Thursday, December 17, 2020

Consider These Holiday Treasure Wines

PXL_20201203_013914373.PORTRAITThe holidays are here. What will you pour? Check out this quartet.

Spanning The Globe

Anyone remember The Wide World of Sports? The opening had a montage of sports clips and the punchy narration: “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition...”

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We don’t pretend to do all that, but we do span the globe to taste some really exemplary wines so that you too may know the thrill of victory. Here are four that we recently tasted and enjoyed, from three different continents and all at a palatable price.

Tinto NegroKara-Tara 2018 Pinot Noir, Western Cape, South Africa

We opened this around a neighborly neighbor’s firepit. This is a South African spin on Pinot Noir. The name means “deep dark shadows” and indeed this wine tilts towards the earthy end of the Pinot spectrum. The vines average five years of age and grow at an elevation of 500 to 900 feet.

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This is a more substantial Pinot with malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak lending a beautiful body. In fact, I had to doublecheck the label to make sure I wasn’t drinking a bottle of Pinotage instead of Pinot Noir. A complex and exciting bottle priced at $21.99.

Tinto Negro 2018 Malbec, Uco Valley, Argentina

Talk about taking your Malbec drinking to new heights! This wine comes from the Los Arboles district of the Uco Valley, located at an altitude of 3,500 feet. The grapes are grown in shallow, sandy silt where their struggles result in a beautiful concentration of flavor.

This wine reflects the cool climate style of Malbec, with dark fruit and chocolate flavors. In fact, Tinto Negro means black wine in Spanish. There are rich flavors accented with oak, from six months in used French barrels. The complex Tinto Negro blows away the simply, jammy Malbecs but has an affordable $16.99 price tag.

Famille Perrin 2019 Nature Côtes du Rhône Blanc

This delightful white is a certified organic wine from the first family of the Rhône Valley. You are probably more familiar with the CDR reds – but the whites are intriguing and expressive.

PXL_20201216_012954432.PORTRAITThe grapes come from the northern part of the Côtes du Rhône region and are harvested in the morning to preserve their freshness. Aging in stainless steel keeps the flavors precise. The body is round and soft.

The Nature Blanc is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne – all lovely grapes with which you should become acquainted. This is a beautiful light gold in the glass with honeysuckle notes on the nose. It flows with tastes of peach and lime.

A natural partner for fish, this would also rock spicy Asian cuisine. We recommend a multi-bottle buy, or maybe a case at the ridiculously low price of $14.99.

August Kesseler 2018 The Daily August Pinot Noir, Rheingau

Germany’s Rheingau region is rightly known for Riesling, which accounts for 80% of production. What you may not know is that Germany’s number one red grape is Pinot Noir, also known as Spätburgunder. The name of this wine encourages you to make this German Pinot part of your daily routine.

This is VDP Gutswein. VDP is a collection of Germany’s leading wine estates and Gutswein is their classification for good entry level wine. The Daily August is aged in barriques manufactured in their two-story cellar, which dates to 1792.

Oak aging makes a difference as this wine has more complexity than the Spätburgunder we’ve had before. There are dark cherry and blueberry notes. This wine evolved in the glass and we found ourselves liking it more as the wine in our glasses went up and the wine in the bottle went down.

The winery suggests the following meal pairing: guinea fowl with red wine butter, parsley risotto, and porcini mushrooms. That would certainly be a feast! SRP is $26.99.

Full disclosure: This wine was received as marketing samples.

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