Midnight Red and Berry Vodka for Your Haunted House

bottle of Ménage à Trois Midnight Red and a bottle of Ménage à TroisBerry vodkaHappy Halloween!

Looking for that something special to serve at your Haunted House Party? We've unearthed these two devilish delights to get your spirits lifted.

2013 Ménage à Trois MIDNIGHT Dark Red Blend California $14.99

A deeply fruity, silky, smooth and ripe, almost port-like red wine.

Ménage à Trois Berry Vodka (750ml) $29.99

I'll get you my pretty, with this wickedly delicious delicately flavored raspberry magic potion.

Available at fine food and grocery stores nationwide.


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Pere Ventura Cava - A Beautiful Sparkling Wine for $15

Sparkling glass of Pere Ventura CavaSimilar to Champagne, Indigenous to Spain

Cava is the popular and very well-priced Spanish sparkling wine which is similar to Champagne in production and aging but made with indigenous grapes. The most noble grape, Xarello (say "Cha - reh- lo") is the bones, or the structure, while Macabeo is the meat or flesh. Parellada comes into the mix, as well as the four allowed red grapes for Rosé production - Monastrell, Garnacha, Pinot Noir and Trepat.



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Sicily's Donnafugata Winery

high quality wine - historically rich indigenous grape varieties

Donnafugata Winerey banner

Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo, with their daughter Jose and son Antonio, launched Donnafugata Winery in 1983 at the family's historic cellars in Marsala and at their Contessa Entellina vineyards in the heart of western Sicily.

La Famiglia Rallo celebra 25 anniversarrio Vigna di Gabri

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Fall for Fritz Willi Riesling

Bottle of Fritz Willis Riesling2012 Fritz Willi Riesling Qualitatswein 

Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and even Pinot Noir are feel good wines. Easy to say. Easy to remember. Gewurztraminer not so much. Similarly, BV, Yellow-Tail and "Two-Buck Chuck" are short, simple, and memorable. So how does one enter the profitable US market if one's brand name is "Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium"?

Simple! Rebrand to a fictional wine ambassador named "Fritz Willi".

The label is clean, the wine inside is high quality, steep-slope German Riesling, and the price is right.

The 2012 Fritz Willi Riesling Qualitatswein Germany $16.99 is off-dry, perfect for spicy, exotic and warming fall dishes such as Indian and Thai curries, Asian noodles, or Satay, and is widely available across the US.

Visit Schmitt Sohne Wines to learn where you can get this wine, near you.

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Mondavi Launches Animo - A New Napa Valley Mountain Cabernet

Bottle of 2010 Michael Mondavi Animo Cabernet2010 Animo Napa Valley Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon - $85

Named after the Italian word for spirit, or heart, Animo is a new project from Michael Mondavi and his family. The 2010 Animo Napa Valley Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. A sleek, fruit forward and softly tannic wine, with notes of blackberry, blueberry, mocha, coffee bean and smoke.

The vineyard is located on a 15-acre rocky Atlas Peak hillside at between 1,270 and 1,350 feet. In the past, the family sold this fruit to Opus One.

The wine is limited but available for a short time from Noble Merchants.

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grape goddess® recommends: Two for Tuesday - Greek White & Lodi Zin

Bottle of 2012 Domaine Porto Carras Malgouzia, Regional Wine of Sithonia 2012 Domaine Porto Carras Malagouzia

Tonight, try something new. Check out the 2012 Domaine Porto Carras Malagouzia, Regional Wine of Sithonia, $14.95, a rich, dry, aromatic white wine from Greece. Domaine Porto Carras, one of Greece's most significant and globally-recognized wineries, saved this unique grape from extinction in the 1980's and '90's. It is round and silky with notes of tangerine, lemon, lime, apricot, bay leaf, dried oregano, white rose petal and oyster shell, and would be delicious with a dish of crispy fried fish. It is available here, or at a store near you.

2011 Borra Vineyards HERITAGE Field Blend Red Lodi

Owner Steve Borra's grandfather came to Lodi from Italy. Winemaker Marcus Niggli came to Lodi from Switzerland. With this European influence and vision, Borra Vineyards makes some of the most unique wines in California. I love the 2011 Borra Vineyards HERITAGE Field Blend Red Lodi $25. A blend of Barbera, Carignane, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel, it is elegant, understated, complex and just perfect in body for a late summer/early fall evening. Try this wine with grilled Tri-Tip with side of wild mushroom risotto.  

Label on a bottle of Borra Vineyards Heritage Field Blend Red, from Lodia, California

available from the Borra Vineyards winery

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Affordable, Festive Sparkling Wine and Champagne

With effervescence and finesse, delicacy and richness, Champagnes and sparkling wines are easy to love. One of the reasons is that they are rarely more than 11.5-12% alcohol. Still whites and reds hover around 14%, and where there is oak-aging involved, headaches often follow. Also, acid levels in sparkling wines are quite high, helping to digest dinner hopefully long before bedtime. As Madame de Pompadour said, “Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.

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Umbrian Essence 2014 and Sagrantino Wines

sagrantino grapes on the vineUmbrian Essence - Strada del Sagrantino

For lovers of Umbrian wines, the Sagrantino Umbrian Essence event, held on June 10th at San Francisco’s The Press Club, was a rare treat. Eight producers were on hand to showcase their wines, with an emphasis on the star of the region, Sagrantino di Montefalco.

Sagrantino Umbrian Essence event, at The Press Club, San Francisco, June 10, 2014

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planet grape® news: Malibu Coast Becomes an AVA

Map of Malibu Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area)

Malibu Coast Becomes an AVA

The 46 mile long and 8 mile wide Malibu Coast, with glitzy beachfront mansions and celebrity-filled Starbucks, is now an official American Viticultural Area, or American wine appellation. This is ironic in that the area is home to several low profile celebrity rehab facilities. Nonetheless, Malibu is making viticultural history, joining the ranks of high profile AVA’s including California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.

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grape goddess® recommends: Bat Shlomo Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

Bottle of Bat Shlomo Vineyards 2012 Sauvignon BlancBat Shlomo Vineyards

Baron Edmond de Rothschild established the village known as Bat Shlomo, or "Salomon’s Daughter" in honor of his mother Betty Salomon von Rothschild, just above Israel’s Dalia Valley on the southern slopes of Mount Carmel. It was settled by Jewish pioneers in 1889. The Baron brought in France’s top wine experts to school them in the art of growing grapes and making wine. Today, local high tech entrepreneur Elie Wurtman, who stumbled upon the vineyard by accident, is replanting it and creating a winery. He spent six years in Napa Valley, and is sharing techniques learned there including the use of an egg-shaped tank.

The 2012 Bat Shlomo Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Old Vines Israel $30 is soft and powdery with notes of lemon meringue pie, peach, apricot, yellow rose, marjoram and thyme. It is medium-bodied, fresh, and softly textured, with a long, lemony finish. The wine is both Kosher and Kosher Lemehadrin for Passover, but is not Meshuval (boiled or flash-pasteurized).

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