2008 Casa Silva Gran Reserva Carmenere, Chile; $22
This grape was used for blending in Bordeaux, but in South America it produced a delicious stand-alone wine. Starting with a nose full of sweet blueberries, dark chocolate and spice, you can start to understand the complexities of this wine. Once the first sip hits the mouth, the magic begins. Layers of bright-red fruit and macerated cherries give way to deep, earthy notes and a subtle dryness. The finish allows the fruit to dissipate slowly while introducing notes of toffee and oak. The tannins and fruit are balanced very nicely, making this a wine you can drink now or anytime in the next five years. It would be terrific with grilled duck, fried turkey and stuffing, or even barbecue.
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Southern Comfort Tabasco Pepper; $20
Southern Comfort, one of those all-time favorites, offers a new twist, the fiery taste of Tabasco. It's a true balance of sweet and heat. The aromas of roasted peppers and Tabasco fill out the fire side, while sweet caramel and lime zest calm down the sweeter side. This drink is all about balance. The pepper flavors never overpower the flavors of the Southern Comfort, but complement them and linger until the next sip. Once it hits the mouth, the peppery flavor comes alive but is tempered with the softness of honey and sweet citrusy fruit. The finish allows the smoky flavors to linger perfectly. This is a terrific twist on an old favorite. Try it with orange juice, cranberry juice, cola or just chilled on the rocks.
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."