2009 Flipflop Pinot Noir, California; $8
If you are looking for a lighter-bodied pinot for the spring to go with your outdoor grilled meals, then this is your next choice. It starts with aromas of black cherries, cola and earthy notes. The flavors are terrific -- layers of smoky bacon, spice, vanilla and cranberries fill the mouth with each sip. The finish lets the smoky and red fruit notes shine through along with creamy hints of vanilla. It's a terrific wine for the price, especially considering Flipflop is giving back to charity. It has partnered with Soles4Souls to help provide shoes to children in Africa.
99 Blackberries, United States; $18
This schnapps has a nose that lives up to the name, with loads of blackberries and blueberries filling the glass as soon as it's poured. The flavors flow through and linger perfectly, with a touch of sweetness that stays on the finish. This is a 99 proof liqueur, so it has some kick. And there is some heat if you are drinking it straight, so enjoy it chilled. This is perfect in mixed drinks to introduce a little kick and some blackberry flavor. Next time you are making a pina colada, add this and enjoy the new twist.
Lain Bradford is a wine writer and reviewer who has achieved his first level master sommelier certificate and is working toward his Certified Wine Educator degree. He only writes about beverages that are available in South Carolina and Georgia. Follow him on Twitter under the name "winereview."