‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly

As we cozy up for the end of 2020, what better to celebrate than with some special bottles of wine?

As we write this, the snow has coated the ground after yesterday’s snowstorm. People are finishing up the last nights of Hanukkah celebrations and kids have readied their Christmas wishlists for that big day coming in just over a week. Despite the challenges 2020 has brought us, there is a special spirit of camaraderie and giving this year that has been infectious. As we cozy up with our families or roommates, what better way to share this season than with some spirited wines?

In the recent weeks, as is typical of this time of year, we’ve received a ton of new arrivals, new vintages, and restocks of some old favorites. We wanted to highlight a few selections that showcase the perfect holiday aperitif choices, bring an après ski fantasy to your living room couch, and transport you to under appreciated winemaking areas in a complex but approachable way.

Hervé Rafflin, ‘La Nature’L’ Champagne 1er Cru Extra Brut (2016)

Hervé Rafflin, 'La Nature'L' Champagne 1er Cru Extra Brut (2016)

Many people are under the impression that you need to spend a lot of money to get a good bottle of Champagne but that simply isn’t the case. Hervé Rafflin’s latest release proves that a cool $40 will get you an interesting and well-balanced bottle of bubbles from a traditionally elite region in France. If you get this for a small gathering, it’s also a great chance to steer people away from mass market offerings by Clicquot and others.

As an extra brut Champagne, this bottle is bone dry and features a mouthwatering acidity that powers through gentle brioche notes, bright pops of orange and lemon citrus, and some slightly tart green apple notes. It’s nervy energy would be particularly well suited for a cheese and charcuterie spread, particularly those funky, soft cheeses that might need a little bit of electricity to balance out their richness. It’s also a great stocking stuffer for the wine lover in your life.

Methode Sauvage, Iruai Arcana (2019)

Methode Sauvage, Iruai Arcana (2019)

Methode Sauvage are continually pushing boundaries of what California winemaking can be and we’ve rarely come across a bottle that we don’t like. Their newest project is called Iruai and it features grapes grown in the higher elevation regions of the state. The results effectively transport us to the Alps, cozying up inside of a chalet after a long day on the slopes. What more could you ask for in a wine?

For their Arcana, Methode Sauvage uses 100% Savagnin. Despite some richer notes and herbal tea aromas, this wine brings tropical fruit in abundance. Think pineapple juice with rocky minerality and a little mouth coating fun. It’s a concentrated explosion of flavors and textures that is pretty hard to find at under $30 domestically. We love it on its own, but with a battered fish or chicken dish it would be heaven. Have some raclette and potatoes? Now we’re really talking!

Vinhos Aparte, Ambar (2019)

Vinhos Aparte, Ambar (2019)

It’s rare we see Portuguese wines retailing for almost $40 in the US but Vinhos Aparte is a unique winemaker, bringing hard-to-find Portuguese grapes, sticking to low intervention methods, and providing a limited number of bottles in any given vintage. All of this is to say these are really high quality wines with limited distribution to the US so they command the price that they do.

Their Ambar is their annual skin contact bottling that uses mostly Moscatel only found in the country. As you’d expect, the aromatics are off the charts, with luscious floral notes and hints of lemon balm intermingling. But rather than being cloying as some of the traditional white wines can be, a juicy orange fruit comes across and tannins build as the bottle opens up over a few hours. This balance of fruit and the subtle nod to the earth would pair well with Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai takeout. Let your stomach run wild!

We really thank you for all that you’ve done to support us in 2020! Stay tuned for more tastings and other surprises in the upcoming weeks before welcome 2021.

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