Ready for Holiday Wines? We Are!

November 2, 2018 Uncategorized  No comments

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As I prepare a list of Holiday Wines, I am curiously reminded of a quote by the esteemed novelist Eduardo Galeano, “We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine”. Indeed, as our lives evolve by those most noble events, and the desire to endlessly repeat them, there could not be a better time than the holidays to fully indulge our loved ones with what has given us so much joy. Below you will find a list of wines, which are sure to decorate and enhance your holiday festivities. And, the more I think about the quote by Mr. Galeano, I would wager a glass of Napa Cabernet that the “first kiss” of which he has written, was preceded with a glass of one of the fine wines below.

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What season could be more custom-made for wine, food and enjoyment than the Holidays? It’s a perfect time for pretty much any type of food and wine that you can imagine. Opulent red wines, while too big and muscular for the hot days of summer, are perfect, either alone or with the matching foods that accompany it best – steaks, stews, burgers (or anything for that matter) on the grill, root vegetables, braised dishes, pastas with hearty sauces, pizzas, tacos, etc. Also, it’s a great time of year for Champagnes and domestic sparkling wines, as well as those amazing dessert wines – which go so amazingly well with Pecan Pie and many other Holiday desserts. Here are pictures I’ve compiled from last years’ Holidays – and you can bet that I’m going to repeat the festivities this year!

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2015 Ghost Block Cabernet Sauvingon Single Vineyard

A perfect wine for a classic steakhouse dinner – or an at home BBQ. A hedonistic delight right now with oodles of complex currant and tobacco flavors that will become only more complex with bottle age. This elegant and powerful wine displays dark cherries, espresso, licorice, vanilla, and subtle tobacco spice.

“Coming from the Ghost Block Vineyard in Yountville, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard displays a deep garnet-purple color and nose of plum preserves, mulberries and blueberry pie with hints of anise, black soil and pepper. Medium-bodied and firm in the mouth, it offers decent intensity and balance, with chewy tannins and good length.” – Wine Advocate, 90 points.

2015 Snowden Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch

Luscious, featuring plum with exotic dark fruit notes. There is noticeable tannin, but it is fairly well integrated. The finish is long and sweet. One thing I love about Snowden is that it is complex and evolved; yet seems restrained and unadorned; like listening to Wes Montgomery or John Coltrane playing a ballad.

“I looked at three barrel samples of 2015s. The 2015 The Ranch Proprietary Red (75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot looks like a big, juicy, opaque purple Cabernet made with loads of glycerin, sucrosity and extract. It is soft, juicy, succulent like so many 2015s, but I expect the extravagance of fruit is hiding some underlying tannin. This should drink well for 15-20 years.” Wine Advocate, 90-93 points.

2016 Leonetti Cellar Merlot

Having filled their first bottle in 1978, the Leonetti’s have been known as some of Washington State’s best vintners.  The Walla Walla Valley has proven itself to be a veritable Garden of Eden for lush red varietals, as its long and warm growing season is protected by the Cascade Mountains, which shelter the vineyards from the prevalent rains of the western region of the state, which results in amazingly full-flavored wines. This 100% Merlot is a decadent fantasy in a bottle – inky and sumptuous.

“Intense aromas of blueberries, blackberries and black olives with some graphite follow through to a full body. Ultra-fine tannins and a savory finish. Needs time to soften but already shows class and finesse. Drink in 2020 and onwards.” James Suckling, 95 points.

2016 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir Beaux Freres Vinyard

One of the most definitive Pinot’s from Oregon’s Willamette Valley  – this streamlined and delicate Willamette Valley Pinot wears its Burgundian influences on its sleeve, with black tea nuances and sweet, soft cherry flavors, Asian spices, raspberries and flowers.

“Remarkably and seamlessly complex, with a polished and refined core wrapped in silky raspberry and blueberry flavors, accented by savory spice and orange zest hints. The long finish builds toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2025. 2,686 cases made. Beaux Frères remains a benchmark in Oregon and produced some excellent wines in 2016.” – Wine Advocate, 95 points.

Holiday 22017 Chateau Miraval Rose

Yes, a Rose’ can work in the colder Holiday season – perfect alongside a Salmon fillet on the grill, Ceasar salad, and custard and fresh fruit desserts. Made from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s 1,000-acre Estate in Southern France, one of with France’s most highly-renowned winemakers, Marc Perrin of Chateau Beaucastel, this beautiful Rose (in an equally stunning bottle) is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle.

“Limpid orange-pink. Displays vibrant, mineral-accented raspberry and blood orange scents along with suggestions of succulent herbs and flowers. Fleshy, supple and dry on the palate, offering sappy red berry and tangerine flavors that are given lift and definition by a core of juicy acidity. Finishes with strong, mineral-driven persistence, leaving a touch of honeysuckle behind.” Vinous, 91 points.

2008 Henriot Brut Vintage

Henriot may be the most underrated brand in Champagne, with all of its cuvées performing at the top of their class, beating out the big names in the process. Just look at the scores and the reviews below: 92 points for the Brut Souverain (which will keep for a decade as well), 94 points for the extreme-value Rosé, and the 1996 Cuvée des Enchanteleurs  which, at 97 points, is second only to the mammoth 1996 Krug for champagne of the vintage. We suspect some of this lack of name recognition is due to the fact that this wine is scarce — just about 1,000 cases imported of each. Celebrate this Holiday season in Grand Style!

“There is ample petrol character to the cool, pure and beautifully fresh nose that combines notes of citrus and yeast with those of green apple and a whiff of pain grillé. I really like the sense of tension and energy to the intense, delineated and solidly complex flavors that are supported by a firm and reasonably fine effervescence before culminating in a very dry, highly complex and superbly persistent finish. The outstanding 2008 vintage in Champagne can count another winner as this is a wine to buy and age in quantity. Note that while this could certainly be enjoyed now, I would continue to hold it for another 2 to 5 years.” Burghound, 93 points.

Sweet Homemade Crunchy Pecan Pie2017 Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese GKA 375 ml

We are extremely fortunate to get our hands of Donnhoff dessert wines – as there are a very limited production – and just in time for the Holidays. Located in Nahe, Helmut Donnhoff is considered one of Germany’s best wine producers. Growing Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, his wines are revered for their elegance and harmonious balance.

“Hold on to your hat! This is so concentrated and so filigree. Somewhere in this tightly coiled maelstrom of flavors is a bunch of sweetness. Yet, every time you think you’ve got it, it slips away. Breathtakingly long and fresh finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold. Very limited production.” James Suckling, 98 points.

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