Stumped for what to get
your favorite wine blogger that special someone who's been really good this year? Following are some recently reviewed special occasion wines, as well as some memorable wines reviewed earlier in the year. Any of these would make terrific stocking stuffers for the wino in your life. Cheers!
2012 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Hallberg Ranch $45 (Sample)
The in-depth piece on the 2011 wines from this winery explains their unorthodox, ballsy (dry farming Pinot in California?!), and Burgundian approach to winemaking on the Sonoma Coast. It also expressed my excitement to revisit this vineyard in 2012. I am thrilled to report that, while the wine has remained faithful from vintage to vintage in terms of reflection of approach, the contrast between the lackluster 2011 and promising 2012 vintages is also reflected in this brilliant bottle. Exciting, refined, elegant, and multi-dimensional. Certainly more of a mouthful than the 2011, yet still restrained by comparison to California Pinot Noir and not a trace of cloying fruit - a tightrope act achieved with grace. A fantastic experience worth the spend.2010 Don Melchor Cabernet Puente Alto Vineyard Chile $125 (Sample)
Starting with the obvious, the price tag puts this bottle of wine in some rarified company. That it is Chilean makes it even more of a surprise. With that acknowledged, what is under the cork? Plenty of merit, as it turns out. While not characteristically Chilean, it is quite characteristically high-end. From the regal color that bejewels as it's being poured into a glass, to the aromatics that beckon with temptation on approach, to the lingering, flirtatious finish, and everything in between, there is nary a drop out of place. What else? It evolves generously with decantation time. Students of perfection in proportion and balance will find much to obsess over in this wine. By almost every yard stick, this one measures up to outstanding.2012 Stoller Chardonnay Dundee Hills Reserve $35 (Sample)
Sublime. Luxurious scents waft from the glass like a siren's call. The palate is complex and multi dimensional, with such a broad array of flavors that this requires some time to process and digest. There's everything from subtle vanilla and cream to flinty acidity to delicate minerality happening here. Though perhaps a smidge too generous to be a Montrachet, the resemblance is otherwise striking (but at half the price!)
2012 Faust Cabernet Napa Valley $50 (Sample)
Bordering on overwhelming when first opened: rich, powerful, and tense with strong oak. Transformation ensues as air works its magic with dazzling aromatics taking the limelight first, and racy tannins singing chorus. The fruit needs time to ease, but this particular brand of pent-up energy channels both near term vigor and long term vibrancy. Mamma! As eve becomes night, the excitement builds, density and power remains undiminished, and the bottle is (sadly) empty. Bravo.
2010 Lenotti Le Crosare Ripasso $30
Though priced closer to an Amarone than a typical Ripasso, it's in a leauge of its own. An absolute delight of a wine. Charming, gregarious, and outwardly delicious. Universal appeal. Hot damn!
2011 Louis Martini Cabernet Alexander Valley $30 (Sample)A shocker of a wine, especially considering that it's from the difficult 2011 vintage. Rich, dense, and coarsely textured, this full-bodied Cab is remarkably delicious. Not at all subtle, nor for the faint of heart. This big boy has dusty tannins that are nicely integrated into its broad frame. You almost need a knife and a fork for this one. YUM.
Finally, for the saint on your Christmas shopping list...the Lodi Native six pack: