California, Spirit of the Season : Cellar

By: Jorge Ferraez


What could be a greater discovery than finding a wine that can guarantee sustained quality over the different vintages? One that is in the range of $60 and is available nationwide?  The answer is the new Shafer TD-9 blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec) that is absolutely awesome! Elegant, fruity and powerful, with loads of complex aromas ranging from dried berries to olives and dried herbs. It is the kind of wine that I would buy even with my eyes closed. Another one is one that I came to know of recently: Antica, a California Cabernet Sauvignon made by the legendary Antinori winery. It was a great surprise to find it at a relatively good price ($120) in a steakhouse wine list. I have never tried it before and it surprised me; fantastic flavors, structure, and character. 

However, the best experience a wine could bring is when you enjoy it with a special person, someone who shares the love of wine and is aware of what the both of you are drinking and at the same time is an important person in your life. Those magical moments come only a few times in life so cherish them. Recently, while visiting my brother, Raul, and his beautiful, impressive cellar in Mexico City, we opened a bottle of Chateau Beychevelle 1998 that was just fantastic. This wine had a combination of mellow fruit notes and spices, deep body and silky. We spent hours chatting, enjoying and admiring the wine, a true treasured moment. A few days later, I had another “Ahhh!” moment with one of my best friends whom I invited to pick a bottle from my cellar on a Sunday afternoon. He looked at a Joseph Phelps INSIGNIA 1999 and said: “How about this one?”.

The wine was beautiful! With soft tannins, lots of fruit and chocolate hints in a silky and mature structure. “What a treat!”, he said and we finished the bottle talking and analyzing the wine by ourselves. For me, those are the best things that come with being a wine collector. An unforgettable moment for life!

Christmas is just around the corner! If you want to gift wine, here are some great suggested wines that are under $39: Juan Gil Blue Label (Jumilla), Luca Malbec (Mendoza) and Torbreck “The Struie” Shiraz (South Australia). Excellent wines, a great value, delicious fruitiness and constant quality. 




Antinori Family Estate “Antica” 2013

Region: Napa Valley
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $60
Aromas: Berries, cherry
Flavors: Red fruit compote, dark chocolate, minty
Impression: Fragrant and Succulent
Structure: Elegant, Well-Expressed
Drink with: Steak
Why I loved this wine? Ample and impressive, pretty widely available
My Rating: 90 pts.




Joseph Phelps INSIGNIA 1999


Region: Napa Valley
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $250
Aromas: Berries, chocolate, ripe red fruit
Flavors: Licorice, minty and plum
Impression: Silky and Round
Structure: Deep, Powerful
Drink with: Delicate Beef Dish, like a Wellington or Roast Beef
Why I loved this wine? Perfect and sweet tannins
My Rating: 97 pts.




Shafer TD-9 2015 (Premiere Vintage)


Region: Napa Valley
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec
Price: $60
Aromas: Dried Cherry, blueberry and blackberry
Flavors: Cocoa powder, fig and licorice
Impression: Velvety
Structure: Powerful and Elegant
Drink with: a good and juicy steak
Why I loved this wine? Has an impressive complexity
My Rating: 96 pts.