My typical Monday evening consists of gathering with close friends and trying some affordable drinkers, as in wine. Yes, I think you can drink wine daily. Modern times and commercialism haven’t made this quite possible, but a glass or two an evening, and you’re only looking at a couple bottles a week. It’s not obscene to enjoy your evening and possibly extend some health benefits that other beverages might not at all.

-2016 Matua Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ. Has the typical citrus on the nose and mouthfeel you would normally get. It definitely has a nose and mouthfeel of a clean grapefruit.

-2014 Criterion Pinot Noir from Central Otago, NZ. A clear different taste than your typical Santa Barbara Pinot.

-2013 d’Arenberg “The Custodian” from Mclaren Vale, AUS. An interesting Grenache that should be tried at least once. I thought it was good with the food that accompanied, light fare fried fare, like the fried oysters I had, went very well and neither overpowered the other.

-2013 “The Strapper” by Yalumba GSM Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro from Barossa Valley, AUS. A good drink, although the name got a ton of laughs from the ladies attending!

-2013 Radis Estates’ “Mama Goat” Merlot from Coonawar, South AUS. Still had the typical chocolate note and dark berries I find consistent in many Merlots, without the price tag of Napa or French styles. A good buy.

-2013 Yalumba Shiraz 95%/Viognier 5% from Eden Valley-Triangle Block South AUS. Different and must be tried. Shiraz always a pleasant wine and goes very well with a baked or grilled chicken. I personally like this one with a bowl of navy bean and ham.

-2011 Thorne Clark “Shotfire” “Barossa Quartage” from Angaston, South AUS. A very good wine and a very good price as well.

-2015 Bleasdale “Bremerview” Shiraz from Longhorns Creek, South AUS. One of the young wines of the night, but WOW! This was my favorite! Not the most expensive, but drank like a Bordeaux without waiting for the years to pass before enjoying.

-2014 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, West AUS.

-2014 “Criterion” Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra-Victoria, South AUS.

Both of these Cabernets were great. Cab is still truly a prince when it comes to wine. Both great buys if you want to buy and have with a good red meat, unfortunately, They don’t quite compare with a Napa Valley C/S. Frankly, I think Napa has passed France with Cabernet as well. But that’s just the soil and sun that does what it does. Not all wine can be equal, but I haven’t had a wine I don’t like from any region. Except Temecula… I haven’t found one from there I like yet!

All these wines mentioned can be found in Southern California and were sourced from Total Wine & Spirits in Redondo Beach, CA. You don’t have to go to some amazing hidden space to find gems. They’re in plain sight. Just find some friends to do a small tasting together and enjoy. Cheers!

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