Super Summer Wines


I recently hosted a “Wine-tertainment” event and for this particular soiree I featured wines brought to market by Constellation Brands. This was a stunning selection and perfectly suited to the Hazy, Hot and Humid days we are now experiencing here in the Philadelphia region. Find these wines and be amazed. The first wines came from The Prisoner Wine Company. Winemaker Jennifer Beloz and her team work with a family of growers to source a diverse variety of grapes from premier vineyards throughout California. The resulting wines are interesting blends of distinct quality and character.







Blindfold California White Wine 2013 (Approx: $30)

This is a dynamic white wine blending every grape we’ve ever had a “crush” on: Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Semillon.  If you enjoy the white wines of the Rhone this wine is a modern spin on the flavours you’re familiar with. The perfume from your glass will immediately remind you of a fruit bowl of summer treasures from peaches and oranges to limes and honeydew melons. The maturation of the wine in oak barrels adds so much more character to the blend that you have a creamy, honeyed, nutty flavour which is ripe and refreshing and deliciously seductive


Thorn Merlot 2013 Napa Valley (Approx: $40)

Small, premium vineyard lots of Merlot, were used to create Thorn. The Merlot was blended with Syrah and Malbec to add more structure and depth of personality. There’s so much going on with both the perfume and the taste of this wine, helped along by its aging in wood. The fragrance drifting from glass to nose has the dark berries you would expect but with a hint of cappuccino. And the taste has a unique flavour of prunes and plums and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts (which I’ve adored since childhood). The blend of grapes is 77% Merlot; 23% Malbec and Syrah.


THE PRISONER Red Wine 2014 Napa Valley (Approx: $45)

In 2003 The Prisoner was launched and lead to the resurgence of blends incorporating Zinfandel with the unlikely “mix” of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Charbono. What you might call the “A-Lister” grapes blend. Once again we have the rich, dark, plummy fruits both in the wine’s fragrance and following through to its taste. The Cabernet gives a distinct hint of chocolate to the flavor mix. A combination of different oaks in the aging process adds incredible depth and flavour and personality to this remarkable wine.


Saldo Zinfandel 2014 Northern California (Approx $22)

“Saldo” is of Latin origin referring to “from here and there” or in this case, the wine represents Zinfandel from vineyards across Northern California. A rich, deep red colour and a perfume of all of those dark berries I enjoy in my morning jam. The wine fills your mouth with a bucket load of breakfast berries and a drizzling of Cadbury’s chocolate. Clearly aged in wood. The blend responsible for this elixir is 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah from vineyards located in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lodi and Amador. Not fond of the label but who cares when the wine is so brilliant!


SAVED Magic Maker Rosé 2014 California (Approx $18)

If you are planning on a pink wine this summer…look no further. THIS is the one! “SAVED is a collaboration between two artists who come together to share 
in each other’s craft. Their mission is creating fearless wine blends with singular personalities and powerful flavors from varietals both well-loved & rare, sourced from the best sub-appellations across California. Scott Campbell is a contemporary artist, inspired by the enduring symbolism that wine brings to our tables. Clay Brock is a second-generation winemaker who excels at crafting California varietal wine blends. SAVED represents the freedom and sanctuary you get by committing fully to your passions”.  The winery wrote that-I’m not an inspired writer. The grapes in this blend are awesome and most definitely my favourites: Pinot Noir; Grenache; Cabernet Franc; Orange Muscat and Sangiovese . Yum Yum!!! They were picked in vineyards in Monterey; Santa Maria Valley and Paso Robles. Each vineyard’s bounty is handled and blended separately to maintain delicate fruit balance. And please don’t confuse sweet and fruity. This wine is bone dry but with enough fruit to satisfy anybody who enjoys a “sweeter” rosé. The two are often confused. The flavour is a shopping basket of summer fruits and the wine is crisp and refreshing and ideal to quaff while enjoying watching somebody else mowing the lawn.


CUTTINGS Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 California (Approx: $50)

This wine combines the intensity and depth of Cabernet Sauvignon with the structure and richness of Petite Sirah and Syrah. A small amount of Zinfandel adds a nice layer of complexity, while encompassing a signature, vibrant spiciness. 80% of this wine is made from the Cabernet and I enjoy the flirtation in my mouth with the 20% blend of the other 3 grapes. There are ripe summer berries edging the rich dark Cabernet flavours with a hint of coffee beans. And the wine was aged for 18 months in oak barrels which gives so much intensity to the nectar in the glass it’s almost a magical experience on a starry summer night.


Ravenswood Besieged 2014 SONOMA COUNTY (Approx $18)

According to the winery: “Under a threatening sky, BESIEGED by rain clouds, lightning glinting in the hills, winemaker Joel Peterson worked alone to collect grapes destined
 for one of his debut wines. As he worked, ravens laughed from above, but instead of being harbingers of doom, they brought him good fortune, becoming the totem for his winery”.  Well, I for one, congratulate the winery for employing somebody who was clearly inspired by Wordsworth or Keats, when writing that beautiful introduction to the wine. I didn’t know if I wanted to drink it or applaud it. However, I deferred to my better judgement and drank it. The grapes used for this blend are: Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, and Barbera. Plenty of bang for your buck in this beauty. Its rich, dark flavours have a silkiness and  softness on the palate. The winemaker selected grapes from some of the best vineyard sites in the region and I urge you to besiege your local wine store to buy this stunner.


Franciscan Equilibrium White 2014 Napa Valley
 (Approx $23)

The winemaker at Franciscan also had a moment of poetic inspiration when writing: “The name Equilibrium means: to come together in a state of harmonious balance.” Which sounds like any family in a Hallmark television show! But, mon dieu! This blend of 72% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Chardonnay and 11% Muscat mostly fermented in stainless steel which maintains the integrity of the grapes’ own personality and freshness, is a fantastic summer sipper. Crisp and clean (thanks to the stainless steel) with a taste of a herbaceous border, Bartlett pears and beautifully ripened summer fruits picked straight from the tree in your garden…and the grapefruit flavours we adore from Sauvignon Blanc…I love this wine so much… I want to have its baby!


Blindfold Front Label Cuttings 2013 Front Label The Prisoner Front Label




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