Someone once told me to view the coming of fall – not as the end of summer-but as the start of something new. I must say, I found this glass-half-full advice interesting for a gal living in the north where the threat of frosty weather is biting at her heels. So new it is and (if you know me) it should come as no surprise that my glass is half full of fantastic flavors of fall. Check out a few of our Cellar Door favorites:

2009 Val de l’Ours Chardonnay, Pays d’Oc, France ($12) While France has strict rules governing their AOC wine regions, the Vin de Pays (country wine) category of wines are fun and festive making them great for a crowd. Just a step above table wines, most bottles of VdP will have the name of the grape right on the front label.

2008 Amancaya, Mendoza, Argentina ($20):A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, Amancaya (a flower in the Andes) is the brainchild of two top-notch wine families; the Rothschilds of France and Nicolas Catena of Argentina. Ripe red fruits, spice and mouth-warming alcohol with medium acidity, the wine is only aged for 12 months in oak (20% new) barrels making it an easy sipper. 

2006 Norman Vineyards Zinfandel The Monster, Paso Robles, Ca ($25): Raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and spice…this Zin is a Monster both in terms of levels or fruit and mouth feel. Full-bodied, full-flavored with ripe, juicy tannins and a good dose of alcohol. Beef short-ribs anyone? Awesome.

2007 Pillar Box Red, Padthaway, South Australia ($12):Black cherry, raspberry, licorice, vanilla, chocolate fill the palate of this full-bodied wine from Australia. A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the wine is chewy and high in alcohol (14.7%) making it a great partner for New York strip or a juicy burger off the grill.

2008 The Chocolate Block, Western Cape, South Africa ($33):A yummy blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsault and Viognier (a white grape), this hand-crafted wine offers rich, ripe flavors…much like chocolate melting in your mouth. The wine was aged in French barrels giving it more than just a hint of spice.

If you are live in the Cleveland area and are interested in tasting with us, visit my site and bookmark the Tasting Schedule. Cheers.