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Robin McBride
March 2, 2023 | Robin McBride

Uncorking Excellence

With Black History Month coming to an end and Black Women's History Month coming in April, we think this is the perfect time to celebrate the contributions of Black women in various fields, including the world of wine. The wine industry has historically been exclusive in a number of ways – as of 2021, 31.7% of sommeliers are women, while only 11.3% are Black. Despite the lack of representation, Black women are making their mark as sommeliers, breaking barriers one glass of wine at a time and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

We had the opportunity to have six talented Black female sommeliers review our wines and provide their suggestions for the best pairings. These women are serving as trailblazers who are paving the way for a more inclusive industry. According to her website, Pour Pairings, Shayna Wells’ mission is to make wine tasting and education “less pretentious, less daunting and more inclusive by making it fun and accessible.” Meanwhile, Natasha Hall started Culture + Vine out of an effort to “make wine approachable and help others feel welcome in a world that can often appear intimidating.” Founder of Vintnoir, Nicole Mallari, is inspired by “Black winemakers and dedicated to celebrating the diversity of wine with all consumers.”


Read on to discover their – and three other talented sommeliers’ – thoughts on our wines. 


Jade Palmer



2019 McBride Sisters Central Coast Red Blend
Vibrant ruby color. Mixed berry jam aromas with a hint of flamed orange peel, black cherries,
and mocha. Medium-bodied on the palate. Easy-drinking blend with soft tannins.

Pairings: BBQ Pork Ribs, Hard Cheeses, and Cheeseburgers.

2020 Black Girl Magic Riesling
Bright lemon color. Orange blossom and honeysuckle lead into aromas of ripe peaches and
honeydew melon. Notes of petrichor and wet river rock. Medium-dry on the palate; the
sweetness accents the ripe tropical fruit notes, such as passionfruit.

Pairings: Spicy Noodles, Butter Chicken, and Samosas.

2020 Black Girl Magic Rosé
Brilliant salmon color. Aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, with a
hint of pineapple juice. Easy and fresh on the palate with abundant flavors of tropical fruit. Slow
rise of acidity on the finish.

Pairings: Watermelon & Feta Salad, Ahi Tuna, or Chicken Street Tacos

2018 Black Girl Magic Merlot
Pale ruby color. Aromas of ripe raspberry, red and black cherries enveloped in vanilla and toast.
Slightly weighty on the palate with fresh tannins and a dark chocolate note on the finish.

Pairings: Pork Tenderloin, Carne Asada, or Pepperoni & Italian Sausage Pizza.

NV Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut
Bright lemon color. Ripe peach, apricot, and pineapple aromas with subtle hints of pear and
canteloupe. Off-dry on the palate with lots of orchard fruit and tropical fruit. A beautiful everyday
sparkling wine, especially for mimosas.

Pairings: Brunch, Prosciutto and Cantaloupe, or Caprese Salad.



Trina Holmes


2019 Black Girl Magic Red Blend
This lovely deep purple wine gives spices on the nose that remind me of baking brown sugar, cinnamon
and allspice. When tasting I served this wine after chilling and returning to room temperature. The wine
tastes jammy and makes me think of baked red fruits and black cherry.

Pairings: Bruchetta, Grilled Greek Lamb and Spinach.

2018 Black Girl Magic Zinfandel
This bright and bold wine gives fragrant floral notes. I smell flowers, berries & plums. To the eye this
wine is deep ruby color. It’s smooth to the taste and instantly takes me back to plums I ate as a kid. There
is a bit of vanilla on the finish of the wine. It’s sweeter than a traditional Zinfandel.

Pairings: Jerk Chicken dish with Rice & Beans

2018 Black Girl Magic Merlot
This wine has a garnet red color and smells like the mocha blend in a coffee shop before you add the
espresso to the cup. There are red cherry notes on the wine but I also got leaves which I’m sure is a
black tea leaf influence.

Pairings: Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate

2021 McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc
This pale-yellow wine smells like apples, pears, apricots and citrus. To my surprise upon the first sip I
immediately tasted tropical fruits like passionfruit, guava and pineapples. This wine is smooth and
complex serve super chilled and return to ice bath in between pours.

Pairings: Grilled Mangos with a sprinkle of Tajin, Fresh Rappahannock Oysters



Shayna Wells



McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rose NV Hawkes Bay

These New Zealand bubbles are an absolute yes! With its beautiful pale salmon color, fruity palate and a hint of residual sugar, this bottle of sparkling rose promises a great time. Notes of strawberries, raspberries, peaches and a little cream balanced with its refreshing acidity makes this sparkler super food friendly or perfect to enjoy on its own.

2021 McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc

Definitely a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in all of the best ways! Elegant and citrusy with ripe grapefruit, pineapple and a hint of green pepper makes this glass perfect for a summer day.

2019 McBride Sisters Central Coast Red Blend
Bold and rich with black cherries, blackberries, plum and cocoa creating the perfect balance of fruit and oak. Gentle tannins and great acidity have me wanting more. This wine would be perfect with a rack of lamb, some meaty pasta or even a semi-sweet chocolate dessert.

2020 McBride Sisters Central Coast Chardonnay

Beautiful on the nose with aromas of honey, green apple, and lemon and even better on the palate. Bright and balanced with apples, citrus, vanilla and slightly creamy with a hint of butter. Not overly oaked with a nice long finish makes it an absolute treat to indulge in.

2018 Black Girl Magic Zinfandel
Cherries, blackberries, plums, vanilla, and baking spice make this fruit-forward Zinfandel easy to drink but very fun! I love a good Zinfandel and this one definitely hit the spot. Beautiful color with a great finish, I’m just missing some barbecue ribs to go with it.



Nicole Mallari



2020 Black Girl Magic Rosé
Black Girl Magic wines were created to draw parallels to culture, beauty, and style and to inspire.
The dry rosé presents a bouquet of strawberry, apple, raspberry and orange blossoms. On the
palate, this fruit-forward wine is well-balanced and bright. A pleasant note of rhubarb emerges in
the background alongside a mouthwatering finish. This vibrant California-style rosé is for
everyone and any occasion.

Pairings: Charcuterie, Veggie Burgers, and Grilled Chicken Salad

2020 Black Girl Magic Riesling
Aromas of apple, pear,nectarine, honey and white flowers invite you into the glass of this 2020 Black Girl Magic riesling. The pale yellow wine is teeming with tropical fruit flavors alongside firm citrus notes for a beautiful balance. This expression of California riesling is light-bodied yet juicy and crisp. It’s giving Magic!

Pairings: Jerk Chicken, Hawaiian Pizza, and Indian Cuisine

2020 McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay
The 2020 McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay, from the notable California Central Coast showcases a wine that is both light and expressive. Aromas of green apple, pineapple, lychee and lemon tart flourish in the wine. The tropical flavors thrive alongside light creaminess and notes of wet stone. The cool and coastal Chardonnay has an intriguing and lasting finish.

Pairings: Lobster Risotto, Mushroom & Brie Flatbread, Baked Chicken

McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rose NV Hawkes Bay
The non-vintage Sparkling Brut Rosé from McBride Sisters Collection is a gem from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. This salmon-hued sparkling wine is bursting with aromas of wild strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and rose petals. Red berries transition to the palate with a hint of white peach. Subtle toasty notes and crisp acidity round out this bracing sparkler. This bottle can stand up to breakfast through dinner.

Pairings: Light Appetizers, Brunch, Fried Chicken, Prime Rib 



Natasha Hall



McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rose NV Hawkes Bay
The first thing that caught my attention about the Sparkling Brut Rosé is its beautiful salmon color which of course reminds me of both France and the summertime. Although it reminds me of summer, this sparkling wine is perfect year-round because of its unique characteristics and pronounced aromas of strawberry and raspberry. This wine is light-bodied enough to enjoy poolside on a hot day but also contains enough structure to complement a flavorful lobster roll or charcuterie plate with prosciutto and brie cheese. The wine has the perfect amount of “bubbly” to go with any occasion and to be enjoyed at any time of the day.

2021 McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc
If the perfect food pairing is my first thought after tasting a new wine then I know it is a winner! The first time I tried this Sauvignon Blanc I immediately thought about enjoying it with a kale salad topped with avocado, fresh strawberries and goat cheese crumbles. Although this wine is brightly acidic, the New Zealand-grown grapes give a pronounced aroma and flavor of melon, pineapple and stone fruits such as peach and apricot which create a pleasant balance. The McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite brunch wines because of its versatility and tropical flavors. It also has a beautiful pale yellow hue that’s stubble and classy. This wine will also go well with Chinese take-out and the NBA playoff season!

2019 McBride Sisters Central Coast Red Blend

Red Blends always hold a special place in my heart and this 2019 McBride Sisters Red Blend can be added to the list. I immediately noticed the pronounced aromas of baked cherry, warm vanilla and a hint of chocolate. With the perfect combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, this blend has a beautiful and rich deep ruby hue. This is a dry wine with well-balanced tannins and just a hint of oak but the subtle fruit flavors are still noticeable. I love how this wine reminds me of being in a warm and cozy cabin. I would pair this wine with marinated, grilled meat such as lamb chops or ribeye steak. I would also enjoy this wine with braised oxtails or a juicy, blue cheese-stuffed burger.

2020 McBride Sisters Central Coast Chardonnay

Coming from someone who has never been a “Chardonnay Girl”...the 2020 McBride Sisters Central Coast Chardonnay threw me for a loop! The pale gold color of the wine is very eye-catching in the glass. This wine has a buttery finish without a heavy oak influence with aromas of honey and apple which makes it “gentle” and not too overpowering like some other California Chardonnay wines. This is a very smooth wine that is perfect for someone who may be trying Chardonnay for the first time. I was really impressed with the pronounced fruit flavors of apple, pear mixed in with hints of citrus. This wine can be enjoyed by newbies or Chardonnay veterans and its richness and creamy texture pairs perfectly with saucy pastas, grilled shrimp or lobster and my favorite which is a triple grilled cheese sandwich.



Kriis Alyse Wilson


NV Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut

This wine is approachable. I love acidity in wine, but I feel as if the acidity overpowers the fruit and floral characteristics, taking away from what could be a really crisp finish Instead, the finish while medium in length, leaves a "soapy" undertone on the palate.

Pairings: The RS in the wine makes me want Thai Food! – spicy green curry or coconut milk-based soup

2018 Black Girl Magic Zinfandel

This wine is well balanced with fruit and tertiary notes integrated well together. The supple tannins provide great structure to the wine. This would be a great "introduction to red wine", wine for those who tend to shy away from reds due to their experiences with more austere, tannic red varietals.

Pairings: BBQ; no sauce, just smoked with a great dry rub.

2018 Black Girl Magic Merlot

Grippy yet velvety tannins that provide good structure. This wine is a good example of Merlot being its own stand-alone varietal, despite it having many similar characteristics to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pairings: Beef cheeseburger with smoked cheddar, no pickles or mustard

2019 Black Girl Magic Red Blend

Easy drinking. Although the tannin in the wine provide some structure, I think the lack of acidity in the wine makes it fall a little flat.

Pairings: Dark chocolate cake (no icing) with stewed dark cherries



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