I love a nice red with a twang.

Once my pallette matured, so did my tastes in beverages.

If you’re drinking Now, I don’t mean to criticize those sweet, light, white wine drinkers. But really, I can’t take them seriously. I mean, I love a good, cold Pino Grigio on a summer’s night; and an oaky Chardonnay can fit the bill with some dishes. But I must admit, I did giggle under my breath at the Philly Flower Show’s wine sampling booth. I wasn’t giggling at the wine selection or servers, mind you. I giggled at the middle-aged women who actually said, “I don’t like warm wine. I like sweet wine. I like my wine cold.” And then, they actually stood there and sniffed something finer, twirled it around the glass and sipped it.

Now, I’m a nice person—really I am. Maybe what I felt for these women was sympathy. They don’t know the joys of combining flavors—-melding the nuances of flavors, spices, hints of herbs, chocolate, smoke, apples, berries, tobacco with well-orchestrated dishes. It’s hard to describe, but once you’ve had a good pairing of a fine wine with just the right meal, well, the pleasure is right up there with other earthly delights.

Just experiment a little. Try a good Red Zinfandel, Malbec, Rioja or if you have the guts—-Cabernet. Someday, when you’re in the mood to whip up a nice dish, do a google for the best wines with chicken, seafood, pork or lamb. Then, head on out to the liquor store. If you’re in a state other than PA, you can ask an owner or wine connosieur for advice. If you’re in PA, I’d go to the Wine Spectator website and see what you can find—because God knows what a state store will offer you.

The other option is to test the waters in a fine restaurant. If there is a wine steward or award-winning wine list, ask what might go well with your meal of choice. Believe me, once you catch the ‘pairing’ bug, you’ll be hooked.

So, here are a few to try, if you can find them. If you live in NJ, you’re in luck. If you live in PA, good luck. They’re all CA girls—-all in varying price points.

Pricey: (For a special occasion) Silver Oak, Opus One, Jordan, Cakebread

Moderate: Annabella, Marietta Cellars, Grayson Cellars, Merryvale, Silverado

Inexpensive: A to Z,