Wine Expert Tony Goitia Picks UNLVino’s Seven Not-to-Miss Wines


Tony Goitia | Photo by Jon Estrada

This is my 31st UNLVino (, but I still peruse the event program in advance to see what wines I haven’t tasted in a while (or have never tasted). Here’s my must-sip list for the Grand Tasting, April 18 at Paris Las Vegas.

Booth 9: Educated Guess Merlot

You might not guess it, but this Napa merlot has a significant amount of cabernet in it to impart some additional structure. It was partially barrel fermented, adding complexity, texture and weight, making it a merlot for cab lovers.

Booth 10: Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s hard to beat a great Napa cab for a well-rounded, but full-bodied wine. This wine just explodes with black cherry and cassis notes. Critic James Laube gave it 92 points saying, “Drink now through 2024,” so you have nine more years to try it at its peak.

Booth 19: Frescobaldi “Nipozzano” Chianti Riserva Rufina

So it takes two full minutes to ask for it by name, but once you do, you’re in for a treat. This is definitely Old World wine: barnyard on the nose, but also with layers of black cherry and chocolate.

Booth 22: Hess Select Treo

A bit of an unusual blend—36 percent syrah, 35 percent petite sirah, 25 percent merlot and 4 percent cabernet sauvignon—but each varietal adds a specific flavor profile to the finished product. Remove one from the blend, and it just isn’t the same, and just not as good.

Booth 36: Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

I’m not a fan of those big, buttery, over-oaked chards. But this wine has it all: beautiful gold color, citrus on the nose, good minerality and acidity, with a very nice finish. If you like chardonnay, you’ll like this one.

Booth 29: Ca’ Marcanda Promis

Pronounced “proh-MEEES,” this wine is from famous Italian producer Angelo Gaja (“guy-uh”). It’s a dry but delicious and very drinkable blend of merlot, syrah and sangiovese. Many of Gaja’s wines are expensive, but this is affordable—which is great because once you’ve tasted it, you’ll want to buy a bottle or three.

Booth 2: Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port

Founded in 1815 by Robert Cockburn (pronounced “CO-burn”), this port is composed mainly of Touriga Nacional grapes. It’s concentrated, sweet and medium-bodied with a fruity finish. Drink from a white wine glass. If you use a port or cordial glass, you won’t get the benefit of the wine’s aromas, and that is what port is all about!


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