The holidays are here, and that means sharing food friendly wines that will please a crowd. These selections, though diverse, are approachable, friendly wines that will impress with classic flavors. Each one can be interpreted as an extension of the plate, to be enjoyed with a holiday meal or among friends and family. Special times call for special wines.
I often find that the wines I like to drink tend to be made by likeable, kind people doing cool things: that is Dosnon wines, made by Davy Dosnon and supported by long time partner Nicolas Laugerotte. The two have a deep dedication to making wines that stand above, and though they are small, the effort they put in to make their Champagnes makes, simply put, some of the best I have ever tasted.
Davy Dosnon’s family has lived in the village of Ligney on the edge of the Champagne region for generations, and Davy has worked over the years to acquire a small percentage of the land that his ancestors once possessed.
Recolte Rosé Brut
A gorgeous combination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this light pink sparkler rises above most, with beautiful flavors of rose petals, bright strawberry, and orange zest. It’s pure and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the hint of stone on the finish make it all the more interesting.
Henri Dosnon Brut Rosé
The Henri Dosnon line, named for Davy’s grandfather, is a second label made with grapes purchased from neighboring vineyards in the Cote des Bars of Champagne. This selection is primarily Pinot Noir with a small percentage of Chardonnay, making it serious enough to enjoy with a meal, but approachable enough for aperitifs as well.
Ossian Vineyard & Winery
The winery has one goal: to express the best of the land, bottle a unique landscape, and make great white wines. With careful vineyard selection and farming practices, they do just that.
Ossian Quintaluna Verdejo
Small and select vineyards in sandy soils bring a minerality and freshness to this wine, which expresses the genuine character of Verdejo. Old vines, planted in the 19th century, shine by producing tiny berries exploding with flavors. Aromas of white flowers, stone fruits, and lemon blossom entice one to the glass, and hints of tropical fruit on the palate make the mouth water. A nutty finish of almond makes this one of the more unique Spanish wines in the portfolio.
There are so many California wines out there, and often the quality to price ratio isn’t as good as many imports. Land and labor are expensive, and let’s face it: the fires each year in the state aren’t doing wine any favors. That means when you find a winery that is making something exceptional for a reasonable price, it’s worth holding on to. Sojourn Cellars is doing just that by sourcing fruit from the most outstanding vineyards in the best appellations, including Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Oakville, and Rutherford. A careful approach with little intervention in the cellar allows each unique terroir express itself. These are fantastically crafted wines.
Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
The grapes for this wine come from three of the most notable vineyard sites in Sonoma County: Sangiacomo, Durell, and Gap’s Crown. The blend takes the best qualities of each of these diverse vineyard sites and balances them all together, resulting in a wine with gorgeous aromatics and complex concentration of flavors. The nose is all peach and Golden Delicious apple, and layered creaminess from a touch of new French oak give the wine a richness. This is not an over the top oak bomb – it’s nuanced and classy.
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Finding a Pinot Noir from this part of California for under $50 is nigh impossible, but the folks at Sojourn have provided. A blend of eight unique lots from the best vineyard sites, the wine offers multiple layers of dark red fruit flavors with a touch of baking spices and wet dirt on the finish. This is one that will age nicely but is fully drinkable now, and it’s an attractive pricepoint for a Pinot Noir of this level.
Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville Ranch, the primary vineyard source for this wine, is surrounded by famous neighbors, all of them producing powerful, rich and well structured bottles of wine. Balanced black and blue fruit flavors, mixed with a touch of cassis and raspberry, are balanced our with nuanced oak for lush tannins and expressive character. This, in short, is what California Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like.
Château Pesquié Winery
Located between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, the vineyard and estate of Château Pesquié is in a unique and extraordinary microclimate influenced by mountains, altitude and cool nighttime temperatures. This combination of geographic and climactic conditions results in wines with supreme finesse and structure. Farmed biodynamically by the same family for three generations, the certified organic vineyard is tended with care and precision.
Chateau Pesquié Ventoux Quintessence
A classic blend of syrah and grenache becomes tremendously memorable on its own thanks to a slow, even and long ripening of the fruit in this unique vineyard location. Deep and progressive flavors of black and blue fruits meld perfectly with cocoa and mocha on the finish, resulting in a rish wine that drinks beautifully.
Les Jamelles Wines
Les Jamelles was born from relationships between the winery and several notable Languedoc growers in the early 1990’s. A partnership that has grown over time has resulted in access to top quality grapes, allowing full control from the vineyard to the winery. A blend of different terroirs throughout the region creates cuvées that are typical of their varietal but with a style that is harmonious and expressive.
Les Jamelles Viognier
The vineyard source is what makes this wine special: calcareous clay and salty, loamy soils combine to add a touch of minerality to this fruit forward white wine. Round and fresh, it coats the mouth in a pleasing way, and bursts forward with bright stone fruit and starfruit flavors.
Les Jamelles Syrah
This wine is not your typical rendition of Syrah – it’s powerful with a fun combination of cherry and cassis flavors melded perfectly with a touch of forest floor on the finish. Submerging the pomace at the end of fermentation (a process called “la cocotte”) ensures a smooth finish without green, harsh tannins.
Old World style in the Russian River Valley combines with modern winemaking to result in clean, well made wines that honor the past. A premier location and reputation for quality for over 100 years lead to award winning, consistent wines, year over year.
Foppiano 1896 Red Blend
There’s nothing like a good red blend to bring out the best character of every varietal in a new and expressive way, and that’s just what this classic, easy drinking wine does. Foppiano Vineyards has been growing grapes in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley since 1896 and this wine was crafted to celebrate this long-term legacy. A combination of Syrah, Zinfandel, Barbera, Carignan, Petit Sirah, and Mourvedre hit all the notes for a classic and enjoyable red wine.