a goal of producing “approachable, yet stylish and sophisticated” wines. Deutsch Family was founded in 1981 by Bill Deutsch and has grown over the years with a portfolio of over 170 international brands, including giants such as Yellow Tail and Josh Cellars. Winemaker Georges Dubœuf is one of the largest and most famous wine merchants in France, and is viewed as “single handedly popularizing the annual Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon”.

Tasting Notes: Red violet in colour with aromas of cherry, chocolate and traces of menthol. Both black cherry and cherry flavours backed by chocolate, oak and earth elements, finishing with crushed black peppercorn and hints of plush cedar.

40% Grenache, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz, 10% Pinot Noir
Produced and Bottled by Hob Nob Vineyards
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2015

Symington Altano Douro DOC 2011


Confident and bold, this red blend is from the largest family estate in Portugal and craves to be paired with hearty dishes.

Estate: The Symington family has been involved with winemaking in the Douro Valley of Portugal since 1882, and through their great grandmother, can trace their winemaking back 14 generations to the mid 17th century. Today the family is the largest vineyard owner in the Douro Valley, with multiple vineyards extending across 947 hectares. They are recognised for being at the forefront of Douro winemaking and renowned for their “outstanding ports”.

Winemaking: With their vast holdings of land, the family places great importance on preserving the environment. All vineyards are farmed both organically and sustainably, and with their conservation efforts they have seen considerable results such as the return of indigenous animals and plants. Altano was crafted to be “ideal for everyday, informal drinking at home with family or with friends, a great wine to relax and unwind with”. Vinified in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, fresh herbs and hints of balsamic. Concentrated black cherry and plum flavours were contrasted by vegetal tomato leaf notes in the full body, whilst black peppercorn, lingering cherry and traces of tarry earth comprised the moderate finish.

A blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca [the “proportions of each vary from year to year”]
Bottled by Symington Family Estates
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2015

Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator

Apothic Dark Limited Release 2013


A limited release, seasonal red blend with bold sweet and savoury notes, making it a good companion with both hearty dishes and rich desserts.

Winery: Apothic Wines are a brand of E & J Gallo, one of the world’s largest wine producers and distributors. Founded in 1933 by brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo, it is the largest family owned winery in the US. The name Apothic stems from the word “Apotheca,” a “place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe”.

Winemaking: Winemaker Debbie Juergenson has a goal of telling “a story with each blend of Apothic”, “whether it’s one of drama, intrigue or romance”.

Tasting Notes: Inky violet in colour with aromas of grape jam, black pepper and allspice. Concentrated black cherry and blueberry flavours were joined by vanilla and cinnamon notes that transition smoothly to black peppercorn and caramel elements in the lengthy finish.

I was unable to locate grape varieties and percentages, only that the blend can include Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot
Vinted and Bottled by Apothic Wines
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2015

Orin Swift Locations AR2 Red NV



Easy drinking and engaging, this is a well-composed glass fantastic for sipping on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

Label: Locations is a label of winemaker David Phinney, founder of Orin Swift Cellars [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name]. Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France yet still remains a small, “passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine”. Phinney was inspired to create the ‘Locations’ label whilst standing on a curb waiting for a taxi at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris; correspondingly, the European country code car stickers are used for the labels. Priced to be budget friendly, there are currently bottles from Spain [E], Italy [I], France [F], California [CA] and Argentina [AR].

Philosophy: To create a wine that combines the best grape varietals from great “locations” throughout Europe.

Winemaking: Sourced from vineyards with “drip system blocks on estate land” at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina. Aged in new French oak.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of dried rose, cherry jam and coffee. Silky smooth and well balanced with juicy black currant and cherry flavours in the full body supported by silky smooth tannins, cigar box spice, chocolate and fresh coffee hints in the lengthy finish.

Winemaker’s blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat [I could not verify varietal percentages]
Bottled by Locations R.E. 40.869-HU-ES
14.5% Alcohol
18$ [average price]
Enjoy now


Pasos de la Capula Syrah 2012


A good value at only $9, easy drinking and a pleasant companion to hearty dishes. [Photobomb by Rocky]

Winery: Bodegas Abanico is a project created by Rafael De Haan and Nuria Altes with the mission of searching out the best wines from all of the regions in Spain [and now also South America]. They work closely with winemakers to present wines of “regional authenticity, varietal character, as well as great value”. They spotlight clean expression of the fruit, and aim to produce everyday wines “that are enjoyable to drink with good balance and control of both tannins and alcohol”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of grape jam, autumn woods and black pepper. Black cherry and slightly tart blackberry flavours harmonise with silky tannins, dried black fruits and pink peppercorn on the plush finish.

Syrah [I could not verify varietal percentage]
Castilla la Mancha
Bottled for Bodegas Abanico, S.L. by R.E. No. CLM 386/CU
13% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2015