Category Archives: Staff Picks

12 wines to buy on 12-12-12 for the 12 days of Christmas

It’s 12-12-12, the last time the month, day and year will perfectly align until the next century. Since most of us won’t be around then, for those who find luck in numbers, it’s a big day. We like it because we can do fun things like offer 12% off 12 bottles and other 12 combinations.

So I’m pulling out my top 12 bottles for the holidays here. For MY 12 bottles, I’d choose these, each with a purpose for this holiday season.

The white splurge:  Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2009 – this Margaret River wine is like Australia’s Montrachet (I know, don’t you hate it when people compare wine to Burgundy?). Hands down one of my favorite Chardonnay and perfect for a holiday splurge.

The red splurge: Antinori Tignanello 2009 – okay, so if you drink this now, you’d have to decant it for a long time… but everyone should try a “Tig” and the ’09 was a beautiful vintage.

The bubble splurge:Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee – I could drink Krug everyday and twice on Sundays and claim a very happy life. A rich and full-bodied bubbly, this is the wine to buy should you be able to drop the dough on bubbles :)

The perfect dinner whiteChehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011 – It holds up to savory and spice as well as rich and creamy. With a perfect balance of racy acidity, floral notes and sweet fruit, this wine is a great match for the dinner table.

The perfect dinner red: Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir 2010 – Thank goodness it’s easier to find a Pinot Noir under $20 these days. Artesa consistently delivers, with rich fruit and bright acid, a palate-pleaser and food-friendly of course.

The perfect party bubbly: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava – I could try to be creative, but won’t bother -this bubbly is a go-to for parties. It’s great year after year, always a top-seller and always a great value. Can’t beat it.

The perfect party white: La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc 2011 – my parents buy this by the case as it’s a perfect everyday or party sipper. It has no fake oak or sweet aftertaste, just clean, crisp and easy-drinking.

The perfect party redd’Arenberg Stump Jump Red 2010 – easy going and easy drinking. That’s what you want in a party wine, and the Stump Jump is perfect for that. It’s an all-season wine (great for summer, winter and all if it in-between).

Date night wine:  Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 – it’s a sexy bottle, a seductive wine and needs nothing to pair with it but a little romance.

Hostess gift wine: Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut – bubbles are perfect for the hostess-with-the-mostest, and Schramsberg Mirabelle is a delicious wine that is perfect to serve at a party or with a meal.

Wine for toasting: Canard-Duchene Authentic Brut Rose – I had to make up a subject to get this bottle of bubbles in – one of my favorites, especially for the price. It’s lovely in the glass, great bubbles and flavors from start to finish.

The wine that goes with everything: Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling 2011 – obviously it has to be a Riesling… and this particular bottle, which marries fruit, acidity and sweet in delicious harmony, can go on any table and in any glass and be well-suited there.

Pick out your 12 for 12-12-12. It’s a day to celebrate and wine is certainly the way to go.

Staff Pick: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001

Wine: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: What do you get when you have a Rioja that’s sexy, earthy, spicy with a long, lasting finishing for only $30? A killer wine that I personally want to stock up on. This Rioja is a medium bodied wine with well-developed structure creating a silky mouthfeel that is delicious. This wine is loaded with red and black berries, red cherry, vanilla, baking spices but also has an earthy undertone with tobacco and leather notes. An excellent, affordable Rioja outstanding to enjoy now or stock up on and save a few bottles to enjoy in the years to come!

Enjoy this wine with a juicy lamb burger piled high with bacon, empanadas, grilled lamb chops and roasted duck. For a vegetarian option, try a Spanish grilled or smoked eggplant dish. Also pairs well with smoked and cured cheeses.

{80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha}

 

Staff Pick: Firestone Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: The Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is a beautiful example of a Cabernet coming out of the Central Coast of California. It is smooth, supple and extremely food friendly. This wine is loaded with dark, juicy fruits such as blackberry, black currant and black cherry. The chocolate, mocha and cedar notes also contribute to the richness and depth of this wine.
This is an excellent, affordable Cabernet to enjoy any night of the week. Enjoy this wine with a juicy burger,  grilled steak, meat lovers pizza or lamb chops.

{88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot}

Staff Pick: La Marca Prosecco

Wine: La Marca Prosecco
Reviewer:
 Eileen
Rating:
 4 stars

Review: This Prosecco is an all-around pleasure to drink.  It is one of those slightly sweet-to-dry delights that will please anyone at the dinner table or party.  It’s scarily good, I sipped it a little too fast because I was so taken by the first sip.  How can I explain crisp, yet creamy?  I’m certainly buying this wine again as an every day celebration since it’s so accessible at under $15.  A true value and a-must-have-on-hand-at-all times kinda wine.

Creating that perfect case

Let’s say you could only order 12 bottles, but you wanted a bit of every style. How do you build that “perfect” case. Since it differs for everyone, we are here to help give you some guidelines, but let you choose the exact bottles! Check out our selections of wines for the perfect case. Order one of each or a few of your favorites. Today we’re offering 10% off a case of wines from our selection. Here’s what we’d pull together – 2 sparkling, 3 whites and 7 reds. Of course a perfect case for you may be all reds. Or no sparkling wines. Or somewhere in between. So mix it up and make it your perfect case. Some ideas for you…

Sparkling
Prosecco: Always a great wine to have on hand for guests or popcorn :)
Other Sparkling: We love Cremant d’Alsace - a great bubbly from France without the Champagne price.

White
Riesling: It’s about having a great food wine, and Riesling offers that.
Pinot Gris: Oregon is the perfect place to snag a richly textured yet refreshing Pinot Gris.
Chardonnay (or other rich white): Because you have to have a Chardonnay in the line up… If not Chardonnay, a decadent Viognier blend.
Chenin Blanc: Underrated, great value and terrific food wine!

Reds
Pinot Noir: Whether you are an Oregon or California follower, a great new world Pinot is a perfect wine for a case. On some days a case of Pinot is my perfect case…
Red Rhone blend : From Australia, California or the Rhone, this style of wine is one of those perfect food wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend: California makes some great ones, though you’ll find delicious examples of this grape just about everywhere! We selected our favorites in this Perfect Case list.
South American blend: Between Malbec and Carmenere, South America has some incredible wines. They are mixing it up and making delicious blends, which our some of our (and the critics!) favorites right now.
Italian Gem: Have to have an Italian red in the mix. Great food wine, classic example of old world style.
Aussie Shiraz: Gone are the it-tastes-like-a-$10-wine and here are some great examples of quality Australian wine – it’s what they do best!

Enjoy building your case!