Holiday Wines 2018, Part 3!

December 27, 2018 Uncategorized  No comments

Holiday Wines 2018, Part 3 – the great wines just never end.

Having been a food and wine fan for many years, I’m sure that many of you, like I, was (and still am) a big follower of Parts Unknown featuring Anthony Bourdain – travelling the globe, investigating cultures, meeting people, being a lovable curmudgeon, and using the periscope of food and drink to view whatever country he was exploring on any given episode. I recall an episode in Manilla, where he was astounded that the Christmas/Holiday season starts being celebrated in September – here’s a quickie view of that episode.

Parts_Unknown_Manila-016According to, Christmas starts being celebrated 100 days before – at least:

In the Philippines, the Christmas season kicks off on September 1st or the start of the so-called ‘BER months’ – more than three months before the actual Christmas day. Christmas songs start playing on the radio and in the malls, holiday promos from airlines pop up, invitations from friends and family to get together and eat out start coming in, and Christmas trees, balls, and lights now occupy every department store’s racks – literally overnight.

So, the point I am getting to, is that as long as you want to stretch out your Holiday season, the more acceptable it is to us. And, it makes even more sense if you’re a lover of great food and wine. Whether you are preparing food at home, going to a relatives or friends, going to a local café for a pizza, grabbing some Mexican take out from Poquito Mas (outstanding “fast food” chain in Los Angeles, fresh homemade corn and flour tortillas and grilled vegetables/meats/seafood), Chinese take out from Hop Li (yes, you need the Shrimp with garlic/black bean sauce, seafood Lo Mein, and string beans in X.O. sauce), or just eating a turkey sandwich from leftovers, there’s a great wine to pair it with from LAWC – at a great price, too.

There’s a huge supply of amazing wines at LAWC this holiday season – far more than we can go over in just a few Holiday blogs. But here are a few choices are sure to delight any time of year. And, if you take a peek here, you’ll find a list of wines with deep online only discounts.  And, below is a list of sure winners that you’ll need for any occasion.

2016 Charles Smith Substance CS Cabernet Sauvignon

250931_01_294477I have read much about the interesting life of Charles Smith (managing metal bands in Europe), and have enjoyed his wines whenever I can. However, this particular wine really threw me for a loop – there’s no way that a Cabernet under $45 can be this good – and at LAWC it’s $13!! Smooth, velvety, and luscious, this opulent Cab was bursting with berries and cassis. This is a CASE BUY without a doubt! Great with a rich pasta, burger or flank steak on the grill, pizza, pot roast or you name it!  No wonder this was listed as one of the 2018 WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 BEST BUYS: #52!

“Amazingly, there are 125,000 cases of the value-priced 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine offers up classic aromas of crushed cassis, loamy soil and pencil lead. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, layered and flavorful, with chewy but ripe tannins and succulent balancing acids, concluding with good length. Considering the scale of this cuvée and the pittance it commands, it’s a remarkable achievement.” (92 points, Wine Advocate)

“The largest production cuvée, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon was vinified in tank before being pressed to barrel where it went through malo. Aged 13 months in barrels, its vibrant purple color is followed by a terrific bouquet of blueberries, cassis, scorched earth, and spice. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and beautifully balanced, this is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s a no-brainer purchase. Just pretend you paid three times the price.” (93 points, Jeb Dunnick)

Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Rosé (in 3 sizes – 375ml, 750ml, 1.5l)

billecart_rose_revStarted in 1818, and now led by Francois Billecart, who crafts elegant wines with the maxim “Tradition is meaningless without great quality”.What an amazing wine this is! I know I have preached the virtues of Rose’ Champagne previously, but if you still haven’t tried one, this is a must-do! I always say that you get everything you love about Champagne, with the delight of wisp of raspberry added along. What possible can there be not to love? And this is in limited amounts, so you need to get on this quick! Introduce this to your friends that haven’t tried it before, and you’ll be seen as a bon vivant for life. One of my favorites to pair with Champagne is Thai food – the delicate flavors that would be bombarded to oblivion with many red wines are perfect with the light and crisp acidity and bubbles, and bitter orange nuances.

“A gorgeous rosé Champagne with sliced strawberries, orange peel and hints of cream and pie crust. Medium body, tight and integrated tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Tangy acidity. The texture shows a fine bead and lightness. Long and intense. Drink now.” (94 points, James Suckling)

“A lovely rosé in an almost vinous style, with mouthwatering acidity and a fine, lacy mousse carrying appealing flavors of ripe raspberry, white cherry fruit, star anise, mandarin orange peel and honeysuckle. Lightly chalky on the lasting finish. Enjoy with food. Drink now through 2020. (93 points, Wine Spectator)

kracker_8_revIf you love dessert wines as much as I do, you have not been forgotten! We have a great supply this year, and one of our many highlights is the 2011 Alois Kracher #8 Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese Zwischen Den Seen 375 ml.  Trockenbeerenauslese translates to “select dry berry harvest”, or “dry berry selection”, made from hand selected overripe grapes often affected by “noble rot” (just like the infamous sweet Bordeaux Sauternes wines, made from Semillon grapes) making extremely rich sweet wines – these grapes were dried on the vine rather than the resulting wine being a dry style. Flavors and aromas of pineapple, custard, Granny Smith apples and a hint of candied ginger – this will knock you out with any fruit tart, pecan pie, or any cookie assortment you can imagine! If you have not enjoyed any dessert wines, now is the perfect time – especially with all the sweets that you have been stockpiling (like me) in the pantry (and it’s perfectly normal to have a few hidden in the back away from other family members).

Wine Spectator awarded this wine 95 points! – “Rich and unctuous, with plenty of fresh acidity behind the pure and focused flavors of Gala apple, melon, lemon curd and pear tart. A suave style, offering some savory notes on the long, creamy finish. Drink now through 2050. 150 cases made”

And, 94 points from Wine Advocate: “The 2011 Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese No 8 Zwischen den Seen displays minty flavors along with grapefruit aromas. Sweet, piquant and viscous on the palate this is a very round and well structured TBA from a very hot year, but it is well balanced and fresh, with lemon flavors in the finish. Very good length.”

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