Reasons to be happy… wine style!
I like sharing a good bottle of wine to mark a special occasion.
But, like so many fine wine lovers, I also believe a bottle of vino can turn an average meal into something extraordinary and special.
Here are a few picks for the coming months.
Trentadue 2012 La Storia Zinfandel
(Sonoma County, California)
Red wine lovers will adore this gorgeous, rich Zinfandel, from a family-owned Sonoma winery that regularly sells their grapes to Ridge, one of California’s star wineries. La Storia has delicious notes of cherries and cola; I love it paired with a lamb tagine, but I’d try it with Italian sausages, too. About $35.
Township 7 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Okanagan Valley, British Columbia)
Township 7 hired a new winemaker this year; Mary McDermott worked at some of Canada’s finest wineries, including Stratus Vineyards, Cave Spring, Peller Estates, Trius and Thirty Bench before heading to the Okanagan. Expect to see the quality of Township 7’s wines continue to excel. She didn’t work on the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s gorgeous just the same, with those typical Cab notes of blackberry, olive and mint. Pair with roast beef or steak. About $28.
Taittinger non-vintage Brut Reserve
Real Champagne is the perfect way to celebrate some of life’s special moments: New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or perhaps an upcoming engagement party or wedding. This crisp, lemony example from Taittinger is Chardonnay-based and beautifully reliable, time after time. Don’t miss the fun bubble-box packaging. Serve chilled, with a variety of aperitifs, or just enjoy by itself. About $70.
Mayu 2013 Pedro Ximenez Reserva
(Elqui Valley, Chile)
From some of the highest vineyards in Chile, this zingy, bright, bargain-priced white wine is made from Pedro Ximenez grapes, which are typically used in Spain’s famous sherries. This is no sherry, though. It’s a value-priced table wine with an intriguing note of licorice, and a refreshing minerality — wet rocks, but in the very best way. One for fans of Sauvignon Blanc, and for anyone looking to try something rather unusual in our market. About $16.
Pasion de Bobal
Pasion means, of course, “passion” in English, setting the tone for a perfect Lovers’ Day wine. And indeed, there is so much to love about this romantic rosé. All organic, it’s made from Bobal grapes, grown on vines at least 60 years old or older. Very light salmon coloured, it’s dry, with notes of raspberries and redcurrant. Serve with smoked salmon or charcuterie. About $19.
Serendipity 2010 Reserve Serenata
(Okanagan Valley, British Columbia)
Here’s a fine Canadian bottle to open for Easter or celebrating the Spring Equinox. A Bordeaux-style blend, it comes from a small winery located on the Naramata Bench. The winery’s owner, Judy Kingston, thought she’d retire in the Okanagan Valley, but instead found herself converting an old orchard into a gorgeous winery. Powerful and rich, this red blend would be beautiful with steak on the barbecue, or slow-roasted lamb. About $40.
Vina Carmen 2011 Gran Reserva Carmenere
(Colchagua Valley, Chile)
Twenty years ago, the Carmenere grape was rediscovered in Chile, where it was thought to have been wiped out more than 100 years earlier. The find was great news for red wine lovers, as Chile winemakers quickly proved that it could excel throughout the country. This classic example from Carmen has lots of ripe, dark fruit and spice notes, firm tannins and a medium-long finish. Pair with red meats, perhaps game. About $18.
Starmont 2012 Pinot Noir
(Napa Valley, California)
Established in 2006 as an offshoot of the renowned Merryvale Vineyards, Starmont now has its own standalone winery and tasting room, which opens in early 2015 on the historic Stanly Ranch. This beautiful Pinot Noir comes from vineyards on the Napa side of Carneros. It has those classic Pinot notes of cherries and spice, plus incredibly smooth tannins and a finish that just goes on and on. One to drink now with someone you love, or buy extras to enjoy over at least the next five years. About $45.
There you have it: eight wonderful wines for a variety of grown-up occasions, now and for the next few months. Cheers!
— Shelley Boettcher