Trendy Wines for 2017
We’ve all exhausted our wallets on wines for the holidays to pair with food, impress our family, bosses, and clients, or maybe from going all out on that midnight champagne toast… but you don’t have to spend a lot to get a great tasting bottle that is ahead of the curve in the wine world to enjoy in the New Year.
Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux
A great value sparkling that is made in France, but outside of the Champagne region in Limoux, which is within the Languedoc appellation, and is actually a precursor to popular (and significantly more expensive) champagne. Benedictine Monks invented this wine and “ancestral method” using the grape Mauzac in the 1500’s where the production is a bit different, allowing more fermentation to occur in the bottle—similar to the hipster wine geek “pét-nat”—allowing a fresher and more aromatic product. It is like a crisp semi-sweet apple, crisp and delicious with small refined bubbles, making it is outstanding for the quality.
Dry Creek Chenin Blanc
For people that like slightly fruity and unoaked white wines, Chenin Blanc is where it’s at. Ripe green melon, passion fruit, pear, and baked pineapple are some of the flavor notes that are often associated with this type of wine… so if you’re an unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Gris drinker this is the wine for you. Dry Creek makes exceptional, terroir driven and focused wines, so it’s no surprise that this is the highest award winning Chenin produced in the United States. A great thing is that this varietal is made all over the world and varies beautifully so it is worth trying a French Vouvray and a South African Steen as well.
Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir
In a world where California Pinot Noirs are becoming consistently blended with other varietals and color additives to make a “market driven” wine, it is often to find a brand that is 100% Pinot at a ridiculously reasonable price. Cycles harvests their grapes from two separate vineyards, which is often only done in high-end big name producers. Supple and lush with notes of plum, cherry and raspberry; this wine drinks like a more expensive one from the same Central Coast region.. and their winemaker’s philosophy of “Vineyard to Table” ensure a great quality as well.
Bodegas Borsao Garnacha
Spanish wines are hot right now—so much so that Borsao’s higher tier “Tres Picos” was #39 in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of 2016. Garnacha is Grenache in Spain and has a very similar flavor to really fruity Pinot Noirs or Old Vine Zinfandels from Lodi, where it is juicy and jammy red fruit with light to medium tannins. It is a fantastic wine to pair with food and cheeses, but really enjoyable in it’s own right.
Santa Rita 120 Carménère
For a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot drinker, Carménère is quite similar tasting, but more sultry and spicy, not to mention dynamite for the budget conscientious. Historically, this grape is from France’s Bordeaux region but is now almost exclusively grown in South America. In Chilean wines they often ferment wine in stainless steel, if they do not utilize lightly used American Oak laden barrels. Unoaked Carménère like that of Santa Rita’s 120 line has soft and mouth-watering juicy fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, raspberry, with herbs and pepper notes.
Jessica, Certified Sommelier – Otto’s Wine and Spirits, Oakland