Holiday Advice – Part 1

17 Dec

I want to hate Michael Buble because he’s so darn popular and cute. But, I have to admit that his Christmas stuff is catchy. And, yes it is Andrew’s Alma Mater wasting study time doing a lip-dub.

I received an email this week asking if there were any Amarones at the mother ship that I’d recommend. It got me to thinking that not everyone uses the duffswines.com Concierge Service. What is it? Well, I will give you advice on almost anything. Cottage book? Got it covered. Music? I’ve got the playlist. Restaurant? Too easy. Over the counter medications? Duh. Love interest? Most definitely.

Back to the Concierge Service. The Amarone request got me to thinking that a post on appropriate splurge holiday wines might be in order. If there were a time of year to splurge on wine, this would be it. So, here goes. We will do this in three parts. BTW, not all wines are ‘real’ splurges..

Big California Cabernet

You may think that since I sometimes dis big California Cabernets, I don’t like them. Not true. What’s not to like? I do think that they are best consumed with food. If like me, you don’t eat a lot of red meat, they just don’t get opened that much. Just to clarify further (this is the dis that I usually fling), I do believe that they can be the most over-priced wine in the store up here in The Great White North. But, all said, they can be really yummy.

montelenaMy closest friends will tell you that I always have a certain label in my cellar – Chateau Montelena. I don’t have a lot of Cali Cabs. So, I stay instead with proven winners. It saves time shopping. You should be able to find a few 2011 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon #718452 $59.95 – can be consumed now with a decant or put down for a few years. I’m kind of an Old World guy and this place makes Cabernet that is a great blend of Old and New. Solid, structured and full of red fruits – judicious use of oak as they say and not too too. Serious wine, if there can be such a thing. And, if that special someone is me, you could splurge further and pick up the 2010 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon #709881 $159.95. Wait, that price seems too high. Yup, it’s only $156.95! This wine seems to shine in even years. Weird that. The 2002 Estate is one of my favourite wines, all time. As with the Veedercrest below, Chateau Montelena participated in the 1976 Judgment of Paris and bested their French competitors.

Other worthy readily available candidates are:

2005 Veedercrest Vinter’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon #377119 $83.95 This is one of the older wineries in California and we seldom get it up here. This is ready to drink NOW or still can sit.

2009 Othello #156539 $42.95 a Bordeaux blend but somewhat cab sav dominated. From Christian Moueix of Jean-Pierre Moueix. They produce Petrus and a host of other massively successful Right Bank Bordeaux. In Napa, he is Dominus Estate.

Sauvignon Blanc

cloudy bayOne of the better white wines for almost any occasion is Sauvignon Blanc. Whether it’s Sancerre or New World. If you read my MWWC13 post you’ll know which splurge Sauvignon Blanc I’m going to recommend – 2012 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc #304469 $31.95. There are so many reasonably priced Kiwi SB’s that you have to ask yourself, “Why splurge?” I get it. There’s Astrolabe, Whither Hills, Seresin – all great wines at 2/3’s the price. But, every once in awhile, you have to go classic. Cloudy Bay is the ‘classic’ Kiwi white. Surprise someone with this wine. For the French take on Sauvignon Blanc – Sancerre, I’ve always found Jolivet the standard. The 2013 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre #264945 $29.95 – balanced and sophisticated. These wines can be stand around wines or served with food that has a little saltiness and pop, especially seafood. Other worthy Sauvignon Blancs:

jolivetAlas, Sancerres are few and far between at the LCBO, so why not it’s cousin Pouilly-Fumé

2013 Domaine Chauveau Pouilly-Fumé #390641 $23.95

2013 Wither Hills #919514 $17.95 Kiwi caselot?

2013 Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc #10421 $22.95 a somewhat atypical Kiwi SB – has some different fruit aromas and flavours

Part Deux: tomorrow

7 Responses to “Holiday Advice – Part 1”

  1. thefoodandwinehedonist December 17, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Great post. To be fair, a lot of other wines are overpriced as well – Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo, Oregon Pinot. $60 for that cab is very reasonable.

    • Duff's Wines December 17, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      True. Bordeaux can be a rip and Burgundy is never affordable. We can get great Barolo up here for OK prices but there are many that are astronomical too. I guess the ones I chafe at are the ‘cult’ cabs which really haven’t achieved any history aside from a high Robert Parker rating. That’s what i like about Chateau Montelena – a lengthy record of excellence, a consistent style and reasonable price. The Estate at $160 is a steal against most other elite cabs.

      • thefoodandwinehedonist December 17, 2014 at 11:59 am #

        Yeah, those cult cabs are nuts. Mostly driven by the market than merit – in this case people with too much money who want to show off. About a year ago i opened a late 70s Montelena CHARDONNAY. The flavor dropped off in 10 minutes, but was fantastic while it lasted.

  2. Michelle Williams December 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Love the wines but even more love Buble! Ive seen him three times live (he is outstanding) and I will continue to see him each time he comes to Dallas. He is adorable but he is also a great entertainer.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Holiday Advice – Part Deux | Duff's Wines - December 19, 2014

    […] This is the second part of three posts offering some recommendations for wines a little out of the ‘daily’ range. The first installment can be read here. […]

  2. Holiday Advice – Fini | Duff's Wines - December 22, 2014

    […] can read the first installment (Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc) here; the second installment (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) […]

  3. A New Year – The White Daily Slosh | Duff's Wines - January 7, 2015

    […] since I last posted on white sloshes. FYI, click on the links here to read the splurge posts: Holiday Advice Part 1; Holiday Advice Part Deux; Holiday Advice […]

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