Well it’s that time of year—resolution time… Ugh. My resolution this year started out with no resolutions, I just didn’t want to let myself down… again. But then I started thinking, what I resolve does not have to be painful, difficult or self-sacrificing. In fact, if I’m creative, it should be something self-fulfilling, even allowing for a bit of luxury. So here goes:
- Get more exercise and reward yourself with a nice glass of wine.
- Eat better and drink better.
- Save money to buy better wine.
- Drink something nice every day.
- Learn something new every day about wine, beer and spirits.
Yes, it’s variations on a theme. I love finding wines, beers, cocktails and components that are unique, artisanal and won’t break the bank. Not always the least expensive, but always providing value and over-delivering for the price. There are so many choices out there and it can be overwhelming wading through the muck. But fear not, my team and I are here to help you find the perfect fit for your palate and your wallet. Here are a few new things we brought in over the holidays, as well as some of our old favorites:
Misfit’s Riesling “The Golem” Adelaide Hills, Australia
This is a really svelte Riesling with green apple and savory herbal notes leading to a rich yet dry palate. The term ‘Golem’ does not hail from the Yiddish one of “dumb” or “helpless,” but rather the ancient Hebrew legend of the Golem. It was thought that Golem was an animate object composed entirely of inanimate mater. In much the same way, this Riesling is alive and vibrant hailing from some gnarly and dry farmed Riesling vines. This is very dry with a lovely oily texture. Regular $17.99. On sale 40% off for $10.79.
Benaza Godello, Monterrei Spain
Alvaro Bueno is a talented winemaker from Monterrei, the furthest inland DO of Galicia. Benaza benefits from cool Atlantic breezes and rocky soils, as well as a slightly warmer climate from its neighboring Dos, lending to its more powerful structure and riper fruit tones. No oak, extended lees contact and unfiltered bottling give this blend of 80 percent Godello, 10 percent Dona Blanca and 10 percent Treixadura its true artisanal character. $17.99
Grey Stack Cellars Rosemary’s Block Sauvignon Blanc, Bennett Valley
Founded in 2004 by Peter Young, Grey Stack Cellars is hidden away in the Bennett Valley AVA in Sonoma County, one of the newest and smallest AVA’s in the United States. Vineyards and farming are truly the heart of Grey Stack Cellars and behind the traditional rock walls that surround the vineyards lies the secret to creating their renegade wines, as the cool marine climate and volcanic soils that can only be found in the microclimates of Bennett Valley. Rosemary’s Block wraps around the palate with gorgeous richness. Lemon peel, white flowers, sage, mint and tomato leaf are some of the many nuances that take shape in this layered, exquisite Sauvignon Blanc. The long, cold growing season has produced a gorgeous Sauvignon full of energy. Regular $38.99. On sale 25% off for $29.24
Chakana Estate Red Blend, Lujan de Cuyo
The 2012 Estate Red is a blend of 60 percent Malbec, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 20 percent Shiraz aged 10 months in 100 percent new French oak. This killer red comes from Chakana’s two well-placed vineyards in Southern Mendoza, Agrelo and Altamira. Aromas of flowers, blackberries, camphor, forest floor and subtle new oak emerge from this full-bodied, textured, opulent blockbuster. Extremely pure and rich, this bargain-priced Malbec should drink well for 6-10+ years. If this were a Napa Valley or Bordeaux red, it would undoubtedly be priced from $150 to $200. Robert Parker 95 points. $26.99
Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Estate
Based on a 1979 Pommard planting peripheral to the estate and supplemented by younger vines from elsewhere on the property, the Bethel Heights 2011 Pinot Noir Estate displays tart-edged dark plum and cherry with a glowingly cyanic enhancement from their pits. Infusions of fresh ginger, black tea, iris root and citrus oils are as vintage-typical as the wine’s brightness of fruit. Firm yet polished at mid-palate, this finishes with zesty invigoration and interactive complexity, benefiting from the levity and prominent acidity that are likewise vintage hallmarks. In short—a quintessential and delightful 2011 Willamette Pinot that offers fine value and ought to delight through at least 2018. Robert Parker 90 points. Regular $39.99. On sale for $29.99
Bergstrom Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve
Assembled from all of their five estate vineyards – and not, he is at pains to emphasize, from “the left-over barrels,” but instead conscientiously over a seven month period, beginning at the earliest stages of elevage – Bergstrom’s 2011 Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve projects dark cherry and plum strongly influenced by tart, taut skin and piquant pit. Smoky black tea and peat lend intrigue, and there is succulence and brightness to spare in the finish, despite a slightly detached note of resin from barrel. A hint of salinity further helps the polish, and juiciness projected on the palate here prevail in a mouthwatering finish. This ought to perform well through at least 2020. Robert Parker 91 points. Regular $45.99. On sale 25% off for $36.79.
Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve
Billecart-Salmon, based in Mareuil-sur-Ay, makes wines in a style that is all about timeless elegance. These Champagnes are characterized by their supreme balance. Much of the aromatic complexity of the wines can be attributed to a preference towards cold temperatures in fermentation, which keeps the wines fresh. The domain uses Burgundian oak barrels for a portion of the wines. The exact amount of batonnage and malolactic fermentation depend on the vintage. Prior to being bottled, the wines are blended in a large steel tank to insure consistency, something the estate takes very seriously. In general, the non-vintage wines receive seven to nine grams of dosage, while the vintage wines have five to seven grams, depending on the year. Regular $65.99. On sale 25% off for $45.99