Most wine shops give a 10% discount when buying a whole case—even mixed cases. Here are my quintessential (somewhat reasonably-priced) dozen.
2012 Miner Family Wines Wild Yeast Viognier $35 This could be my favorite white wine ever. The Wild Yeast Viognier has aromas of ripe stone fruit and exotic flowers with vibrant plush fruit on the palate. It has a round, rich mouth-feel balanced by crisp acidity. This quintessential food wine deserves to be enjoyed now while it’s young, fresh and wild.
2012 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay $50 This is the wine that changed Napa Valley forever and established America as a world power in viticulture. The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is chronicled in the movie Bottle Shock. It bursts with aromas of ripe peach, green apple, and honeydew. The finish is pure bliss with a touch of sweet oak and lemon curd that just doesn’t quit.
2013 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier $15 A wonderful white wine that makes me happy. And yes, I have an affinity for Viognier. Amazingly good with fried or spicy foods.
2012 Martín Códax Albarino $11 A Spanish wine that also makes me smile. Light, minerally, bright. Pair with sushi, egg dishes and lighter salads.
2008 Royal Tokaji Asuzu Dessert Wine $35 My favorite dessert wine ever. Splurge and pair with a really good Bleu Cheese. Prepare to have a gastronomic orgasm. Also great with fois gras, dessert and, perhaps surprisingly, with roast pork. An ideal partner to cigars.
2013 Meiomi Pinot Noir $19.99 (May-oh-mee) is a Pinot Noir that is crafted, lush, balanced and luxurious. It is an approachable, food friendly wine. An extremely layered wine, both in structure and flavor, with a slight earthiness and sweet oak on the finish. The best Pinot for the money. Period.
2010 Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zinfandel $46 With a depth of dark fruit and fragrant spices, the Rockpile Zinfandel immediately engages the senses. Pair this decadent wine with roasted leg of lamb or one of my favorites, steak au poivre.
2006 Terra Valentine Yverdon Cabernet Sauvignon $85 In 2001, Terra Valentine began the renovation of the historic Yverdon Vineyard. Named after an ancient merchant town in Switzerland, Yverdon (pronounced ee-ver-dun) was the name of the winery site that Angus and Margaret Wurtele purchased in 1999 to become Terra Valentine. The 1979 Yverdon Cabernet Sauvignon is the greatest wine I’ve ever tasted. Transcendent. The 2006 retains the nuances of my favorite terrior in the world, Spring Mountain just outside of Napa. The brightness of this wine complements the full, plush mid-palate and fine, silt-like tannins that lend to the superb mouth-feel and exceptional balance. Drink now or cellar for ten to twenty or more years for an exceptional collectible.
Pride Mountain Merlot $60 Pride often describes their Merlot as a “Cab lover’s Merlot”. Wine Enthusiast says it best: “It may sound strange, but this wine tastes like the liquid equivalent of a buttered toast bacon sandwich, spread with a little blackberry jam. However it sounds, it’s really delicious”.
2013 Molly Dooker The Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz $49 A true Shiraz hails from Down Under. Definitely a personal favorite, every year the Blue Eyed Boy is a stand out. Mollydooker is an affectionate Aussie term for Left-Hander – because both Sarah and Sparky Marquis – the husband and wife winemaking team based in McLaren Vale Australia – are both lefties! A well weighted wine with a truly elegant finish.
The special bottle: 1997 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico $124 Despite being one of Italy’s most symbolic wines it is little understood and often under-appreciated. Amarone wines are made from carefully selected bunches of the best grapes. These grapes are then dried (or dehydrated) before fermentation. Traditionally the grapes were dried on wooden racks at ambient temperatures. This drying process, which lasts between three and four months, is critical to the unique character of Amarone. As the grapes shrivel, sugars, acids, tannins, flavors, extract and other grape compounds concentrate. Once dried the grapes are crushed and then fermented until dry.
These wines call for meat and hearty rich dishes. Aged ribeye or beef bourguigone both came to mind. As we get further into fall and winter approaches, this might be the time to try an Amarone, if it has not usually been on your list of go-to wines. For a good quality Amarone, be prepared to pay $50 and above. Not for everyday drinking, these are wines for special occasions, wines to gift and in particular wines to lay down and open in five to ten years.
2009 Hendry Red Table Wine $38 If I could have only one wine on my table every day for the rest of my life, it would be this wine. The Hendry RED is a Bordeaux-style blend with an attitude adjustment. Mike and George Hendry make wines they love to drink—and it shows.
Question: What bottle would you add?