Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Reds from California

Winter in California

What is it about the holiday season that brings so much joy yet so much stress? There’s just so much pressure to do all the extra things we do, and to do it right. Entertaining, selecting gifts, getting gifts to their destinations, attending all the parties, the list goes on and on.

Let grape goddess® lighten your load. Here are my picks in California reds that will impress your friends and family as we wrap up tumultuous 2013.

-          NV Tess Red & White Blend Napa Valley $20
Technically not  a red, it is just so delicious and different I had to include it. From Lisa and Arianna Peju, this fruity blend of Bordeaux grapes, Zinfandel, and even Sauvignon Blanc spends 10 months in French oak but is light on its feet. It is slightly sweet with bright watermelon and berry fruit and is incredibly refreshing. Perfect alone or with spicy or teriyaki wings.

-          NV Troublemaker Blend 7 Paso Robles $20
Hope Family Wines created this multi-vintage multi-grape Syrah-based blend to offer a crowd pleasing style at a crowd pleasing price, and they nailed it. One sip of this velvety, spicy and fruity red and there is no going back.

-          2010 Dry Creek Vineyards The Mariner Dry Creek Valley $45
This elegant, carefully crafted Meritage, or Bordeaux blend, mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is rich and fruity with notes of cherry, cassis, plum, tobacco and vanilla bean. Decant for aeration or stash in the cellar for a few years.

-          2009 Kenwood Vineyards Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $60
Artist Markus Linnenbrink created the label for this 35th Artist Series release and it is as stunning as the wine. With layers of blackcurrant, plum, fig and bing cherry fruit, along with earthy white pepper and a touch of Italian black, slightly bitter licorice, this complex Cabernet is a must have for any serious collector.

-          2011 McGah Family Cellars Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford-Napa Valley $60
Pure decadence in a glass, this rich, velvety Cabernet is an attention-grabber. With dark berry fruit, dark chocolate notes, cigar box and Maduro cigar notes, it is wonderful way to warm up by the fireplace. E. W. McGah co-founded the Oakland Raiders football franchise in the 1960’s and it stayed with the family until 2005.

-          2010 Lineage Livermore Valley $145
Only four vintages in, this effort from Livermore’s Steven Mirassou, himself a sixth-generation winemaker, is culled from the top 5% of Bordeaux grapes, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. Only six barrels of this Meritage, or Opus-One style were produced. With layers of deep, blackcurrant and cherry fruit, dried herbs, and warm, spicy oak notes, this is a wine to cherish.

-          2009 Lange Twins Centennial Zinfandel Lodi $60

With access to some of the finest vines in Lodi – the Lange family is in their third generation – Lange Twins continues to produce some of the area’s finest and most serious wines. This Centennial effort is the result of fruit from 103-year old vines, and is intense, rich, vibrant, and complex with notes of blackberry compote, blueberry, chocolate-covered cherry, vanilla bean, and finely ground black peppercorn. Decant for aeration and enjoy!

© Copyright 2014 Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, Planet Grape LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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