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A value–driven family of wine varietals makes shopping for holiday parties easy — and that’s what you’ll find with the Cupcake Vineyards line.

I’ve written about the Merlot before, but last week tasted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the same producer.

I was especially interested in the Pinot Noir, with a price tag that hovers in the $10–$12 range. Pinot at that price is often tricky, and doesn’t express as well as higher priced competitors. This one performs nicely and delivers the characteristics I like to see in Pinot.

Juice for this wine comes from California’s Central Coast, a region that has a solid reputation for other varietals – and is growing in popularity as a source for Pinot Noir. The unique topography, warm days and cool nights make this exceptional Pinot turf.

Don’t forget to give this wine some air. Even inexpensive red wines benefit from decanting – or at least opening a couple of hours in advance. Right from the bottle, this wine is a bit too “hot” for my taste. The tannins and alcohol are too pronounced. However, I opened mine, decanted for two hours and found a much smoother, more enjoyable wine in my glass.

Tart red cherry is the first aroma you should sense, then count on that flavor, as well as red currants and tangy spices to coat your palate.

It does possess the silky mouthfeel I enjoy in Pinot Noir. I shun those that don’t at least deliver this overwhelmingly unique characteristic.

This wine pairs well with lamb kabobs, smoked sausage, or your favorite mushroom risotto.

The newly released 2009 Chardonnay is soft and creamy with apple, tropical fruits, vanilla and spice. A nine–month oak aging program brought beautiful balance to this Chardonnay without stave–slapping you silly with over oakiness.

Likewise, the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc marries together New Zealand grapes to create an appetite-arousing wine that’s alive with the flavors of Meyer lemons and Key limes.

My recent oyster-on-the-half-shell craving was kicked up a notch when I accompanied a half dozen with a glass of Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc. csA value-driven family of wine varietals make shopping for holiday parties easy - and that's what you'll find with the Cupcake Vineyards line.

I've written about the Merlot before, but last week tasted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the same producer.

I was especially interested in the Pinot Noir - with a price tag that hovers in the $10-$12 range. Pinot at that price is often tricky - and doesn't express as well as higher priced competitors.

This one performs nicely and delivers the characteristics I like to see in Pinot.

Juice for this wine comes from California's Central Coast, a region that has a solid reputation for other varietals - and is growing in popularity as a source for Pinot Noir. The unique topography, warm days and cool nights make this exceptional Pinot turf.

Don't forget to give this wine some air. Even inexpensive red wines benefit from decanting - or at least opening a couple of hours in advance. Right from the bottle, this wine is a bit too "hot" for my taste. The tannins and alcohol are too pronounced. However, I opened mine, decanted for two hours and found a much smoother, more enjoyable wine in my glass.

Tart red cherry is the first aroma you should sense, then count on that flavor, as well as red currants and tangy spices to coat your palate. It does possess the silky mouthfeel I enjoy in Pinot Noir. I shun those that don't at least deliver this overwhelmingly unique characteristic.

This wine pairs well with lamb kabobs, smoked sausage, or your favorite mushroom risotto.

The newly released 2009 Chardonnay is soft and creamy with apple, tropical fruits, vanilla and spice. A nine-month oak aging program brought beautiful balance to this Chardonnay without stave-slapping you silly with over oakiness.

Likewise, the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc marries together New Zealand grapes to create an appetite-arousing wine that's alive with the flavors of Meyer lemons and Key limes. My recent oyster-on-the-half-shell craving was kicked up a notch when I accompanied a half dozen with a glass of Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc.

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About The Author

Tim Rutherford

Tim Rutherford

Bio:
Tim Rutherford grew up in rural Kentucky – then left home to pursue more than three decades as a photojournalist and newsman. A ground-breaking meal in New Orleans in 1979 set him on a path exploring food and wine. Six years ago he changed career paths – now spending his time writing about the people and places... more

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