Wines for the Holiday Season

by artfuldiner on December 4, 2017

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Special Celebrations, Wine, Wining and Dining

The holiday season is a particularly warm and wonderful time of the year when we gather together to dine with family and friends. It is also a time of the exchanging of gifts. So… noted below are just a few personal libationary suggestions to bring good cheer to your holiday table and, perhaps, a special present to the wine lover in your life.

Champagne for HolidaysCHAMPAGNES:

Moët & Chandon Brut Champagne Dom Pérignon Plénitude P2 2000, $349.00

Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne, La Grande Dame 2006, $295.00

Bollinger Brut Champagne, La Grande Année 2007, $155.00

Moët & Chandon Brut Champagne Grand Vintage 2008, $70.00

Taittinger Brut Champagne Réserve NV, $42.00


White Wine ImageWHITE WINES:

2015 Louis Latour Meursault Perrières (Burgundy, France): Currently operated by the seventh generation, Masion Louis Latour has remained family-run since its foundation in 1797 and has built an impressive reputation for tradition and innovation. In 1997 Louis Latour was admitted into the exclusive club of the Hénokiens. This club only admits companies that remain family owned, have a history of 200 years’ experience, and still bear the name of the founder. Latour’s Meursault Perrières – named after the plot from which the grapes are harvested – has always been a considered an excellent wine… and the 2015 vintage is no exception. The Wine Spectator recently bestowed 93 points noting “a balanced mix of toasty oak, honey, peach, pastry and mineral flavors lend(ing) allure to this opulent white.” A quintessential French Chardonnay… and considering the outlandish tariffs being exacted for some high end white Burgundies these days, its $99.00 price tag is something of a bargain.

2015 Shafter “Red Shoulder Ranch” Chardonnay (Carneros, California): Shafer “Red Shoulder Ranch” Chard, with its dynamic interplay of power and finesse, is always impressive. The 2015 was barrel-fermented with wild yeast in 75% oak and 25% stainless steel and aged for 14 months. It is rich & spicy, juicy & ripe. I’ve tasted numerous “Red Shoulder” vintages over the years and, while I’m not a big fan of ponderous California Chards, this particular wine is in a class by itself. Weighty but extremely well balanced, the 2015 exhibits an incredible depth of character that impresses at every step. If you fancy the absolute gusto of a dramatic Chardonnay, this is a wine you will thoroughly enjoy. Average price: $50.00.

2009 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile (Alsace, France): Listed as number 9 in the 2015 Wine Enthusiast’s “Top 100 Wines of the Year,” The Cuvée Frédéric Emile is only released as it approaches maturity… and the 2009, a benchmark for Alsace Riesling, is just arriving there now. This is a simply fabulous wine, full-bodied, tangy, and loaded with intense citrus and mineral flavors. And at 13.5% alcohol, it is bone dry. Of all the Rieslings I’ve sampled over the years, this remains my absolute favorite. There’s an incredible aromatic piquancy here, a dramatic tactile bite that pulls you in and holds you right through to the tenaciously lingering finish… and the memory remains. You haven’t tasted Riesling until you’ve tasted Cuvée Frédéric Emile. Priced at approximately $60.00.


Nicholas - Holiday Walk Around Wine TastingRED WINES:

2014 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile): The 2014 Don Melchor is nothing short of phenomenal. It recently received a whopping 96 points (100 point scale) from the Wine Spectator; the highest score to date for a Chilean wine in the publication. This exceptional score is added to the extensive list of Don Melchor’s historic achievements in the Wine Spectator, where it has made eight appearances among the Top 100 Wines of the World; three times among the top 10. The 2014 is rich, ripe, and full-bodied. In short, it is a classic Don Melchor, artfully combining power and elegance. And even priced at approximately $100.00 a bottle, it is something of a bargain, as there are a number of California Cabs out there charging almost three times as much. The perfect gift for the wine lover… and the perfect complement to your holiday feast.

2014 Chateau Montrose (Bordeaux, France): Chateau Montrose is a winery in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of France’s famous Bordeaux region. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Montrose wines tend to be overly tannic, which, during excellent vintages can take up to 20 years to mature. That being said, however, the raves for the 2014 Montrose have been universal. It has been variously described as “brilliant,” “truly superb,” “sublime,” etc., etc. A blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet France, and 1% Petit Verdot, this rich, smooth and generous wine will live & prosper in the cellar and be enjoyable for many years to come. If you’re a Bordeaux fan, you won’t want to miss it. Priced around $130.00 mark.

2012 San Felice Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino (Italy): I happened upon this wine quite by accident and thought I’d give it a try. It’s highly rated across the board, receiving a 96 from the Wine Spectator; 93 from James Suckling and the Wine Enthusiast, respectively; and 91 from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The wine is aged in large oak casks for 36 months, which slows the aging process and contributes to intensity and finesse. Smooth as silk on the palate with round and velvety tannins, the 2012 will age gracefully… but why wait? It’s ready to enjoy now. Priced at approximately $55.00.

2014 Joseph Phelps Insignia Estate Grown (Napa Valley, California): This extraordinary vintage of Joseph Phelps signature (Bordeaux-style) blend combines 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Soft and supple on the palate, the wine is seamless and perfectly balanced with hints of cassis, oak, and chocolate. It should age beautifully in the cellar. An exquisite wine. Price: $250.00 ($199.99 on sale online).

2014 Franciscan Magnificat Red Blend (Napa Valley, California): Magnificat is one of the original Napa Valley Meritage wines first created by the late wine legend André Tchelistcheff. It is an harmonious “composition” of Bordeaux varietal grapes, hence the name that pays tribute to another famous “composition” by J.S. Bach. The 2014 Magnificat, which was aged for 20 months in oak barrels, 70% new, is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petite Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine recently scored a whopping 96 points from Tasting Panel magazine, which gushed over its satiny texture and firm structure. If the price for the above-mentioned Joseph Phelps Insignia is a bit of a bummer, the more modest Franciscan retails for $59.95 ($49.95 from Wine Express online).

Cheers and Happy Holidays!


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