Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Party Wine Picks

Look, I taste hundreds of wines a year and there are some excellent wines out there, for sure. But there are some really bad wines, as well.

This holiday season, my advice, if you care about the stuff you are serving to your family and closest friends, go and support a small wine shop.

9 times out of 10, the owner is hand selecting the wines by tasting them first and weighing out whether or not they perform well at their respective pricepoints.

This is the best way to come across quality selections that you may not have considered. Yes, it is an extra stop. Yes, you may drive a mile out of your way but it will be worth it. Here are some of my favorites around $12 or less. They will surely please people that don't think about wine as well as those who are obsessed by it.

Have fun out there!

Giard Pays d'Auge Cru de Cambremer $9.99 France *small production apple cider
Vinho de Mesa Capote Velho $9.99 Portugal
2008 Bodegas Riotajo, Madrid $9.99 Spain
2007 La Nevera Garnacha, Navarra $9.99 Spain
2009 Domaine des Persenades Cotes de Gascogne Blanc $9.99 France
2007 Valev√≥ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo $9.99 Italy
2008 Cantos Rodados Verdejo, Tierra de Castilla y Leon $9.99 Spain
Red Art Red Blend $9.99 California
2009 Domaine Ricard Touraine Blanc $11.99 France
2008 Chateau Ripaille Chasselas Vin de Savoie $11.99 France
2009 Domaine Collette Beaujolais-Villages $12.99 France
2007 Tolosa Cabernet Sauvignon $12.99 Paso Robles
2008 Poderi San Lazzaro Polesio $12.99 Italy
2008 Bodegas Luzon Luzon $8.99 Spain
2005 Tarantas Tempranillo $9.99 Spain
2009 Floresta Blanco $11.99 Spain
2009 Moulin de Gassac Guilheim Rouge $10.99 France
2005 Chateau Valcombe Cotes du Ventoux Rouge $11.99 France
2007 Domaine de Monpertuis Counoise $12.99 France
2007 Feudo Montoni Cataratto, Sicily $9.99 Italy
2009 Chateau La Rame Bordeaux Blanc $12.99 France
2009 Luis Pato Branco $10.99 Portugal
2008 Leese Fitch Merlot $9.99 California

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Respect -- Wine Respect

Felsina is one of those estates that commands respect from beginning wine aficionados to old-timer wine dudes. They manage to impress established wine critics as well as cutting edge new wine bloggers.

In short, it is hard to argue against the fact that they make exceptional wine, and have been doing so for years. It is best to be able to lay these down for a while, but please, if you have not tried any Felsina wines, do yourself a favor and remedy that. These wines are destined to be classics! (and are now in stock).

2006 Felsina Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva $44.99

(95 Points: Wine Advocate) The 2006 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is a vibrant, focused wine that flows with the essence of dark fruit, minerals and flowers. The wine possesses gorgeous length and proportion, all of which is framed by powerful yet well-integrated tannins. Simply put, this is a superb Chianti that also happens to be one of the best relative values in fine, age worthy wine. The Rancia is made from vines planted on poor soils at 420 meters above sea level. In 2006, the Rancia spent 16 months in French oak, of which 60% was new.

2007 Felsina Fontalloro $52.99

(96 Points: International Wine Cellar) Good full red with a palish rim. Pure, superripe aromas of red cherry, violet, iodine and nutmeg. Superrich, highly concentrated and seamless, with densely packed flavors of raspberry, dark plum and marzipan. Finishes creamy-rich and explosively long, with a pretty violet note. This was so good I really had trouble letting the glass go. It's also the only time I can remember Fontalloro outclassing Rancia (of which I am a huge fan) by such a wide margin, something I had noticed even when tasting barrel samples of these two wines in the estate's cellar two years ago. I'd wait a good five years on this one, then enjoy it for another two decades. Proof positive that sangiovese is one of the world's great grape varieties.

2006 Felsina Fontalloro $112.99 1.5ML
(95 Points: Wine Spectator) Chocolate, blackberry and black cherry aromas lead to a full-bodied palate, with velvety tannins and a deep concentration of fruit. Powerfully rich and polished. Big and structured. A blockbuster Sangiovese. Best after 2012. 3,300 cases made.