Ask any Pinot Noir aficionado what’s hot in today’s market and the “Sonoma Coast” appellation of California is that signpost up ahead. Names such as Kosta Browne and Sea Smoke have been riling up Pinot junkies, and the addition of Guarachi Family Wines stirs the pot further. Since its explosive debut in the 2008 vintage, their fascinating releases, grown along the windswept, maritime hillsides, are thrilling to taste and contemplate. A memorable gift awaits the discerning wine lover.
Deep cranberry-red color. Fruit and spice intensity explodes from the glass, with a springtime floral element suggestive of the finest Côte d’Or bottlings. Wild strawberry, raspberry and tea notes emerge on a slightly loamy nose. Pinot Noir does this – gets you crazy with its beguiling, seamless, endlessly fascinating elements. Flavors are layered and silky, full-bodied with tons of persistent fruit and intensity. The excellent balance and framework suggests aging potential, but it is already a heady treat. Drink now-2016
Frescobaldi has made Tuscan reds for centuries, but one of the newest horses in its stable is also one of the most exciting. Since 2006, Frescobaldi has been making a reserve red from the Scansano region, located south of Florence towards the Tyrrhenian maritime (the unfortunate area of the Costa Concordia tragedy). The wine, Morellino Di Scansano, is not new, but Frescobaldi’s attention to grape selection along with 24-month aging in French oak barrels is producing a truly striking product. A super wine and value to drink or gift this holiday season.
A dark, crimson red color. With one hour aeration the vanilla-clad nose is ripe with dried cherry, leather and cigar box notes, with coffee, black olive and a slight balsamic note in the mix. Very seductive indeed. Flavors are already velvety with a plummy mouthfeel, Kirsch element and mocha on the long and beautifully balanced finish. (85% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo and 5% Syrah.) Drink now-2017.
The Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon was hot in the 1980s, cooled some in the ’90s and has settled down to earth in the new millennium. People sometimes forget, if they ever knew, that Nouveau is a wine made practically instantaneously to help celebrate the end of the harvest season. Originally, the wine was not bottled, but consumed straight out of the fermentation casks in its native region of Burgundy. Nouveau is fermented for only about five days, filtered prodigiously to stabilize it and then shipped to the U.S. and other world markets. At its best, this “quick fix” beverage can really only produce a fruity quaffer – perfect to celebrate a sort of November/December-fest of wine.
Overtly spicy, with suggestions of blackberry and cinnamon on the open, grapey nose. (Thank goodness Gamay is such a joyful grape to smell in its youth.) In some ways, the overall impression is reminiscent of a room temperature mulled wine and, to me, that is a compliment. Flavors are fun, rather plum-like, fresh and direct. The finish is slightly bitter and stemmy. Enjoy now through next spring.