White Wines By The Glass
Just Fiou Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Loire Valley, France)
OK, so remember when I said the last Sauv Blanc we had tasted like a baby Sancerre? It’s OK if you don’t, I forgive you. At any rate, it was true. It did taste like a baby Sancerre. Well, this one just flat-out tastes like Sancerre, only for less money. All that opulence that you just love, framed by crisp minerality that you didn’t know you needed, but really do.
Sparkman Cellars “Birdie” Riesling 2012 (Columbia Valley, WA)
Not long ago, I visited one of my dearest friends, Christian Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars. I’ve got to say, he’s making some amazing juice. While he’s best known for his powerful reds, this lovely Riesling really got my attention. I’m sure it will yours as well. One sniff and you know you’re in for something tasty, and it doesn’t let up on the palate, delivering ripe, delicious, text-book fruit and bright acidity. Well done, my friend.
Egeo Verdejo 2012 (Rueda, Spain)
If you find yourself always ordering a Sauvignon Blanc and are looking for something just barely different, you may want to give this a try. It has the same brightness, citrus notes, and texture that I love in Sauvignon Blanc but with plush and ripe melon fruit to flesh it out a bit. While certainly still dry, the ripeness gives it a bit more to stand up to some of our spicier fare as well.
Barnett Vineyards Sangiacomo Chardonnay (Carneros, CA)
I had to lift my jaw off the floor when I learned the price of this wine. I mean, this is a small production, single vineyard offering from a top-notch winery that is far better known for high end offerings. A beautifully opulent Chardonnay that still has plenty of finesse and lovely balance, I’m certain you’ll love it.
Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2012 (France)
Here’s our latest rich, charming, and affordable French white that you may or may not have ever heard of. The blend is predominantly Grenache Blanc, which is one of my favourite white grapes. It’s got great texture and is perfect for winter when you want a big, oily, dry white without having to order a chardonnay.
White Wines By The Bottle Only
Contra Soarda Breganze Vespaiolo 2011 (Breganze, Italy) 50
Vespaiolo, a little known grape, most typically used in making dessert wines, creates a wonderfully unique wine with notes of jasmine, honey and lemon. Grown in the foothills of the Alps, this wine shows nearly endless layers and pairs well with difficult foods.
Galerie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) 50
I’ve always had a soft spot for Napa Sauv Blanc done well. And this wine is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that. It’s nervy enough to be sure, but it’s also so plush and sexy…
Magic of Ju-Ju Chenin Blanc (Loire Valley, France) 50
Besides the perfect name, this just happens to be a delicious bottle of wine and one that goes perfectly with our food. Captivatingly aromatic, lush mouth-feel, delicious fruit, and great acidity.
Savary Chablis 2012 (Bourgogne, France) 30 (375 ml)
This is such a pretty wine and does precisely what I want Chablis to do. It’s not big, not oaky, but it still has texture, finesse, and generosity on the palette. A lovely wine to be sure.
Tegernseerof ‘Loibenberg’ Riesling Smaragd 2009 (Wachau, Austria) 65
This is what you get when a top-notch producer harvests grapes late from an iconic vineyard in Austria’s most renowned areas. And makes it dry. Lucious stone-fruit with texture galore, and vibrant acidity. A truly monumental wine.
Catena Zapata Catena Alta Chardonnay 2012 (Mendoza, Argentina) 65
I tried some amazing wines on my visit to this legendary winery. About the last thing I expected to fall madly in love with, though, was their Chardonnay. In fact, I asked the winemaker how long they last and she said her favourite right now is the 1997! Everything I’m looking for in a luxury Chardonnay; richness, layers of nuance, and impeccable balance.
Weinbach Pinot Gris Cuvee St. Catherine 2003 (Alsace, France) 80
Weinbach makes the most finesse-laden and bright wines in Alsace, which, in a ripe year like 2003, is really a good thing, especially 10 years after the fact. The acidity, somtimes lacking in other producers’ offerings, make this a lovely wine with some time in the bottle.
Quota 600 Etna Bianco 2010 (Mount Etna, Sicily) 85
I’m not going to do something crazy like have a Sicilian white as my most expensive white on the list unless it’s some pretty darned amazing juice. And this is. Made of Carricante and Cataratto (two indigenous grapes), this wine is a bit like White Burgundy with some ripe and floral peach notes added on the nose. Still, this impressive beauty is framed with astute minerality.
Red Wines By the Glass
Moillard Les Violettes Cotes du Rhone 2011 (Rhone Valley, France)
An absolute textbook example of the charming fruit and nuanced earthiness that Cotes du Rhone should be. From the plums and raspberry on the palate, to the peppery notes on the finish, this wine totally delivers.
Torremoron Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo) Vintage 2012 (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
Ribera del Duero, a region in Spain long known for making some of the most impressive and age-worthy wines in the world, had begun producing some more accessible versions of late. This is one of those. Certainly loaded with deep and structured fruit, it’s just that the tannins (and price tag) are a bit easier to handle. Perfect for this cold weather.
Catena Vista Flores Vinyard Malbec 2011 (Mendoza, Argentia)
The standard bearer in Argentina for decades, Catena’s wines always have such a finesse and polish to round out the ample and satisfying Malbec. This bottling, sourced from one vineyard is not quite as weighty or tannic as some of their offerings, but has plenty of stuffing and is certain to please.
Badia Coltibuono Chianti “Centamura” 2012 (Tuscany, Italy)
An entry-level Chianti from an outstanding producer that does a fine masquerade as one costing a good bit more. I often say that, when particularly nice, Chianti should show both earthiness and nice fruit. That, when inexpensive, they typically just give you one of the other. Sometimes, you get both.
Etude “Lyric” Pinot Noir 2012 (Santa Barbara, CA)
This wine is an absolute steal, sourced from a single, well-reputed vineyard (Fiddlestix) in Santa Barbara, this wine has the pedigree and taste of wines that cost twice as much if not more. But, for some reason, it doesn’t. I love this wine for the list because it’s generous and easy to like, but still entirely correct and legit enough for the purists out there.
Red Wines By The Bottle Only
Terra d’Oro Deaver Vineyard Zinfandel 2011 (Amador County, CA) 50
130 year old vines (yes, you read that correctly) from a single vineyard, yield a Zin that is certainly ripe and robust, but so much more regal than you might expect. There are just layers and layers of nuance to go with the abundance of fruit, that you’ll be excited about this wine to the last glass.
Proprieta Sperino Uvaggio (Nebbiolo blend) 2009 (Coste della Sesia, Italy) 65
This blend of mostly Nebbiolo and some grapes that neither you nor I have ever heard of, acts like a particularly pretty and lighter-styled Barolo. Still enough friendly juice to carry the nuance, but nuance is still the name of the name of the game here.
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Napa Valley, California) 65
This winery always has had a place in my heart as it was my father’s favourite. Turns out, he was on to something. Their wines are uncommonly accessible upon release and yet have the profundity you expect from a Napa Cab. An altogether delicious wine.
Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR) 75
Just slightly on the ripe side of textbook for an Oregon Pinot. And, frankly, is that really a bad thing? I mean, don’t get me wrong, this does all the things you want it to, it just does them with a smile.
Bricco Rocche Barolo (Brunate Vineyards) 2000 (Piedmonte, Italy) 150
This is not a blend of the two vineyards. Rather, we have one bottle from each for sale. 2000 was an exceptional vintage and this is an outstanding producer. Plus, the wines have had at least a little time in bottle, so they should provide an exceptional drinking experience. And, it’s at a great price.
Sparkling Wines By The Glass
Charles Bove Brut (Loire Valley, France)
A remarkable sparkling Vouvray that is exotic and nuanced, but still refined enough to quench even the Champagne lover’s pallete without breaking the bank. It’s as bright and cheery as your holiday season should be this year, so grab a glass!
Cleto Chiarli e Figli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena 2012 (Italy)
About four of us tasted this wine when it was presented the other week and everyone fell head over heels for it. It’s fruity as all get-out, but unlike most Lambrusco, is not really sweet at all. Just disarming, delicious, beautifully pink, and looking for a party.
Sparkling Wines By the Bottle Only
Laurent-Perrier Brut L-P Champagne (Tours-sur-Marne, France) (375ml) 30
Stylishly hemmed and loaded with finesse- just like it should be. Even better, it’s just a little bottle, so you and your date can have a glass of the real thing before moving on.
La Croix Des Vainqueurs 2009 (Loire Valley, France) 50
This is a top of the line 100% Chenin Blanc Cuvee Vouvray from a small family producer. It’s just as soultry, abundant, and nervy as a magnificent Champagne, just for a fraction of the price.
Thierry Triolet Brut Champagne NV (Bethon, France) 65
This is an exceptional value for Champagne. Classic delicacy and vibrancy, just a touch of yeast on the finish, and enough dosage so that you don’t have to work to hard.
Duval Leroy Brut Rosé Champagne NV (Vertus, France) 85
It’s almost cliché. When you simply can’t figure out what’s going to go with what you’re eating, go with Rose Champagne, or “Burgundy with bubbles” I like to say.