Divit’s Pick: Champagne

Every month we’re asked to pick a specific wine we’ve tried as our Wine of the Month. Well December is a time of celebration for a lot of people, so I pick Champagne. Not one specific Champagne, just Champagne in general. This year we have struck so many deals with importers through our distributors that we have the best selection of sale Champagne ever. Here are a few to choose from:

•    Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve  (Reg. $44)  Sale $34.95
•    Drappier Carte d’Or Brut  (Reg. $44)  Sale $34.95
•    Aubry Brut  (Reg. $45)  Sale $34.95
•    Jean-Noel Haton Brut Rosé  (Reg. $44)  Sale $34.95
•    Louis Roederer Brut Premier  (Reg. $54)  Sale $44.95
•    Pol Roger Brut  (Reg. $60)  Sale $49.95
•    2008 Godme Brut Grand Cru (Reg. $59)  Sale $42.95

So many great wines, start drinking them today!!

Dave’s Pick: 2013 Quintet Pinot Noir, $45.00

This is a wine I’ve been wanting to try for some time. The Burg Hound, always a conservative rater, gave it 91 points—a rarity for him, especially for a wine from Oregon. The wine did not disappoint. The aromas are lovely if a bit reserved, offering floral red fruit with touches of herb and anise. This is an elegantly structured wine filled with silky berry fruit that caresses the palate and lingers on and on. That’s backed by layers of flavor that include tart cherry, mocha, leather and spice. Here’s the good news: if you are a fan of Burgundian Pinot Noir, this is a must try; a beautiful expression of the unique Ribbon Ridge terroir. Now for the bad news: we currently don’t have any in stock. The winery owner recently did a tasting at the shop and brought a bottle of his 2013. We are working on getting the distributor to bring some in for us. In the meantime, try their 2014, a bit more fruit forward effort that is sure to please a wide variety of wine lovers.

Bob’s Pick: JJ Vincent Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, $18.99

Yeah, it’s bubble time. Well anytime is the right time for bubbly wines, but this is the time of the year when we get all the cool and exciting ones. As proof, the wall that was all rosés over the summer is now sparkling wines. Come in and have a look. This particular wine from Burgundy, the land of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is all Chardonnay and it allies freshness, body and smoothness with hints of flower at the nose, crispness and fruit on the palate. It is a great Classic for all festive occasions. The vinification or elaboration of the Crémant called the méthode traditionnelle corresponds to the (what we used to be able to call) méthode champenoise. Enjoy!

Barry’s Pick: 2012 Mitchell Riesling Watervale, $21.00

If you don’t think of Australia when you think of Rieslings, maybe you should. In South Australia there is a wine region called the Clare Valley that specializes in Riesling, mostly the dry sort. This particular one comes from Watervale, a relatively high altitude site that has nice, cool evenings (a characteristic that Riesling grapes love). The Mitchell family, which includes Andrew and Jane and their son Angus, organically farm their estate owned vineyards. The 50 year old Riesling vines are dry farmed and the grapes are always hand-picked. The wine itself has a core of lime and a stony minerality that complement this bone dry, crisp Riesling. Extended contact with the lees lends a rather round mouth feel that balances out the wine’s crisp acidity. A great example of a wine that will pair wonderfully with many different cuisines. Cheers!

Kathy’s Pick: 2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River, $24.00

We got a great deal on this Pinot Noir and as I needed one for Thanksgivng dinner, I took a bottle  home. It was a hit. In 1973, when Davis Bynum first released his small lot of single vineyard Pinot Noir from the famed Rochioli vineyard in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir was a relative stranger to the region, but the fickle grape thrived in the unique terroir. The first to produce single vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Davis Bynum was instrumental in bringing prestige to the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing region. Today, more than forty years later, the heritage of Davis Bynum lives on through the hand-crafted creation of single-vineyard wines like this one. Here is what the Wine Enthusiast said about it: “This wine opens with the fresh liveliness of stemmy earth and black tea notes, growing funkier and more herbal on the midpalate. Brightly layered and deeply flavored, it’s a full-bodied rendition that remains true to its variety.  91 Pts.”

Bruce’s Pick: 2012 Chateau Argadens Bordeaux Superieur, $15.99

Well as delicious as the 2015 Pierre Guillemot Bourgogne rouge is, I WAS tempted, but I just couldn’t write up another 2015 Bourgogne as my wine pick. (See what I did there.) I had a good reason for switching gears to Bordeaux: we finally got a long awaited staff pick back in stock in time for the Holidays. To sweeten the deal, we are now selling the 2012 vintage, which is even better than the 2011 that sold at least 25 cases—and for the same price! This “Bordeaux Superieur” (comprised of approximately two thirds Merlot and one third Cabernet Sauvignon) is elegant with a supple balance, yet dense enough to give it the necessary structure, and finally the hallmark refinement and lengthy finish; in short, everything and more that I look for in a Bordeaux at this price point. Founded in the 13th century and now owned and managed by the highly regarded Maison Sichel, this fine wine is modest enough to drink casually, but certainly special enough to dress up your Holiday table. A top value!

Kent’s Pick: 2016 Maryhill Viognier, $12.99

I have to thank my friends Josh and Stephanie for recommending this wine to me—they know I enjoy a glass of Viognier every now and then. Viognier is a white grape that is mostly grown in the Rhône region of France, and it is often used in the white blends of the Côtes du Rhône and Chateauneuf Du Pape. The Rhône region of Condrieu is where the grape truly shines and there are some spectacular Viogniers coming from there, although they are considerably more expensive than this one. The Maryhill comes from four different vineyard sites within the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. On the nose, the wine shows white peach, a touch of orange blossom and the light floral note that Viognier is known for. On the palate, the wine shows nice acidity, but still maintains a creamy mouthfeel without being cloying. The wine has flavors of white peach, nectarine, honey, and orange zest, and will go well with a number of different cheeses (think brie or white stilton with apricots). It can also be paired with seafood. This wine will be a great addition to any holiday gathering.  Happy Holidays!

David’s Pick: 2013 Gramercy Cellars Lower East Syrah, $30.00

This is the entry level Syrah for this Walla Walla winery founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife Pam. In a previous life, Greg managed the wine programs for some of the top restaurants in New York. During a backyard tasting in Brooklyn hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, both he and his wife were impressed by the earthy character and balance they found, characteristics neither had come to expect from American wines. The seed was planted, and a spring visit to Walla Walla followed by Greg working the harvest that fall, sealed the deal. Today, Gramercy Cellars is dedicated to operating as a small winery focused on quality, integrity and sustainability. This 2013 is the first Syrah from the wineries entry level Lower East series. It definitely over delivers for the price point. There’s an earthy component to the herb laced blueberry and cherry aromas, while the spicy fruit flavors are plush and ripe, but not overripe. Impeccably balanced, you get a bit of smoked meat and green olive on the silky finish. A shockingly good and very approachable wine.