by Joey Amato
With holiday soirees just around the corner, it is important that the right wines are chosen to accompany your meal. While white wines tend to be popular during the summer months, the reds take center stage in the winter. Here are some of our recommendations to try this upcoming holiday season and we even threw in some bubbly for your New Year’s Eve celebration.
2016 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Captivating aromas of fresh Bing cherries, raspberry preserves, and dried strawberries quickly emerge from the glass. A second glance reveals elements of cola, green tea, and traces of white pepper and nutmeg. A backdrop of forest floor and wild mushrooms lend complexity and weight to the generous red fruit flavors and classic Russian River Valley finesse. The palate is decidedly textural, silky, and perfectly balanced with abundant acidity, purity, and length.
Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821: Start your meal with this smooth Prosecco that pairs well no matter the appetizer. Pale straw yellow with a persistent perlage and rich mousse, its bouquet is refined and elegant, enhanced by pleasing fruity notes. It is dry with notes of almonds, fresh citrus, and an aromatic finish. Nothing gets one’s appetite going quite like a refreshing bubbly.
Dos Almas Sauvignon Blanc Reserva: Begin the meal with this refreshing, versatile Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. Dos Almas means “two spirits,” that of 200 years of Italian winemaking craftsmanship and the diverse terroirs and microclimates of Chile. Cool nights and hot days give it a vibrant, crisp personality in which the enchanting aromatic profile combines with mineral and balsamic notes to yield a wine of rare freshness and complexity. Shows lime, grapefruit, pineapple and pear, complemented by gentle notes of minerals and herbs. Excellent with a first course as well as fish, salads, and ceviche.
2013 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva: This classic red pairs well with a second course. Chianti has long been one of Italy’s most traditional and well-known reds: it is versatile, fruity, and spicy, with a medium body that both holds up well to red meats yet doesn’t overpower more delicate dishes. The grapes in this Chianti Classico are grown in Radda in Chianti and cultivated entirely by hand, dedicating valuable time and attention for high-quality results. The Riserva shows a deep concentration of fruit, a robust and firmly tannic mouthfeel, and notes of toasty wood spice, leather, and earth.
Gato Negro Chardonnay: Even in the winter months, it’s important to cater to all palates – especially those who only drink whites. This Chardonnay’s richer mouthfeel makes for the perfect option in the colder months. Hearty aromas of honey and peach combined with medium acidity compliment chicken, game birds, pork and pasta.
2015 Frescobaldi Perano (Chianti Classico): A brilliant purple wine with a floral nose enhanced by fruity notes of wild blackberry, raspberry and cherry, which lead into balsamic highlights of eucalyptus and thyme accompanied by mineral touches of graphite and spicy pink pepper. The tannic structure is typical of Chianti Classico, it caresses the palate leaving it clean and fresh, while the intense and persistent finish leaves a pleasant walnut nuance.
Spartico: Aromas of strawberry, stewed plum, vanilla custard, and baking spice with a bright, dry light-to-medium body and an interesting, medium-long, prune, and bittersweet chocolate finish with well-integrated tannins. This wine is definitely a well-balanced, fruit-forward Spanish blend.
Pizzolato NSA Cabernet: Aromas of roasted green pepper, toffee, and craisin chutney with a supple, dryish medium body and tangy pomegranate, black pepper and toasted cedar accented finish. A nice savory table wine; try with pepper steak or fajitas.
Les Hauts de Lagarde Bordeaux Rouge: This wine has a dark garnet color. Smoky aromas and flavors of charred nuts, roasted berries, and clay with a satiny, crisp, dryish medium body and medium-long nuts, craisins and cassis, and earth finish with woody, tannins. A fun earthy French red for the table or cellar.
2015 Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon: A lifted nose filled with baking spices reminiscent of a delicious, warm strawberry-blackberry-rhubarb pie. Notes of vanilla, butter crust, nutmeg and a hint of clove. The palate is very approachable, luscious and pretty, the mouthwatering acidity gives length and playful, chalky tannins provide structure. Rich, round and mouthcoating, with a nuance core of vibrant red and black fruits and a hint of cedar. A ripe, vibrant and textural wine with a softness that invited early drinking.
2016 Cuvaison Spire Pinot Noir: An expression of hilltop fruit from the Los Carneros estate, this wine is driven by notes of rose petals, black tea and licorice. The flavors are quite expansive, with black cherry, raspberry and dark plum tones bringing out the broad and supple mouthfeel of this Small Lot bottling.
2014 Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: A gorgeous bouquet of violets, rose petals, and fresh currant on the nose. The wine is quite lush and round on the attack, featuring lovely blackberry and boysenberry jam, with hints of mocha, toffee, and Saigon cinnamon. The 2014 vintage is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and rounded out with 10% Cabernet Franc, 7 % Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot all from the rugged, picturesque Brandlin Estate Vineyard on Mount Veeder.
2015 Paraduxx Proprietary Napa Valley Red Wine: On the nose, this aromatic wine displays inviting layers of black raspberry and blackberry pie, along with notes of cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and a touch of brown sugar. The lush fruit character continues on the palate where rich currant and cherry flavors are supported by bright acidity and velvety tannins that draw the wine to a silky, berry and spice finish.
2017 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié: A warmer year in a cool climate growing area resulted in a remarkable showing for the 2017 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié. Bright red hues and profuse brambly fruit aromas are accented by black pepper notes. On tasting, a zesty attack of pomegranate and blueberry fruit leaves crisp, fresh fruit on the palate.
2016 Attems Cicinis: People will notice a very delicate bouquet of citrus fruits, sage and boxwood accents, which are enhanced by the striking presence of vanilla, toasted bread and coffee. The sugary grapes have produced an intense wine with notes of white peach and honeysuckle and a persistent, mineral finish.
2015 Canvasback Red Mountain Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon: Showing the warmth and generosity of the growing season, this wine offers effusive aromas of Bing cherry, ripe strawberry and plum. As it evolves, additional aromas of molasses and ginger reveal themselves, along with a savory whiff of sagebrush that echoes Red Mountain’s desert environment. On the palate, the wine has notable presence and depth. The entry is creamy and fine-grained, and a voluminous mid-palate displays gorgeous flavors of black plum, marionberry and grenadine, with notes of nutmeg and hazelnut adding complexity to the juicy fruit.
2016 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: The 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay offers a great intensity of fresh, pure apple and white peach aromas with hints of baker’s yeast and allspice plus a waft of honeysuckle. Medium to full-bodied and delivering mouth-filling stone fruit and spice flavors, it has a satiny texture and great length.
2015 Acumen Mountainside Red Wine: This full-bodied wine starts with fragrant aromas of black cherries, English roses, mocha, sweet earth, and fresh blackberry pie. On the palate, we find mouth-coating flavors of blueberries, Santa Rosa plums, and baking spices with a pleasant grip of ripe tannins coupled with notes of toffee, rhubarb compote, fresh sage and cigar box on the long and pleasant finish.
2017 Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti: This wine has a ruby-red color tending towards bright, brilliant violet. The nose contains pleasant blackberry, redcurrant and cherry preserve notes with touches of floral and spicy notes. In the mouth, the wine is lively and round and its fruity aromas return to the palate, giving a rich, fulfilling finish.
2017 Attems Ramato: This wine’s beautiful coppery hues introduce a rich, complex bouquet of crisp fruity impressions including white peach, and cantaloupe followed by blackberry and bitter cherry with an intriguing hint of wildflowers. On the palate, the wine is enveloping with a pleasant acidity and long mineral finish of red fruits.
Some reviews from Tastings.com.