Another Seasonal Thought

Some of you have seen this blog post before, but a number of members asked me to repeat it. I think it is as true this year as it was last year, and for generations before that, so here it goes.

Conventional thinking tends to relegate Champagne and other fine sparkling wines to special occasions, late night parties, and New Year’s Eve.  To that I say “humbug.” Champagne is a wine for all seasons, and since every day ought to be a celebration, why not pour yourself a glass of Champagne on a cold, rainy day as well as a warm, sunny day?  Why limit the pleasure of good bubbly to a few occasions or just one time of year?  Furthermore, good sparkling wine, and Champagne in particular, cheers the heart as well as the palate.  Personally, I like Champagne at all times of the year, and I especially enjoy it as an aperitif and a prelude to a fun evening.  It cleanses the palate and enlivens the soul.  I believe it was Winston Churchill who once remarked, “In the time left to us between the disaster and the catastrophe, there is time for a glass of Champagne.” To that I will pop a few corks and add Amen!

And after the Champagne, I will open up the best mature white and red wines from my cellar and give thanks for the Holidays and all those who have made my lot in life possible.  Cheers!  All the best to everyone in life and the New Year!


Don’s December Collector’s Series Top Picks

Collector Series Top Picks are always the most challenging.  How do I exclude a wine our tasting panels have deemed highly desirable and chosen as a monthly feature and then say “sorry, guy, you’re good but your two buddies are better . . . you’re out of here.”  Harsh, don’t you think, and not exactly in the spirit of the season?  Consequently, I’m going to make a case for all three of this month’s selections. 

For starters, it’s hard to imagine a Châteauneuf-du-Pape better than Domaine du Grand Tinel’s Cuvée Alexis Establet.  It’s from a great producer in an awesome vintage, and it has garnered top ratings from the most discerning critics.  Moreover, it gets my nod.  The only caveat is this: the 2010 Cuvée Alexis Establet is an infant.  To drink it now wouldn’t be a catastrophe, but putting it down for a few years will handsomely reward your patience. 

Fournier’s Cuvée Silex Sancerre is another exciting wine from one of France’s most esteemed producers.  This limited bottling of Sancerre rarely makes it to the US and is a true collectable among Sancerre aficionados.  It, too, is a baby, but what a beauty she is. 

Last but not least, Albert Pasanau’s Ceps Nous Priorat may very well be the finest quality and value one can find today from Spain’s fabled Priorat.  The 2010 Ceps Nous is simply delicious now and promises even more in the years to come.  A votre santé

Don’s December Premier Series Top Picks

My first top pick this month has to be the 2004 Château Laronde Desormes. This exceptional effort came straight from the château’s cellar.  It highlights just how good a Petit Château Bordeaux can be from a serious producer such as Laronde Desormes.  In addition, mature Bordeauxis hard to find and typically fabulously expensive.  To offer an authentic château bottled Bordeauxat its prime to our Premier Series members warms my heart.  Be sure to decant this exceptional offering and enjoy it with a fine meal.  Equally impressive is Massone’s 2011 Vignetto Masera Gavi – a perennial favorite.  Bright and fresh like the living waters of a high mountain stream Massone’s Gavi earns special feature status this month, too.  It always makes me wonder if the water from the mythical “Fountain of youth” could taste any fresher or be any more vibrant than Massone’s Masera Gavi.  However, these Top Picks shouldn’t take anything away from this month’s other selections: Nino Franco’s seductive Prosecco and Château de St. Lager’s delicious Brouilly.  A votre santé.

Tis the Season to Drink Fine Wine . . .

home wine cellarAs the Holidays approach my thoughts turn to the meaning and purpose of the season.  My taste buds, however, veer straight to the most venerable part of my wine cellar where the most mature and memorable wines await coveted invitations to grace holiday tables.

The season between Thanksgiving and New Years is rich with occasions to share the finest wines one has to offer.  It’s also the ideal time to consider giving the gift of wine.  Yes, I am quite predictable; I like to offer wine to those who enjoy it or even to those have never found a wine they liked.  The latter are often the most fun because rare is the person who has tasted enough wine to justify the aversion.  I thrive on the challenge, and I am thrilled when a wine illuminates the senses and captures the noses and palates of theretofore non-believers.

So, few are surprised when I arrive at their doorsteps bearing gifts of Bordeaux and Barolo, Chardonnay and Champagne.  Perhaps, my friends and family are just being polite, but invariably the bottles all lay empty by the end of the evening or disappear within a matter of days from the wine rack where they were put to rest.  So, I will continue to share the fruits of my labor and come bearing gifts that I hope will be akin to liquid gold, aromatic intrigue, and sensual delight.  In truth, it’s my way of sharing a little bit of what’s good and even special about life during the hectic Holiday Season.  It’s also my way of saying thank you for the many gifts I have received in life from family, friends, and acquaintances.

A votre santé