6:10 AM EST, November 23, 2012
The perfect wine for the holidays is champagne, the drink of celebration that celebrates life.
Tis the season! What are you pouring this holiday?
Here is what I suggest: Drink Champagne. It is the drink of celebration and it celebrates life.
Lily Bollinger said it best: ""I only drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not in a hurry and drink it when I am, otherwise I never touch the stuff unless I am thirsty." Sage advice.
My favorites are Bollinger, Laurent-Perrier, Pol Roger.
And if you are in the mood to treat yourself you might try the following:
Champagne Barons de Rothschild Rosé ($100): Oh my! The color! A rich saturated "onion skin"! And the wine is so dry and structured that each sip is akin to chewing ice. The flavor is all kumquat and rhubarb. Amazing.
Crowd pleasers (that won't break the bank) include Grooner Gruner Veltliner, Austria ($10) The label is hideous, but the wine is great. And you can't beat the price. It's a snappy little number full of arugula and sugar snap peas. Just tantalizing. Montebuena "Cuvée KPF," Rioja, Spain 2010 ($10) This toothsome red is deep and rich with pomegranate fruit laced with dusty cocoa. There are hints of leather and sun-baked terra cotta too. Earthy, fragrant, smooth and savory. Fabulous at a fabulous price.
Also good to the last drop is Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru "Les Clos" 2008 ($65). This chardonnay delivers a fascinating combination of "fat and skinny" on the palate. There is a rich brown butter character laced with quince and beeswax coupled with a vibrant acidity that hints of lemon and flint. Think of a curvaceous lady in a corset! There is a lot of moxy squeezed into this tight little package, just eye-popping contained voluptuousness.
Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges 2009 ($55) is a huge, pterodactyl Pinot Noir! The fruit is rich, ripe and explosive. There is a kiss of sweet oak and a touch of saddle leather. The wine, although massive in size, still has lift. Delicious!
To ramp it up a bit I recommend Fleur de Lyeth 2010, California ($13) This is a huge, gutsy red full of power and spice. It's a take-no-prisoners, knife and fork wine that delivers a delicious package of dark berry fruit, chocolate, and herb. The ample tannins are soft yet texturous and the finish long and spicy. A delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Very impressive.
Also impressive Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 ($16) This tangy little number is built like a line-backer. The tannins are suede-like, soft but firm. The Bing cherry fruit is dusted with cinnamon and coupled with a four-square minerality that gives both backbone and character. It's a winning combination of balance and muscle, and grace and power.
A wine that is beautiful with brunch is the absolutely delicious Biltmore Pas de Deux Sparkling Muscat Canelli ($19). It tastes "exuberant" …a fruit cocktail in a glass. Although sweet (2.2 percent residual sugar), it is balanced by a piquant acidity that makes the wine just dance across the palate. The perfect accompaniment to brunch!
For a perfect Pinot, try Wallace Brook Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2009 ($20) A stunning Pinot Noir. It is as smooth as satin and beautifully perfumed with vanilla, violet and explosive, vibrant raspberry fruit. The wine packs such energy that you feel as if you have just tapped into a fresh mountain stream. One sip is so provocative, it commands another. Don't be deterred by the label.
For the Lobster lover there is Domaine Cheveau 2010 Macon Solutre-Pouilly "Sur le Mont" ($24). It is a succulent little chardonnay bursting with ripe and concentrated golden delicious apple fruit. The finish is all stone and flint. Yummy.
Rib-sticking and satisfying is the Jean Claude Lapalu Brouilly "La Croix des Rameaux" 2010 ($27) This is as big and bold as it gets within Beaujolais. It's as dense as unsweetened cranberry-Bing Cherry concentrate with loads of minerality, acidity and thick satin tannins. The power captured within this bottle of wine is staggering in its intensity.
Domaine de Barroubio "Marie Therese" 2009 Minervois ($20) This savory, meaty red is as smooth as brushed cotton with a heady mélange of sweet herb on top of a granite-mineral core. Absolutely magnificent.
For gift bottles, Shafer's "Relentless" 2006, California ($60), a Petite Sirah/Syrah blend, is just spectacular. Full of fresh, vibrant black fruits with a dusting of exotic spices all coupled with a thick, satin texture.
Likewise, Heitz Cellars Martha's Vineyard 2006, California ($150) is a lush combination of sun-dried cherry, cola, dark chocolate mint and anise. Just layers and layers of texture and flavor. It's worth every penny.
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