Starting Off My Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations with a Dry Rosé

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year.  There are so many incredible dishes and wonderful flavors but it makes it hard to serve just one wine.  I try to serve a few different wines to bring out the flavors in each dish.  One of my favorite wines to serve with turkey is a dry rosé.  The rosé (ideally with notes of cranberries or cherries) will complement the turkey as well as the dishes that accompany it.  Frederick Wildman was kind enough to send me a bottle of Michel Torino Malbec Rosé and it is definitely a nice pairing with turkey.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé 2011 is 100% Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It retails for $13 and for more information see

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé pours a bright strawberry color in the glass.  The nose is very fragrant with aromas of melon, cherries, and a hint of rosemary.  The palate is packed with fruit flavors including notes of cherry and strawberry.  The finish is dry and spicy with lingering white pepper.  Light, refreshing, and food-friendly…a really nice match for your turkey and cranberries!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- This dry rosé pairs well with turkey, cranberries, or a salad with pomegranates, candied nuts, and goat cheese (one of my favorite Thanksgiving salads)

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

Mini-Review- Rigal “The Original” Malbec 2010

Malbec from France?  Well, actually Malbec originates from France (not from Argentina as many think) and has traditionally been blended with other varietals.  Recently, it seems as though I have been seeing a few 100% Malbec wines from France on the shelves of local wine stores.  Over the weekend I uncorked a bottle of Rigal “The Original” Malbec 2010.  After the first sip, I realized that it was remarkably different from most of the Argentinean Malbec I have tried. 

The wine is much lighter and more elegant than the Malbec generally produced in Argentina.  An overall earthy palate with tastes of raspberries, strawberries, plums, and a hint of spice.  A straight-forward, easy sipping wine.  I would suggest chilling slightly before pouring and keeping an open mind because this is not the Malbec you were probably expecting!  (B-, $10, 13%)

A Perfectly Paired Wine Lunch Hosted by Santa Julia Winery

This week I had the incredible opportunity to enjoy a wonderful lunch put on by Santa Julia Winery.  If you read my blog, you probably have noticed a few entries featuring Santa Julia’s wines.  They are one of my absolute favorite lines of wine priced under $20.

The lunch was held at the beautiful Rivera restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.  When we arrived (I was joined by my husband Brandon), we were greeted by Julia Zuccardi, the namesake of Santa Julia, who flew in from Argentina along with the chef from the winery’s restaurant, Ana Rodriguez Armisen.  We were taken on a journey through Santa Julia’s wines and each was perfectly paired with a delicious Argentinean dish prepared by Chef Ana and the staff of Rivera.

During the appetizer reception, Chef Ana gave us a demonstration of how to make her signature Chimichurri sauce.  We were also served a tasting of their estate grown olive oils and meat empanadas.

One of the stand out wines served with the appetizers was the Santa Julia Brut Rosé NV.  It is light with notes of strawberries and cherries and is super food-friendly.  For only $13, it is a perfect apéritif.  We were also served Organica Chardonnay (review here and the [+] Malbec…all of which I enjoyed.

We were then seated and served a first course featuring a shrimp and watermelon mojito salad paired with Santa Julia [+] Torrontes.  You can find this review on my blog at  Torrontes is fast becoming a staple in my home and Santa Julia’s is one the best you will find for the price.

Our main course was a grilled lamb with crispy smashed potatoes, a malbec reduction, and a warming salsa criolla. 

The course was delicious and it was also paired with my favorite wine from the Santa Julia line; Santa Julia Malbec Reserva 2010.  The wine is rich with layers of ripe, dark fruit, tobacco, and vanilla.  It paired nicely with the lamb and is an incredible value for $12.

The final course of the day was a rich chocolate torte with drunken pineapple.  The torte was paired with Santa Julia Tardio 2009 (a late harvest Torrontes) which honestly exceeded my expectations.  The perfectly balanced dessert wine has an aromatic nose with notes of citrus and peach and tastes of pear, honey, and pineapple.  A nice dose of acidity elevates the wine in the finish.

Everything about our lunch was lovely.  I had great conversation with both Julia and Ana and learned a lot about the family values and sustainable farming practices that have come to make Santa Julia so successful.  I also was reminded with each course how wonderful and well-priced each of Santa Julia’s wines are.  I definitely recommend that you give at least one or two of their wines a try.  They can be found at Whole Foods and you can also get more information at  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

*This experience was provided by Santa Julia Winery, Winesellers Ltd, and Folsom and Associates.  The opinions contained are my own.

An Incredible Value From Doña Paula – 2009 Los Cardos Malbec

As I cruised into my favorite wine store this week (Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa if you happen to be near by), I noticed a display for their wine of the month.  I always try to grab a bottle of what they are offering because they usually feature a great find.  This month’s Malbec from Doña Paula is definitely no exception!

About the Wine- From the Winery

Doña Paula 2009 Los Cardos Malbec is 100% Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It has 14% alcohol and retails for around $7-9.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Los Cardos pours a dark ruby in the glass.  The fragrant nose has notes of blackberries, vanilla, tobacco, and spice.  The palate is full of juicy blackberries and dark cherries with earthy, ripe tannins.  Spicy, black pepper lingers in the finish along with a nice dose of acidity.  I am really impressed with what this wine delivers for the price…one of the best values I have found in a while.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pairs perfectly with BBQ beef ribs, a juicy burger, or dark chocolate.