Go Richer, Fuller & Bolder


With the holidays here, it is now time for wine lovers to focus on celebrating with a special wine. As the cooler weather arrives, so does the opportunity to drink some different styles of wine. If summer is dominated by crisp, clean whites and rosés, then the holiday season affords the luxury of some richer, fuller and bolder styles. Here are some picks that will help make this holiday season the best ever.


2005 Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Blanc de Blancs ($180)

What would the holiday season be without bubbly? This year enophiles should be on the lookout for the 2005 Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Blanc de Blancs ($180). This tête de cuvee is all about elegance. The Taittinger’s house style exemplifies elegance by using Chardonnay as the predominant grape in the blend, and relying less on Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier than any other Grande Marques Champagne producer. The result is a clean, light on its feet, mineral and citrus driven wine with a long floral finish. Serve this impressive wine with caviar, shellfish, seafood of all kinds and even game birds.


2001 Masi ‘Mazzano’ Amarone della Valpolicella ($150)

Amarone might be the world’s most winery wine. Hailing from the Valpolicella region, just outside of the city of Verona, Amarone is the only wine in the world produced by the process of appassimento. The appassimento process is unique because upon harvest the grapes are sent to well ventilated lofts allowing the grapes to rasinate. The grapes are kept to dry for approximately four months which intensifies their flavors and concentrates their sugar levels. The partially dried grapes are then fermented into a rich, heady and compelling dry wine style known as Amarone, which literally means bitter strong. The 2001 Masi ‘Mazzano’ Amarone della Valpolicella ($150) is one of the regions finest offering with its flavors of cherry, black plum, raisin, dried fig, dates, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, mocha and mushrooms. Try serving this incredible wine with hardy preparations such as game, grilled meats or stews.


2012 Odette Cabernet Sauvignon ($100)

It is often said that Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of red grapes, and this holiday season Cabernet lovers should seek out the 2012 Odette Cabernet Sauvignon ($100). The Odette winery is located in the Stag’s Leap District within Napa Valley. Due to its location in the southern part of the valley, the wines from this area always possess elegance due to the cooling effect from the nearby San Pablo Bay. The 2012 vintage throughout Napa Valley was superb with powerful, fruit forward wines with ripeness, balance and longevity. The 2012 Odette Cabernet Sauvignon offers flavors of cassis, raspberry liqueur and a gorgeous perfumed nose of dried violets, lavender and savory herbs. The wine possesses a perfect balance of power and elegance and is my pick for the best Cabernet Sauvignon of the year!


Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port ($50)

If you are looking for the perfect finish to your holiday celebrations, then look no further than the Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port ($50). For more than 300 years Portugal’s Taylor Fladgate has been synonymous with remarkable consistency and exceptional quality. Now into its fourth century, Taylor Fladgate is the only winery in Portugal that has remained 100 percent family run throughout its history. The wine brings to mind all things caramelized including flavors of crème brulee, toffee and crème caramel. The wine is silky and well balanced with high acidity inviting a second and third sip. The palate is a mix of fig, dates, dried apricots and a toasty, nutty long and delicious finish. Try serving this alongside a wide array of dessert or on its own to wow your guests this holiday season.


If you serve these wines this holiday season, you will not only satisfy your friends and family, but look like a pro without having to study for your Master Sommeleir exam. Cheers and happy holidays!     M


Wines available at Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirit, www.bernsfinewines.com



—By Kevin Pelley




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