Falcor Winery, just over the Mayacamus Mountains in Napa Valley, has produced exceptional wine for more than 15 years. Falcor is owned by two Charleston lawyers.
Their stable of products, which include a ripe and rich chardonnay and deep and full-bodied reds such as zinfandel, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, Sangiovese and syrah, are sourced from some of the best vineyards in Napa and other highly sought after California appellations. I am particularly fond of their Bordeaux-like blend called Bijou. Well, another blended wine from Falcor has caught my eye ... er, palate recently.
2006 Falcor Bilancia ($36): A blend of 57 percent zinfandel, 33 percent petit sirah, 7 percent charbono, 2 percent carignan and 1 percent valdiguie, Bilancia is a textbook example of why vintners choose to blend. Round and rich flavors of dark fruits, mocha and spice are balanced by bright fruit and good acidity. I would pair this wine with braised short ribs rubbed with garlic and black pepper and cooked in a bath of tomato sauce and red wine.
2008 Aia Vecchia Lagone ($19): What a find! This beauty from Bolgheri near the coast in Tuscany is Italy's version of Bordeaux with a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and Sangiovese. Rich and velvety with ripe black cherry and cola flavors, the Lagone can be consumed now and will continue to benefit from aging for several years to come. I enjoyed this baby with eggplant stacked and layered on the grill with garden tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.
2010 Noble House Sweet Red ($10): Some of us take wine seriously -- too seriously. Noble House Sweet Red, made from dorfelder (a funny name, don't you think?), will put a smile on your face! And it's really not very sweet, but it is full of great cherry and red fruit flavors. It's also a surprisingly good accompaniment to food. Serve it slightly chilled and enjoy it as an aperitif on the porch or at the picnic table with a burger or some pulled pork barbecue.
For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's Vines & Vittles blog at thegazz.com.