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LIFEST YLE WINE three which I had the distinct pleasure of recently sampling.

red fruit flavors that offer an unshaved cool dude edginess of masculinity

Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 2013 (approximately $35). Once again I have to invoke the name of my co-host on my TuneIn Radio show’s wine feature, Jill Weber. She has convinced me that the flavors and smells of strong plants growing near the vines impart their characteristics on the wine. And in this case, it’s the eucalyptus. Those are essentially Jill’s words and they mirror the words on the wine notes I received. And boy can you detect the eucalyptus in this wine. There are the unmistakable prominent flavors of dark fruits and a refinement and finesse that clearly sets this Zinfandel apart from any competitor’s bottling; a stunning and beautiful Zin indeed.

Ravenswood Pickberry Red Wine 2012 (approximately $50). So here is what makes the unpretentious sounding red wine a complex Fourth of July finale. The wine is a blend of 48% Merlot; 43%Cabernet Sauvignon; 5% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petite Verdot. The wine was aged for just under two years in oak and less than 900 cases were produced. Part of the fun is hunting down a bottle or two of this amazing drink. The wine is dominated by a richly-intense fruitiness heavily betraying the Cabernet’s dominance with all the typical dark berry fruit flavors, with hints of cigar wrapper, cedar and, leather hides. Wow!

Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2013 (approximately $60). Less than 1,600 cases of this wine are made and it’s aged in French oak for just under two years. The wine is huge, so if you like to save your wines for a rainy day, the rainy day you’ll be waiting for can be in 2027. That’s how long this Zin will continue to age in the bottle. I have no problem drinking it now, but there is plenty of aging potential which will smooth some of the edges and make this a spectacular drink to open this time every year over the next 12 years (if you buy an entire case). Classic Zins have a beautiful old spice aftershaviness to them. This Zin is the macho man of wine, with deep passionate

Phillip Silverstone with Sheryl Crowe 56

Winter 2016 |


Finca El Encinal Crianza 2011 (approximately $18) is a 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 its own and it’s the wine world’s version of a Jaguar XJ sedan. Now for some white wines: Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo DOCG (approximately $19.99). This Italian charmer has a spirited and enticing effervescence. My old chum Granny Smith pops out in the flavor with other yummy summer fruits in this Italian charmer; an ideal guest greeter at any soiree regardless of their taste in wine. Two splendid white wines from Stellenbosch, South Africa magically appeared in my glass this past month and

both are from old vines, which produce more character and complexity than the younger plantings. Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 (approximately $24.99). The vines used for this wine from the Stellenbosch region are reaching their half century, and it shows in the juice they produce. The under-hyped Chenin Blanc is full of fresh fruit flavors, but with a full mouth feel from some barrel aging and the magic from those aged vines. A rare gem indeed from this grape variety and an experience you shouldn’t miss. Simonsig Avec Chene Chenin Blanc 2013 (approximately $34.99). These vineyards are 30 years old. Jill Weber would no doubt rave about this wine’s minerality, whereas I am more focused on raisin and pear notes which were so obvious from the first sip. Yes, it’s pricey for a Chenin, but given the age of the vines and the limited number of bottles produced, it’s one heck of a white wine. If you really want to impress your friends, pour them a wine from Macedonia. One of my favorite white wine grapes from the Finger Lakes in New York State is the Rkatsiteli. It originally grew in Georgia, the one that was formerly a Soviet controlled nation. And what a pleasure to discover a version made in Macedonia. Stobi Rkaciteli 2014 (approximately $18) is a wonderful alternative to Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio) as it is a light white wine aged in stainless steel to keep the fresh fruit flavors intact, and, in this case, they have a refreshing-lemony flavor with a very attractive clean and inviting taste, ideal for sipping while mingling prior to dinnertime. Did I mention Sheryl Crow and I are just good friends? Oh … I think this is where I came in. Stay warm. Cheers! n “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (search Phillip Silverstone) or online at: “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining.

NJ Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2016  
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