Of all holiday gatherings at the end of the year, no one is able to be more varied in food and the festive mixture of thanks. It is often more than a family aggregation as the welcoming embrace widens to include colleagues from work or school, neighbors, friends.
As we arrive, there is no time to limit the choice of wine to a variety or style. To help hosts make a few choices to surprise and enjoy such a variety of visitors and to host a wide variety of dishes, here is a suggested shopping list based on the most impressive wines that I have tasted this year and run largely at options can be found here. The list was drawn primarily on Thanksgiving, but it is also suitable for other seasonal parties:
For the visitors
No drink says "welcome" with more excitement and courtesy of sparkling wine, and California today produces the most varied, interesting and accessible sparkling wines on the planet. Surely, champagne is still setting the bar for dramatic, romantic and durable bubbles, but California decades have made tremendous discipline and passion in style over the past few decades, releasing ever more credible interpretations.
One of California's first adapters was the Roederer Estate in the Anderson valley of Mendocino County. Every year at this moment I find myself throwing in the basket or eating some bottles of Roederer's non-vintage Brut, a model of balance, freshness, liveliness and perseverance. At the Mendocino County wine trade fair in Ukiah in August, the judges agreed that it was the best spiker in the field. It's widely available in Sacramento but the shop around; I've seen the price range from $ 18 to $ 31.
The biggest surprise among California sparkling wines this year was Francis Ford Coppola Winery 2017 Monterey County Sophia Brut Rose ($ 19), a beautiful, lively, pleasantly dried and surprisingly sophisticated blend of pinot noir (80 percent) and chardonnay percent ).
How well California's newest sparkling wine can be in the marketplace is a model of precision, complexity and balance. This would be brass and brass called non-vintage Flaunt Sonoma County Brut ($ 48) by Dianna Novy Lee, who with her husband Adam Lee years ago created the brands Siduri and Novy. Flaunt is a dry and lean mixture of 54% chardonnay from the Russian river valley and 46% pinot noir from the Sonoma coast. It may not yet be on the Sacramento market but can be ordered online at www.flauntwinecompany.com.
One more: The Laetitia Vineyard & Winery bite and bite 2015 Arroyo Grande Valley Brut Rose ($ 36) said the best sparkling wine at the Central Coast Wine Summer Contest in Paso Robles. I have not seen this glamorous, agile and endless spark in the Sacramento market, but if you head to Paso Robles, on Pismo Beach or there during the holiday, watch or invite someone from there to your Sacramento party and leave a trace .
Other firmly reliable brands of sparkling wine from California include Gloria Ferrer, Mumm Napa and Korbel.
Because this was the year of pink wine – it is everywhere, or it is called rose, blush or vin gris – at least one representative of the species should be feasible. You will thank your guests without end if they are the fruity, full of inflatable Boeger Winery 2017 El Dorado Primitivo Rose ($ 18). Primitivo, like sangiovese, faced problems in the US market as red table wine, but both can turn out to be pink versions of unusual rotations and endurance.
Regardless of how inappropriate it can be to eat for rich and spicy carnations, everyone? – Any host who puts visitors first will have at least one of the most popular wine varieties in the country. In this palate, no chardonnay offered much value and fruit this year by Michael David Winery 2016 Lodi Chardonnay ($ 16), which sipped after more sophistication with refreshing tropical and citrus flavors.
But there are many other remarkable chardonnays out there, including the mature and powerful J Vineyards 2016 of the Chardonnay Valley ($ 31), as a fundamental and balanced introduction to the California mainstream with the variety you might find. the equally bold and representative William Hill 2016 North Coast Chardonnay ($ 17), which escapes from entertainment while also providing strange smoke, silk texture and lemon fruit. and the juicy and lively Flora Springs 2017 Napa Valley Family Select Chardonnay ($ 36), as sour and soothing as lemon curd.
Among the red wines, nobody is more traditional and popular than the cabernet sauvignon. As with chardonnay, the market is full of things. The best buy in cabernet sauvignon that I met this year was Sean Minor in 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($ 25), which captured the influence and elegance for which Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon is celebrated but at a price rarely named. If this can not be found, do not remove the spiritual Sean Minor 2016 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($ 16), almost as concentrated and unexpected as the Napa Valley.
Other commendable buzzers to watch include the deeply colored and well-built Penley Estate 2016 Coonawarra Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon ($ 15, at Costco), filled with so many eucalyptus suggestions that would please the Koala in the family. the concentrated and flexible Rodney Strong Vineyards 2014 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($ 28), which captures all the grace and sophistication for which the name is recognized; and the dense and rich berry, yet optimized and vibrant cellar Heitz 2013 2013 Napa Valley Linda Falls The Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard, although at $ 150 the bottle you may want to keep it for an intimate dinner rather than a spacious buffet.
Especially for Thanksgiving, no wine is more traditional American than zinfandel, and certainly colleagues will be waiting for an example that will be feasible. One of the two standouts this year was Easton Wines 2017 Amador County "Lot 1852" Zinfandel ($ 22), a refreshing deviation from the heavy heavyweights usually associated with the Sierra hills. However, while it is profiled and shady in tannin, it is paved with fruit fruits – raspberries, cranberries and strawberries – as well as refreshing acidity.
The other was the front but suave Dry Creek Vineyard 2015 Dry Creek Valley old Zinfandel vine ($ 35), which records the essence of spirit and juicy berry fruit against a faint scenery of oak.
The host who wants to surprise his customers with wines not only polished but also simple, he has an increasingly rich choice to choose from. One of the most impressive variations in the wine we tested this year came from a completely new source for me, the cooperative cellar Cantina Kurtatsch, which draws grapes from the top of the Italian Alto Adige, not far from Austria. Indeed, the refinement and focus of Austrian wines echo Kurtatsch's choices.
The Corti Brothers stockpiled several of these, my favorite is the dry, lean and lively Kurtatsch 2016 Sudtirol Alto Adige Graun Muller Thurgau ($ 24). Muller Thurgau is the grape, a cold resistant cross between the riesling and the royal madeleine grown in Germany in 1882. Graun is the area where grapes are grown. The lively, spicy and peach notes of wine show a little fresher in the vintage of the same wine in 2013, also reported by Corti Brothers ($ 36).
California County Lake County is largely recognized for cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc and petite sirah, but watch for the cabernet franc from the region, particularly the Steele Wines 2015 Lake County Cabernet Franc ($ 19). It is a big market that runs on the cherry / berry side of the variety more than the plant, with a wonderful herbal aroma, a thrilling licorice thread, and the kind of vivid acidity to make it versatile on the table.
As with pink wines, this was the year when wine racks and restaurant wine lists saw the increase in wine grains, especially in informal mixes. A special view is the fresh, juicy and extremely sophisticated Sean Minor 2014 North Coast Nicole Marie Blend ($ 22), which is based on half to merlot but also includes petite sirah, petit verdot and zinfandel from various names, including Mendocino and Lake.
Grenache is another black grape, which gains traction on the American wine scene. Many are light and straight ahead, but the bright, fragrant and sweet fruity Iron Hub 2014 Shenandoah Valley Estate Grenache ($ 25) has stood out for its unusual complexity. This could be for the hint of 9 percent mourvedre that brought yarns from the earth and licorice to the grenache chip. The fact that wine was spent almost two years in the French and Hungarian oak barrels also helps to explain its coating.
Wine Judge and Competition Judge Mike Dunne's choices are based solely on open and blind tasting trials, competitions and visits to wine-growing areas. It can reach [email protected]