Rosanna Ortiz is a bona fide Rhode Island celeb. She’s the founder of STYLEWEEK Northeast (which just marked it’s 10th anniversary) and RMO Public Relations, and while known for these as well as for producing jaw-dropping fashion shows and creating impactful campaigns like “Mask Up RI,” I know her for one of her other extraordinary talents: her discerning palate. We share an affinity for interesting reds, especially cabernet. (She has a private cabinet at 22 Bowen’s. Respect.)
Initially, I was going to post a list of my wine recs for last minute gifting today and for Christmas as I was debating which cabernet to pair with our prime rib for Christmas Eve dinner, but then I thought, maybe I should ask my favorite trusted source for some new ideas? Naturally, Rosanna outdid herself. So, without further adieu, here are some of her favorites. Take notes. Take screenshots. You’re welcome. And Merry Christmas~
Franciscan Estate Cabernet
Heavy formatted cabernet that drinks like an expensive cab. Plum and black cherry notes with underlying hints of vanilla — but not too much! Perfect with any dish and not too tannin-heavy. One of my favorite “everyday” wines!
Sebastiani North Coast Cabernet
This is one of my all time favorite wines. Sebastiani is the best wine for the money. Rated around 3.9 to 4.2, you can’t get a better wine at the $15 range. If you are looking to be a baller, definitely try the Sebastiani Cherryblock. It hits the wallet at over $100 but you will not regret it.
Bread & Butter Cabernet
This wine surprised me in a very good way! Very good wine under $20! Robust and deep with fruit and vanilla notes. Super delicious chilled (I like all my cabernets around 55-58 degrees).
This cabernet is a heavy, delicious wine with a long finish. Hints of blackberry, red plum and a little spice. I love this wine; it drinks like a $100+ bottle and has the bold, rich taste that a cabernet should always have.
Mt. Veeder Cabernet
This is one of my all time favorite wines and an amazing price point. Blueberry, black cherry and plum notes and a beautiful finish; I can’t say enough about this wine. This is one of the most underrated cabernets in my book. A 93-pointer that will not disappoint.
Freemark Abbey Cabernet
Another one of my favorites. This cab has a chocolate and cherry finish. It’s heavy like the Mt. Veeder but has more bing cherry notes and a sweet oak spice finish. Such a good wine and one of the few where the vintage, in my opinion, doesn’t seen to matter.
This is a delicious wine that doesn’t break the bank. Medium to full bodied profile with hints of hazelnut and chocolate — two of my favorite things in life. I love this wine, it’s super well balanced and has a yummy fruity finish.
A super heavy cab, I love this one. Here’s why: long finish with hints of chocolate and believe it or not, a hint of anise. Partial spicy finish with yummy blackberry and plum notes. You can find this for around $55 in many wine shops in the region.
Mt. Brave Cabernet
THIS WINE. One of my absolute favorites, Mt. Brave is the “big brother” of Mt. Veeder and is a heavy, bold, rich cabernet. The heavier the cab the better, in my opinion! Super fragrant with a long finish. I am obsessed with this wine and will definitely be part of our Christmas dinner.
I was just introduced to this wine this fall and this is beyond delicious. A heavy, full-bodied beauty with fruit forward taste and dark berry and chocolate finish. Super rich, insanely good and I highly recommend. This is new to my portfolio but here to stay.
Ugh, I am obsessed with this wine too. Another one where I feel doesn’t get enough play in the land of the Caymus’ and Prisoners, which sadly I am not a lover of. Cade is a luxury wine with oak and chocolatey notes. You get a little leather and earth in the finish as well which I love. It shares a similar flavor profile of a Heitz (another favorite of min) but less earthy.
BALLER STATUS: Over $150
This is so insanely good, you’ll forget your name after the first taste. Heavy, dense, bold without too much tannin. I sell shoes on Poshmark monthly so I can enjoy this on occasion. You will love this wine and the deep finish full of finesse and a smooth aftertaste.
This cabernet is made from the younger vines of supreme heavy hitters: Harlan Estate, BOND and Promontory. This wine will ruin you. Smooth as can be, elegant finish, not choppy at all. A must try for any occasion.
Diamond Creek, Volcanic Hill
This is super baller-status wine. This is a wine that will make you see Jesus. So smooth; I never thought a cabernet could be this smooth. Diamond Creek is a very small vineyard and is known as being the first “cabernet only” estate vineyard. There are three distinct soil types on the 20-acre vineyard that create some beautiful wines. In addition to Volcanic Hill, Gravelly Meadow and Red Rock Terrace are from the same vineyard. This is a wine that is pricey but you have to have at least once if you can.
Honorable Baller Mentions (because it’s Christmas…)
Kathryn Hall Cabernet: Super rich, super deep sleeper hit wine.
Black Sears Cabernet: Smooth as the Mascot, super delicious and deep. Hard to find, but if you ever find it, try it.