Posts Tagged ‘Jeff’

It’s Christmas. What’s in your glass?

December 25, 2012

It’s Christmas, y’all!

I hope everyone out there is having a good time with their loved ones close by.

I just wanted to take a moment to share what we’re drinking right now…

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This is the Artezin 2009 Mendocino County Zinfandel. I picked it up at the local grocery store this morning for 12 bucks.

Let’s see how it turned out…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Bright blackberry fruit.

Taste: That same, bright blackberry fruit is very present on the front palate. There’s a whole lot of splintery, oaky tannins with a hint of vanilla. There’s a rich of green pepper and clove on the tail end.

Score: Look… For 12 bucks, you can’t get mad at this wine.  It would do just fine with a heavy Italian meal.  I was just expecting more.  Wine Spectator has been loving the hell out of the 2010 Artezin, so if you’re thinking about picking up a bottle, try that.  As far as the 2009, with its poor use of oak, one-dimensional fruit, and thin finish… I’m giving it an 85.  You can do better.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

What’s in your glass?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

The Cornerstone of a Tasty Meal 1.3

December 1, 2012

After taking a good week off from the blog to battle this cold, I’m feeling much better (Thanks for asking).

In order to get back into the swing of things, I decided to open up another one of my samples from Cornerstone Cellars while doing a little cooking…

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Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Color: Light burgundy red with a light tomato hue at the rim.

Nose: Tomato skin (hmmmm), leather, strawberry, cranberry, and fig notes with a nice spice rack blend to round things out.

Taste: Wow!  Delicious fruits of strawberry, blackberry, and cranberry.  There’s a great component of allspice and leather that transitions into a long, luscious, velvety finish, and a great acidity that makes it a very food-friendly wine.

Score: Here’s what I love about Pinot Noir.  It’s so subtle…  It’s so reserved…  But… It’s so complex… If you take the time to think about it.  This effort from Cornerstone Oregon is a shining example of how great Pinot Noir can be.  I love this wine.  92 (I gave the 2009 vintage of this wine a 91+)

Now…

On to the food…

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Farmers Market Fresh Ahi Tuna Tower of Green Onion, Chiles, Cucumber, Mango, Cilantro, Lime, and Stagecoach Vineyard Olive Oil topped with Edamame Cakes on an Okonomi and Sriracha Glaze

I guess I went a little overboard on the food, but that Pinot got me real excited.

I was very happy with how both the dish and the pairing turned out.

The wine brought out the freshness of the cucumber in the Ahi Tower, which could have been overwhelmed by the savory/spicy dish.  The savory flavors of the tuna bumped up the previously muted flavors of cola/sassafras in the wine.

With a wine this food-friendly, there was no way I was gonna waste a single bite of this dish…

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And I didn’t!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Toys for Wine? I can dig it!

September 5, 2012

So…

Some of you may know that Gary Vaynerchuk (of Wine Library TV, Daily Grape, and Crush It fame) is my wine hero.

I liked wine before I ever watched an episode of WLTV, but Gary Vaynerchuk helped me love it.

You’ve gotta know that I was stoked to find out on Twitter recently that Gary was looking for old 80’s toys… and that he was looking to trade wine for them.

I ran over to my closet, picked out some of my old toys that were gathering up dust, and hit up @GaryVee on the Twitter.

After a little negotiating back and forth, we came to an agreement, and I shipped my stuff off the next day.

Well…

Take a peek at what showed up on my doorstep today…

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Twenty-One Bottles of Wine, Picked out by Gary. Why 21? Well… It’s football season, and Frank Gore is my favorite player.

Check out some of the bad boys that Gary sent my way…

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Russiz Superiore 2005 Collio Cabernet Franc

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Barossa Jack 2008 Shiraz

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L’Argentier 2009 Vieilles Vignes de Cinsault

Hella nerdy.

Hella fun.

And I can dig it!

I’m looking forward to tasting and reviewing a bunch of these wines for y’all.  In honor of Gary, I will be referring to these wines as GV Specials.

Here’s hoping they bring the thunder.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Getting Over It

August 20, 2012

I’m a wine blogger.

I also happen to be a teacher.

Last year, around this time, I wrote a post about how I feel about making the transition from summertime back to school.

You could read the post by clicking here, or you can just trust me…

The end of the Summer makes me sad.

That being said, last week was the first of the new school year, and my first back in the classroom.

It came and went… And I felt just fine.

This was quite possibly the smoothest transition back to school I’ve ever had.

I’ve been searching my memory banks as to why I don’t feel the same way I normally do, and I just couldn’t come up with any reason why it’s been so easy…

Then I took a peek at some of the pictures I took the week before school started.  They reminded me of the day when Kara and I decided to do a little weekday wine tasting at two of my favorite Santa Clara Valley wineries…

Our first stop was Clos La Chance, where I got to taste this bad boy…

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Clos La Chance 2008 Lila’s Cuvee Rhone Blend

This is a beautiful Rhone style blend that consists of 36% Syrah, 34% Petite Sirah, 28% Grenache, 1% Mourvedre, and 1% Carignane.  It retails for $50.

Color: Inky dark red.

Nose: A really fun play between deep blueberry and chocolate with hints of graham crackers and mint.

Taste: Cranberry and raspberry fruit.  Cocoa powdery tannins, and mad tobacco flavor.

Score: This is a silky smooth wine that everybody can enjoy, but it’s got the kind of complexity that will make some of you geek out hard core.  This one is great!  91+

Later on, we hit up Sycamore Creek to try this one…

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Sycamore Creek 2009 Flagship Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Sycamore Creek makes some really good Bordeaux style wines.  This Flagship Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has a touch of Petit Verdot.

Color: Dark burgundy red.

Nose: Plum and cassis fruits up front are rounded out by mint and tobacco.

Taste: Dark and dense plum and tobacco dominate this wine.  The mid-palate transitions from cocoa and mint to black pepper spice and coffee notes on the finish.

Score: This is a super solid and fun wine.  I would plant my flag on this wine too.  91+

I’m glad that Kara and I live so close to a bunch of really cool wineries…

And with juice like this, it’s hard to feel blue about going back to school.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 60: What it B?

August 18, 2012

In this episode, Jeff tries another wine in a brown bag.  What could it be?

To view the score of this wine, click here.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

For the Birds: A weekend of wine and oysters in Bodega Bay

August 6, 2012

This past weekend, Kara and I rolled up to Bodega Bay for an impromptu celebration of the engagement of our friends Richie and Erin.

Tucked along the Sonoma Coast, Bodega Bay is a small fishing town North of San Francisco.  It’s a trip that should have taken us a little over two hours to accomplish, but after fighting rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon through San Jose, Oakland, and San Rafael it took us about three and a half.

We spent the majority of our first night in Bodega Bay celebrating the newly engaged couple with dinner, drinks, and a badass round of Apples to Apples.

A blast to be sure…

The next morning, we headed over to The Tides Wharf right along the Pacific Coast Highway to get some breakfast.  While we were waiting to be seated, I walked out on the back patio to snap a few pictures…

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The Thick Coastal Fog. The Signature of Bodega Bay.

To those not expecting it, the thick fog that covers Bodega Bay can come across as being quite eerie.  It’s for this reason that Alfred Hitchcock chose this spot as the backdrop for his 1963 film, “The Birds”.  Many of the scenes were filmed in the parking lot of The Tides Wharf.

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Here’s a few of the local celebrities.

For breakfast, I ordered the Hangtown Fry…

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The Hangtown Fry: Fried Oysters, Eggs, Bacon, Hashbrowns, and Rye Toast.

I love me some oysters, but I’ve never had them fried before.  These ones were great.  The outside was just crispy enough to give the oysters a snap without making the inside all rubbery.

After breakfast, we spent the rest of the day at the beach.  Trust me… It was beautiful… Foggy… But beautiful.  I’d show you some pictures, but I left my camera at the rental home.

After a fun day at the beach, and a tasty dinner, it was wine time.

On Saturday evening, we popped open quite a few bottles.  Here are some of the highlights…

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Rombauer Vineyards 2009 Zinfandel

Rombauer Vineyards 2009 Zinfandel:

Rombauer is a Napa winery that is more well-known for their Chardonnays, but I have always been a fan of their Zinfandels.  Kara and I picked up this California Zinfandel on a trip to their tasting room.  The fruit is 60% from their vineyards in the Sierra Foothills, with the other 40% from various vineyards throughout Northern California.

Color: Dark, dark burgundy red.

Nose: Raisin, cranberry, and plum fruit with red bell pepper and tobacco notes.

Taste: This is a big boy.  Super concentrated plum fruit layered with sweet oak and tannins.

Score: This wine was a real crowd pleaser.  It’s got that big fruit and alcohol that many folks love about Zinfandel.  It does have that “smooth” taste that is easy to fall in love with.  My only problem with this wine was that it didn’t bring anything else to the palate.  A bit one-dimensional… You dig?  89

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Haraszthy 2009 Dunbar Vineyard Zinfandel

Haraszthy 2009 Dunbar Vineyard Zinfandel:

Haraszthy is one of the oldest wine-making families in Sonoma County.  The 2009 Dunbar Zinfandel is their first single vineyard wine.

Color: Dark red.

Nose: Black pepper, blackberries, and raspberries.

Taste: Green peppers, raspberries, and cranberries.

Score: A solid Zinfandel.  A cool label.  Give it a try.  88

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De Loach 2008 Von Weidlich Zinfandel

De Loach 2008 Von Weidlich Vineyard Zinfandel:

Kara and I visited De Loach on our first wedding anniversary, and picked up this bad boy.  The Von Weidlich Vineyard is in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma County.

Color: Dark burgundy red.

Nose: Tobacco leaf, blueberries, blackberries, and bell peppers.

Taste: Tobacco and mint dominate the palate.  There is a good black pepper spice, along with some blackberry and cranberry fruit.

Score: This was my wine of the night.  Hella complex.  Hella balanced.  89

The De Loach also had something in it that the other wines did not…

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The cork was covered in diamonds… Wine Diamonds!

On Sunday morning, after saying our goodbyes to the newly engaged couple, Kara and I headed South on Highway 1 to check out some of the fishing towns of Tomales Bay.  We stopped at The Marshall Store in Marshall, CA to get us some more oysters…

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Oysters! Dope oysters!

If you’ve never had a chance to visit Bodedga Bay, and the surrounding areas, I would definitely recommend you checking it out.

It’s not just for the birds…

It’s for oysters too.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

This Post isn’t About That…

July 30, 2012

Yesterday, my Aunt B. and Uncle J. took Kara and me wine tasting at Domenico Winery in San Carlos…

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Domenico Winery

Domenico is an Urban Winery found just off of the 101 on the San Francisco Peninsula. I am always intrigued by the quality of wine coming from Urban Wineries like Domenico. I could do a whole series on just Urban Wineries…

But this post isn’t about that.

Although the winery is not located within the boundaries of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, Domenico is considered to be a Santa Cruz Mountain Winery because they do make some wines with fruit sourced from that appellation. Here’s a few that we tasted…

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Domenico 2009 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

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Domenico 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

I do love me some Santa Cruz Mountains fruit. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains…

But this post isn’t about that.

Domenico is more well-known for their wines made from Italian varietals. We got to try the follwing wines which are recommended by yours truly…

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Domenico 2006 Dolcetto

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Domenico 2007 Montepulciano

Although I was into both of these, I am not usually a fan of wines made of Italian grapes grown in California (with the exception of Primitivo aka Zinfandel, which technically has origins in Croatia)…

But this post isn’t about that.

Domenico also makes a fine Bordeaux style blend from Napa…

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Domenico 2005 Napa Valley Meritage

I was also very impressed with their dessert wines…

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We picked up the 2009 “White Cashmere” Malvasia Bianca Dessert Wine, thanks to my aunt and uncle.

Yup. Domenico is a pretty cool place. You should check them out the next time you’re in San Carlos…

But this post isn’t about that.

On the way home, after saying our goodbyes to Aunt B. and Uncle J., we decided to swing by Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Tasting Room… Since it was on the way, and all…

As always, the entire lineup at Ridge was fantastic. We were hella stoked by the following…

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Ridge 2010 East Bench Zinfandel

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Ridge 2007 Syrah/Grenache

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Ridge 2006 Lytton Estate Grenache

Those wines were very good. I mean… Ridge is ALWAYS good…

But this post isn’t about that.

There were two wines that we got to taste that were just amazing…

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The Ridge 2010 Buchignani Ranch Carignane is unreal. The nose is this crazy combination of beef jerky and cake frosting. I know that sounds weird, but trust me… That smell is beautiful. The palate brings some legit blueberry and blackberry fruit. Pick it up! 92+

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Behind the counter, they had open a Half Bottle of Ridge 1993 Monte Bello, so we had to have a taste. It’s hard to believe that this wine is 19 years old. Considering that half bottles age more quickly than those that are full-sized, it was neat to see how young it still behaved. The color was a dark reddish-purple with just the slightest rustiness near the rim. The nose had this fantastic spice that Kara and I were having trouble putting a name to. Kara settled with chai tea. The spice to me was more that of nutmeg and carob. There was also a generous aroma of plum. On the palate, this bad boy brought it all. Black tea, green peppers, clove, mint, ginger, blackberries, cranberries, and leafy tobacco married perfectly. This wine, right now, is in a sweet spot. It is F-ing great! 95

Since Kara and I joined Ridge last year, I’ve probably visited the winery about 20 times (Yikes!), and I am always surprised by all the neat little gems that show up every time…

But this post isn’t about that.

After we got home, I took our dog, Angel, for a walk…

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What’s up? Dog.

While on our walk, Angel stepped on a bee.

My dog is a bad ass. She is maybe 15 pounds, and talks trash to the local pit bulls whenever she sees ’em. But, when she stepped on that bee, I’ve never seen her in more pain… Ever. She began to limp and cry, and would not stop.

Kara and I took her to the vet to get her paw checked out. They gave her a couple of shots to ease the swelling and pain, and by bedtime she was back to her bad ass ways…

But this post isn’t about that.

When I woke up this morning, I saw that my ol’ buddy, Nick TheDrummer, had created the following logo for me and posted it to my Facebook page

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Stay Rad Wine Blog: The Logo

It’s pretty cool, huh?

But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about the kindness of people…

It’s about my wife coming on wine adventures with me.

It’s about my aunt and uncle inviting us to lunch, treating us to a wine tasting, and buying us a bottle of wine… Just because.

It’s about the people at Ridge Vineyards always making fantastic wine, and bringing a great wine tasting experience every single time. I would continue to love their wine even if they were jerk faces, but they are far from it… And that’s just keen.

It’s about my dog, showing me nothing but love… Always.

It’s about perfect strangers showing nothing but love for my dog, even when she tries to bite their faces off.

It’s about Nick taking the time to make a logo for me just because he thought I would like it.

It’s about people taking the time to read what I have to say just because…

It’s about how much I love and appreciate you all.

That’s what this post is about.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 49: Does Meric Have Merit?

June 19, 2012

In this episode Jeff tries another Cru Bourgeois from 2009, and looks for advice on his upcoming trip to Japan.

Wine Tasted:

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Chateau Meric 2009 Medoc

Pairing:

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Grilled Chili Lime Spiced Chicken and Corn with a Clean Green Salad topped with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

I’ve seen the View, and I like what I see.

June 18, 2012

Creekview Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery in San Martin, California.  I’ve been aware of their wines for a while.  They usually participate in local wine events, and I’ve even been to their tasting room in Downtown San Jose.

However…

I’ve never been to their actual winery.

They, like many Santa Clara Valley wineries that are located in residential neighborhoods, are only open for tasting on the third weekend of each month.

This past Saturday, Kara and I realized that they were open (thanks to our friend Barrel Bill), so we headed on over to the winery…

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Creekview Vineyards Winery / House

The winery is also the home of the owners, Greg and Teri Peterson.

After parking on the street, we followed the signs to the back of their house.

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This way…

As we walked up, we were greeted immediately by Teri and Greg, and were poured a taste of sparkling white wine…

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What a way to start the day.

After our first glass, the hits just kept on coming…

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Creekview 2010 Chardonnay

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Creekview 2010 VCR Merlot

While enjoying the Merlot, I took a peek around their backyard, which they have set up perfectly for wine club events…

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Creekview’s Kitchen, complete with a pizza oven.

When you’re there, it’s almost impossible to recognize any evidence that their house is a fully functioning winemaking facility…

Until you take a look beyond their outdoor kitchen…

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Yup… They make wine here.

Back to the wine…

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Creekview 2009 Melodious is their Bordeaux Blend.

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Creekview 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Creekview 2009 Old Vine Mourvedre

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Creekview 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel

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Creekview 2009 Syrah

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Creekview 2008 Zinfandel

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Creekview 2007 Late Harvest Zinfandel

I’ve gotta say that all these wines were really good.

Kara and I picked up a bottle of the 2008 Zinfandel.  It’s probably the best Santa Clara Valley Zin I’ve ever tasted.  Where many tend to be overly ripe and hot on the palate, this one is very reserved.

Do yourself a favor the next time you find yourself free on the third weekend of the month…

Head on down to the Santa Clara Valley and hit up some of the smaller tasting rooms.

You’ll be glad you did.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Rosemary, Spinach, and Walnut Pesto: A Recipe By Request

June 16, 2012

The other day, the fine folks at Rodney Strong Vineyards came across my post in which I paired their 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet with Kara’s Rosemary, Spinach, and Walnut Pesto Pasta and Crusty Bread…

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Yum!

After sharing the post on their Facebook page, there was quite a response from the fans of Rodney Strong.

They wanted the recipe.

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Screen grab from my iPhone. Looks like I forgot to charge it last night.

Who am I to deny such a devoted fan base?

Keep in mind that this dish was whipped up on the spot after a few glasses of wine, but this is pretty accurate (as far as we remember).

So…

Ladies and gentlemen…

Kara’s Rosemary, Spinach, and Walnut Pesto:

Get out a big pot of water and bring to a boil.  Salt that water, and add in your favorite dry pasta (or fresh, if you’re a baller).  Cook according to instructions.

While the pasta is doing its thang, get out your food processor.  Throw in a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, two coarsely chopped cloves of garlic, a handful of chopped walnuts.  Get yourself 5 big twigs of fresh rosemary from your garden, the grocery store, or your neighbors hedge and pull the leaves off of the stems by pulling against the grain.  Scoop up all that rosemary and toss it in the food processor as well.  Drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and top it off with fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt.  Put on the lid, and pulse the food processor until the pesto reaches the consistency that you desire.  If it’s too chunky, you can add more olive oil or even a bit of water.  Be sure to taste the pesto along the way, and add more salt or pepper if needed.

Once your pesto is looking, feeling, and tasting right, pour half of the pesto into a large serving bowl.  Once the pasta is ready, drain it, and dump it over the pesto in the serving bowl.  Scoop the rest of your pesto over the top of the pasta, and mix everything up until the pasta is evenly coated with pesto.

Serve in a soup bowl, and garnish with a big slice of warm crusty bread.

Eat it with a fork.

Though it paired very nicely with the big tobacco flavors of the Rodney Strong 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I could also see this working well with a minty Rioja or a well-balanced Merlot.

Enjoy.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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