Yes, it is upon us, the holiday season. This is the season when we find ourselves spending our time and money on everyone else but ourselves. Two months of being pulled in every direction possible. With that in mind I’ll keep it short and sweet, shooting it to you straight, three wines that make me smile. From the Rust region, here is… 2004 Heidi Schrock Muscat ($21.99) This spicy little beauty will just make you tingle inside. Made up of 40% gelber muskateller, 20% ottonel muskateller, 40% sauvignon blanc and a whole lot of love, this is a must have. Fragrances of a newly flowered spring meadow race around the rim of the glass. I swear I saw a couple of fairies from the land of Aromatica, it’s a fairly new country, that came flying out of the bottle when it was uncorked. When I finally decided to find out what the rest of this wine had to offer I took a sip. A feeling of brilliant purity zipped across my palate backed up by a freshness of pears that are interlaced with mint and crystal clear water from the high mountains. From the Kamptal region I give you… 2004 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner “Gobelsburger” ($13.99) A lighter, polished style of Grüner, with an unexpected, hidden core of fruit that will, truly, make you smile. A truly classic Grüner, aromas of a peppery earthiness linked with a racy acidity that will tantalize your palate, leaving you with the realization that you just got one heck of a wine for, only fourteen bucks. And last but not least, from the region of Mittelburgenland, here is… 2003 Paul Lehrner Claus ($16.99) A vibrant, juicy red blended from 85% zweigelt and 15% blaufränkisch. Here is a wine you don’t have to put away and forget about for years and years. Drink it today, or tomorrow if that is better for you! This is really a warm, delicious wine packing quite a bit of life. A bit of smokiness, a hint of fresh herbs and just enough acidity to make everything balance out, it’s a quaffer!!! —Eric Story
2004 Marques de Riscal Rueda Verdejo ($6.99) This awesome Verdejo reminds me of a NZ Sauvignon Blanc—dry, crisp with great body and charm. It’s a perfect pick for cocktail party snacks! 2000 Mont Marçal Brut Reserva Cava ($11.99) Is there a better way to begin a fiesta than with a glass of bubbly? The Mont Marcal is one of the best Cavas around. Rich and creamy with a crisp finish, this wine from the Penedes is sure to please even the fussiest palate! 2004 Valminor Albariño, Rias Baixas ($11.99) 2004 is an truly great vintage for white wines in Spain. The Valminor Albarño is one of the most charming wines of the vintage. From the seductive aromas of white peach and citrus blossoms to the long crisp finish, this wine is perfect with any seafood or with a plate of fruit and cheese! 2002 Vina Alarba Old Vines Pago San Miguel ($14.99) 90 points Robert Parker: “...a blend of 85% old vine Grenache and 15% Syrah aged in French oak for six months prior to bottling. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple color, fine elegance, serious concentration, sweet black cherry and currant scents intermixed with resiny, forest floor characteristics, and medium body. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. This is a ridiculously priced bargain!” Try with braised beef short ribs! 2000 Finca Villacreces Reserva, Ribera de Duero ($28.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “One of the best kept secrets of Ribera del Duero, Finca Villacreces produces a sexy red from 75% Tempranillo and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged 14 months in new and one-year old French casks, this 2,000-case cuvee exhibits a deep ruby/purple color along with a bouquet of smoky hickory wood, barbecue spices, vanilla, black currants, cherries, melted asphalt, and licorice. The complex aromatics are followed by a delicious, fruit-driven, opulent, medium to full-bodied offering with no hard edges. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.” (04/04) Buen Cata y Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett
Wow, November already. Time sure flies when you’re selling wine. I thought about writing on holiday wines. No, it’s been done. So, here are a new wines that I thought were worth a look. 2001 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($54.99) Cathy has created a gem this vintage. Her wines are always balanced and perfect for drinking or aging. Red fruit and chocolate with hints of mineral and spice make this one of my favorite wines of 2001. A popular wine with the Francophiles who work in San Francisco. I just had the 1996 in London, and it was almost perfect. 2001 Corison “Corazon” Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer ($19.99) Produced since 1999, this is rarely seen in stores. Alsatian in style, this wine shows touches of pear and grapefruit and a little smokiness. Fermented to complete dryness. It doesn’t get any better than this. 2001 Paradise Ridge “Elevation” Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.99) A fantastic price on this Rockpile Vineyard Cabernet. 89% cabernet with a little merlot and petit verdot, this wine jumps right out at you with dark fruit and oak. A bright finish with long, lush tannins. 2003 Cristom “Mt. Jefferson Cuvee” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($25.99) Always a great drinking pinot, the 2003 definitely has a little more forward fruit. The wine shows hints of licorice, tea and earth with light tannin and acidity. Perfect for the holidays. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan
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