It is finally here, the end of a crazy political year, and if you are like me, you need a drink. I am not proposing all-day drinking binges as you watch the results, but let’s face it, a few glasses might take the edge off no matter which way the votes go. So, let’s toast to red, white, and rosé.
And, if you haven’t done so already, get out there today and VOTE!
We may think rose wine is best enjoyed in the summertime. But dry rosé options, still and sparkling, are agreeable any time of year. Fresh and lively, rosé wines pair perfectly with everything from grilled or poached fish and shellfish, spicy Thai, sushi, and stir-fry, roasted chicken or pork, to the entire Thanksgiving meal.
As we hope to be celebrating on Tuesday night, try your rosé with bubbles.
Blending biodynamically farmed Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, and Sankt Laurent, Austria’s Lorimer Brut Rosé Reserve ($30) shows bright red fruit notes of red cherry, raspberry, and wild strawberry with a hint of creaminess on the finish. The Franciacorta region of Italy is vying to be as well known for its traditional method produced sparkling wines as Champagne.
Using the same varieties as France’s famed region, grown in northern sun-drenched Italy, the sparklers are juicy, fruit-forward, and fresh. Pinot Noir based Barone Pizzini Rosé Franciacorta DOCG ($50) showcases savory toastiness with red fruit, purple flowers, baking spice, and brioche.
Frank Family Brut Rosé ($55) from Carneros showcases predominantly Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay to create a lively, refreshing bubbly produced in the traditional Methode Champenoise. Aged three years en triage (on the yeasts) the luscious wine layers red apple, red cherry, and strawberry shortcake with cream.
As the weather has cooled off in many parts of the country, white wines with a bit more richness and texture are ideal to warm you from the inside out. Chardonnay is a perfect go-to for cool weather sipping, particularly those that are barrel fermented and aged in oak. Selections like Trefethen ($30), Grgich Hills Napa Valley ($43), Jordan Russian River Chardonnay ($35), Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay ($38), Oceano Chardonnay ($38) from SLO Coast, Gran Moraine Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay ($45), Adelsheim Staking Claim ($35), and Argyle Nuthouse Chardonnay ($45) are all ideal options for toasting from now through the holiday season.
Elegant and rich, like all of Ram’s Gate Chardonnay options, Ram’s Gate Durell Vineyard Chardonnay ($70) layers creamy lemon curd, caramel, golden apple, spiced almonds, and hazelnut. Beautifully structured and complex, enhanced by 20 months of aging in new and neutral French oak.
Oregon Pinot Gris, similar in style to many of the wines of Alsace, shines with alluring freshness while displaying fruit-forward, ripe citrus, melon, and orchard fruit notes. Willamette Valley Vineyards ($17), Chehalem ($20) , Ponzi ($19), and Cedar +Salmon ($19) are ideal options, along with Chemistry.
A collaborative project between Stoller Family Vineyards and Chehalem, Chemistry Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ($14) showcases the inherent juiciness of the variety, melding tropical mango and papaya, with ripe golden peach, and lemon ice-box pie.
Though I can enjoy a light-bodied, fresh, high acid red wine, like a Barbera or Pinot Noir, every night, the season and the election require something with a bit more oomph. I have been a fan of the Nebbiolo variety from Italy’s Piemonte since starting to learn about wine. Dense, intense, and tannic, the bold variety screams “I have oomph!” along with exemplary finesse.
For over 140 years Enrico Serafino has been producing Barolo from the rolling hillsides of Piemonte. Monclivoo refers to these steep hillsides, giving the Enrico Serafino “Monclivio” Barolo DOCG ($46) an extra note of earthiness, with black cherry, tar, wild roses, and truffle.
Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolo DOCG ($40) layers leather, tobacco, black fruit, dried roses, and violets. Pair this beauty with wild mushroom risotto, rack of lamb, or braised beef.
Balanced and textured, with mineral-rich earthiness, Selvapiana’s Villa di Petrognano Pomino Rosso DOC ($21) is from the tiny village of Pomino within Tuscany, Italy. Vineyards in the region sit at 1200-2300 feet above sea level, the highest in Tuscany. The wine blends 60% Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot creating a savory wine with ripe red fruits, olive, crushed stone, and woody herb.
Blending Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah from Monterey’s Hames Valley, Very Dark Red ($25) is a full-bodied powerhouse layering black cherry, black plum, and blackberry. Though the wine is juicy, filled with ripe fruit flavors and bold tannins, there is also freshness thanks to extreme day-to-night temperature shifts, helping lock in acidity, creating a multi-dimensional wine.
Winemaker Josh Phelps was not likely thinking of the election when he named his Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Steady State, but don’t we all just hope for that? Instead, he pays homage to Napa Valley and its history of traditions while celebrating innovations and new ideas. From fruit grown throughout Napa Valley, Grounded Wine Company Steady State Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) is rich and ripe, layering ripe cherry and blackberry with woody herbs like rosemary and thyme, dark spice, and toasted cedar.
Created to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, Victory Day 1945 ($45) may be the perfect wine for November 3, 2020, as it honors the free world coming together to celebrate peace. Melding Sonoma-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, the untraditional red blend is bold and dense, opening with aromas of blackberry, cassis, and spice, followed by flavors of black fruit, licorice, and dark chocolate. Bonus, $1 of every bottle is donated to charities helping veterans.