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    Flavorful Fall Sips

    By Leslie Sbrocco–

    With fall officially here, it’s time to get in the spirit with six libations sure to please.

    Powerfully Stylish

    This set of familiar wine styles is a twist on the combination of elegance swirled with power.

    2018 Peñalolen Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile $20

    Chile is home to growing regions with cool coastal climates, but it’s red hot in terms of wine with high quality to low price ratio. This wine is an ideal example of why Chilean wines are special AND affordable. Hailing from the historic Maipo Valley on the outskirts of Santiago, the Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and fruity but captures appealing herbal undertones. It’s a beautifully designed bottle to look at and to drink.

    2017 brick & mortar “La Perla Vineyard” Brut, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California $58

    From the husband/wife duo of Matt and Alexis Iaconis comes one of the best California bubblies I’ve ever tasted. Made with mountain-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay coming from the La Perla Vineyard at 1,700 feet altitude in Napa, this sparkling vino is classy and full of character. The vineyard’s soil is volcanic, which imparts taut sleekness to the wine, too. Crafted in a dry style, it’s perfect alone or paired with spicy Thai noodles and bacon-wrapped pork loin.

    Hallo-Wine Sips

    With Halloween fast approaching, treat yourself to special bottles from Flora Springs. This iconic Napa Valley winery celebrates every Halloween with flair.

    2019 Flora Springs “Ghost Winery” Malbec, Napa Valley, California $60

    What an ideal wine for Halloween … or any time this fall. Ghost wineries are the few remaining abandoned structures built in Napa Valley more than a century ago. The building depicted on the label is a ghost winery renovated decades ago as a home for the winery’s owner—the Komes family. This red is 100 percent Malbec making it rich and plush. Drink alongside a hearty vegetable soup or beef stew for a wickedly delicious meal.

    2019 All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, California $60

    This collectable bottle changes annually, but for each Halloween-themed label the winery’s General Manager, Nat Komes, collaborates with a variety of artists. Marc Sasso, an artist from New York known for comics, skateboards, and album covers, designed this “witches at a party” label. The sumptuously sleek wine inside is made with Cabernet Franc (the Good Witch of red grape varieties). It showcases dark berry fruit, mineral notes, and a supple texture for a serious wine with a whimsical touch. 

    Spirits and Brew

    It’s easy to get in the fall spirit drinking these frothy and flavorful potions.

    Firestone Walker Brewing Company 805 Original, California $15 (12 pack of cans)

    Firestone Walker is one of my go-to beers when I crave refreshing and bright. Crafted on California’s Central Coast, this lightly hoppy brew with less than 5 percent alcohol is ideal to sip sitting on a beach or hiking the great outdoors. The brewery was born more than 25 years ago when wine industry brothers-in-law, Adam Firestone and David Walker, merged their creative forces. What resulted is a heralded producer making a wide selection of beers spanning the flavor spectrum.

    The London Nº 1 Gin, England $39

    Gin is a four-season spirit. Warm weather calls for its partner tonic but crafting colorful cool-weather cocktails (like my favorite—an orange-hued Negroni) makes gin perfect for fall. This unique, aqua-toned spirit is a return to London distillate history utilizing 12 English-grown botanicals such as juniper berries, orange peel, coriander, almond, and cinnamon, to name a few. The London Nº 1 is a delicate yet earthy spirit that’s a Gin Win. 

    Author, speaker, wine consultant, and television host Leslie Sbrocco is known for her entertaining approach to wine and food. She has won multiple Emmy Awards for her work on PBS, which includes hosting the series “Check, Please! Bay Area” and “100 Days, Drinks, Dishes & Destinations.”

    Published on October 7, 2021