Wines to brighten up the cold, dark days of winter

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For Digital First Media

We’re suddenly in the clutches of the winter doldrums and the specter of bleak, cold, short dark days ahead. It always inspires me to bury my nose deep into a Dylan Thomas poem and read about his coal black days in Wales.
Sad times indeed.
On the bright side, there are only about four months until the warm weather arrives. In other words, it’s a wretched time of year. So, now might be a good time to catch up on your wine prepping. After all, a snowy night, a glass of wine and an enlightening book could be a decent way to pass the evening hours with the sound of shovels scooping up snow outside our front door (if we’re fortunate enough to have enterprising kids in the neighborhood).
So, pop into your closest wine store, find out who the in-store wine maven is and say to them: “Look, I’m facing 4 months of boredom and want to be excited. I need to be taken on a journey of discovery. Each week I’ll be in with $10 and I want to leave with (a) an amazing bottle of wine and (b) change out of my $10 bill….Oh, and Phillip Silverstone sent me!” There’s no advantage to you when the state the last part but it gives me some street cred! And if you want a recommendation for two of the most exciting wines to carry you through the winter, I’ve got a couple of real winners for you.
Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Paso Robles (PA Code: 3246 $15.99). The Hope Family selection of wines includes this range dedicated to the one-room schoolhouse that serves as it’s namesake. The wines date back to my early years in the wine world, one year after I arrived in this region. In 1978, the Hope Family took a chance on planting a vineyard in Paso Robles, Calif., the region that ultimately became Liberty School’s home. The label is simple and clean and tells the story at a glance. Liberty School and I go back a long way together, or I should clarify that statement by saying their wines have been savored by me during my entire wine career. The wine is a heavenly rich, dark color and everything sumptuous about Cabernet Sauvignon is presented by this elixir. Dark berry taste with unmistakable cigar box/cedar infused flavors. The always welcome oakiness and an overflowing basket of fruits filling your mouth. It’s produced in one of the greatest Left Coast wine regions, from California winemaking royalty and it sells in Pennsylvania for under $16. Unbelievable.
Argentina is just as important to our south as Paso Robles is to our west. And Andrea Marchiori, Luis Barraud and Paul Hobbs are among the upper echelon of inspired wine world visionaries who focused on the Malbec grape as the hero for their range of wines, by way of some winemaking experience in California. And that’s why I am recommending their “baby” Viña Cobos for your chilly months.
Viña Cobos Malbec 2014 (PA Code: 5121 $17.99 and goes on sale several times a year for $15.99) Not quite as intensely dark as the Liberty School Cabernet, this wine displays a bright and happy disposition. Once again we have those luscious dark berries we love in our red wines with a trace of chocolate and tobacco notes. The flavor fills your mouth with a delicious, fullness encouraging a second glass. Spectacular value for money and I’d say the same thing if it was $10 more expensive. You should invest in a case of this wine at least. Cheers!

Phillip Silverstone is shown with Miami fashion designer Julian Chang, a guest on his TuneIn Radio show next week.  Photo by Linda Silverstone

Phillip Silverstone is shown with Miami fashion designer Julian Chang, a guest on his TuneIn Radio show next week.
Photo by Linda Silverstone

Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “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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