Home > Uncategorized > Heading into the holidays with winter wines

Heading into the holidays with winter wines

Suddenly November is half over and winter wines are transitioning to dominate dinner tables and wine bars. Winter wines, those medium to full-bodied, rich reds (and whites, if you find the right ones) that stand up to the hearty stews and meat-centric dishes of the dark season.

Here is a mixed list of a few of my latest, all of which would find balance on any Thanksgiving table:

Plum Creek Cellars Palisade Red – a well-done blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and sangiovese. As are all Plum Creek wines, this is 100 percent Colorado grown fruit.A medium-bodied red wine, soft tannins and lots of fruit. A friend and I enjoyed it at Inari’s Bistro (970.464.4911) in Palisade along with items off the new fall menu: a lamb burger and a Colorado Red Bird chicken breast with Palisade pears in gorgonzola sauce. It paired very well with the medium-rare lamb. $24 off the wine list.

Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

Hermosa Vineyards late Harvest Rkatsiteli – Hermosa Vineyards owner Ken Dunn enjoys aging some of his white wines in oak (“I love what a little tannin does to white wine,” he affirmed) but missed the opportunity and happily so with this 2006 Rkatsiteli, a cold-hardy white grape from Georgia (think Soviet Union, not Atlanta). This wine is fermented to off-dry (he says sweet) with enough acidity to balance the high residual sugar. $15 at the winery.

Bennett Lane 2006 Maximus Napa Valley – This latest version of winemaker Grant Hermann’s full-throated red (it’s subtitled “Red Feasting Wine”) initially was dense, closed and awfully tight, refusing to show its flavors and depth, when first opened. I kept it open on the counter overnight and the next evening it began to open; by the third day it finally was approachable and I wish I had decanted the whole thing earlier. Full of deep dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and coffee encased in soft tannins. Knock out your holiday guests with this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah, and 5% Malbec. A bargain at $35.

Montinore Estate 2009 Willamete Valley Pinot Noir – Affordable pinot noirs generally have been a real disappointment recently but this delicious medium-bodied selection from Montinore Estate is rich with ripe cherries, red raspberries and plums with a hint of spice and mocha. $20.

Montinore Estate 2009 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir – Oregon’s Willamette Valley steadily produces outstanding pinot noirs and this offering from Montinore Estate is an outstanding example. Flavors of bright red and black raspberries, Bing cherries, red plums and spicy-mocha comfortably supported by smooth round tannins. $28.

El Coto Rioja – This DOC crianza (two years aging, at least six months in oak) is reminiscent of the fine and very affordable reds I sampled on a whirlwind tour of Rioja this summer. Aged in American oak for added spice, the wine’s chewy tannins and red fruit flavors paired well with a pot of chicken-tortilla soup. $14.

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