Getting through the long & dark days of winter is reason enough to celebrate! A fine red wine is a year-round pleasure so why not toast the start of spring with a bold sip? My five elegant picks from Italy, California, France, and Chile are absolutely worth splurging on. Go ahead and treat yourself!
Michele Chiarlo "Tortoniano" Barolo 2012 ($54.99)
Silky and sultry, Tortoniano is more flirty and fruit-forward than many young-ish Barolos. Michele Chiarlo cleverly thins the Nebbiolo grape clusters and harvests them on the later side so that the fruit attains a higher concentration of flavors. This freshness and juiciness melds beautifully with hints of savory spice and herbs. A refreshingly approachable yet utterly elegant Barolo with no rough edges and a long & luscious finish. Another fine example of why Michele Chiarlo is one of Piedmont's most acclaimed winemakers.
Westwood Estate Mourvedre 2015 ($58)
Widely used as a blending grape in France, marvelous Mourvedre does not have to share the spotlight in this voluptuous and velvety red from Westwood. If you like your reds with a bit of drama, this big beauty's flavors of deep dark fruit with sassy hints of chocolate is sure to captivate you.
Guigal Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde 2013 ($85)
Côte Rôtie, France
Opposites attract and connect beautifully in this earthy & elegant blend of brooding Syrah with a kiss of flirty Viognier. Complex but not convoluted, this superb red wine entices with dark fruit and dashes of zesty spice -- it shows why Guigal is synonymous with the wines of Côte Rotie in the northernmost region of southern France's Rhone Valley.
Casisano Brunello di Montalcino 2012 ($60)
This sleek and sophisticated Brunello di Montalcino balances freshness with depth and complexity. Quietly sexy, each silky and voluptuous sip tells a story. This is one of those wines that makes everything seem right in the world.
Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2015 ($25)
Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile
For years Carmenere was mistaken for Merlot, but this rich and spicy wine really can't be confused with anything else. A sexy and elegant expression of Chile's iconic Carmenere, this vino has mucho va va voom! Bold flavors of juicy plum, black currants, and dark chocolate are balanced by taut tannins and vibrant acidity. This wine tastes like a splurge but is so affordably priced.