Let’s take a look at some favorite reds

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It’s week 2 of my holiday wine recommendations and as promised last week — when I listed the whites — this week I’ll share my favorite reds.
I ended last week with a stunning white wine from Macedonia and I’ll begin this week with an equally impressive Macedonian red.
Bovin Winery Merlot Barrique 2009 (approximately $25) is produced from vines planted when the winery began 17 years ago, and the juice is aged in Macedonian oak barrels and then in the bottle. This is one of the most concentrated Merlots I’ve had in years, and the aging period has given the wine dark fruit flavors which are rich and jammy and take on an almost Cabernet character with some notes of chocolate and spiciness.
Bodegas Franco Españolas Rioja Bordon Reserva 2009 (approximately $15)
Oh boy, those Spaniards know how to make nifty nectar. This wine packs a serious punch for the price with all of those red berries we lust after in our reds. I tasted hints of fig and prune and, of course, some plum, which leave a superb aftertaste. If you need to have a marriage proposal I’d say chill this wine for around 7 minutes and have it with ham or turkey … or both.
Finca El Encinal Crianza 2011 (approximately $18) is another gem from Spain. I find it to be a much smoother red wine than many that have come my way recently, with a clean finish but clearly showing the plummy, jammy taste I enjoy in this region’s wines. There is also a drizzling of spicy notes always prominent in quality reds. I would actually serve this wine with some hard cheeses, especially aged Cheddar and even a Gouda aged for at least 4 years.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico (approximately $25) has been a regular guest at my dinner table and that’s because I have a love of Ruffino wines, which, if memory serves, was the first Chianti I ever tasted when the world was young. And, I love well made wines from the Sangiovese grape. A deep ruby color filled with dark berry flavors, this wine has a silky smooth mouth feel with some cedar notes. It truly is in a class of it’s own and it’s the wine world’s version of a Jaguar XJ sedan.
On another note
I have the perfect pre-dinner nibble. Deep River Snacks chips are absolutely delicious and deserve to be included in this seasonal column. They are made in this country, without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. They are also Non-GMO, Certified Gluten-Free, and Nut-Free. I’m a kettle chip junkie and the Rosemary and Oil was spectacularly delicious as was the Sea Salt and Vinegar. The Deep River Snacks Chips & Charity Snack Pack is $24.99 for 12 assorted two ounce bags and you also receive a $10 charity gift card which you can redeem on justgive.org to a charity of your choice.
Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016VFYJAE
Why not have some serious fun after your meal? The fun is called Read Between the Wines! ($34.99) and it’s a very cool and enormously entertaining game which lets you babble on about wine even if you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about (like me!). Essentially, the game helps you along with some fun themes which you apply to your description of the wine … and then your competing imbibers have to pair the description with the person they believe wrote it. This is also my choice for the “best wine gift for 2015.” The recipient can be a wine disciple or a newbie, but as long as they have a great sense of humor and want to have fun visit readbetweenthewines.com.
Happy Thanksgiving and cheers!

Kristi Steinmetz, left, from the Brown Butter Cookie Co., in Cayucos, Calif., is featured in Phillip Silverstone's TuneIn Radio podcast series recorded during his recent trip to California. Photo by Linda Silverstone

Kristi Steinmetz, left, from the Brown Butter Cookie Co., in Cayucos, Calif., is featured in Phillip Silverstone’s TuneIn Radio podcast series recorded during his recent trip to California.
Photo by Linda Silverstone

Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining

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