A Few Holiday Wine Picks – A merlot, pinot and a port

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Whether you’re celebrating at a holiday party, or unwinding from the stress caused by overcrowded shopping malls, the seasons are much merrier when we drink something a little more special.  I’m sure it’s been a difficult year for many, so as we head into the home stretch before the big day, make sure to treat yourself by opening that dusty bottle in the cellar you’ve been waiting to uncork all year long, but just couldn’t find the right occasion to do it.   If you don’t have a cellar stocked with quality bottles, here are a couple of recommended purchases for the upcoming weekend:

selenemerlot

2006 Selene “Frediani” Merlot – This is a great bottle to turn even the most staunch haters of merlot into avid lovers.  I’ve briefly touched on Mia Klein’s wines before and I’ll  do it again, because I love her wines.  She has a deft touch and in tasting this   wine, you get a sense of her wine making style.  The wine is smooth, velvety and caressing.  It’s not a powerful wine, but like her “Chessler” cab franc bottling, its still concentrated and packed with flavor.  The wine hovers around forty bucks, but the quality of the wine coupled with the holiday season really make it seem like a bargain.


morgan-bottle-pn-rosellas

2005 Morgan “Rosella’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir – If you like a pinot noir with guts and brawn, then this is the one for you.  The wine’s regional character of beets, cloves and earth are indicative of  Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir.  This could definitely stand up to that holiday roast just as well as it could work with that simple grilled salmon.  Morgan winery is a producer whose wines I really like.  From their Cotes du Crow (a take on Cotes du Rhone wines) syrah & grenache blend to their single vineyard pinots and chardonnays, I’ve never been disappointed.  Retails for around $55 – $60.

Graham’s 20 Year Tawny Port or any tawny port – grahamGraham’s tends to be on the sweeter side of the spectrum for ports for me, but what the heck, isn’t sugar and spice and everything nice, what the holidays are all about anyway?  Tawny ports are made from traditional Portuguese red grape varities and are aged in wood barrels for long periods of time.  This eventually lead to the wine oxidizing and evaporating and is what gives the tawny its distinctive nutty character.  The finished product is a blend of various vintages that make up a house style and the number you see appended to the label, 20 year, 30 year etc. is the average amount of time the wine spent in “wood.”  As you can see, a lot goes into making these fine drinks.  You’ve got to appreciate this time honored tradition of port making and that in itself should be a reason to go out and buy one for the season.  Retails for around $40 – $50.

What are you planning on busting out for the holidays?

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