Dino Roussia's recommendations for the holiday spirits to liven up the season.
Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
The absolute expression of the style of the House, the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is always a vintage cuvée. Made from 100 percent Chardonnay with grapes from the finest crus of the prestigious Côte des Blancs (Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger), this cuvée is made only with juice from the first pressing. A small proportion of the blend (5 percent) is aged in new oak casks, which lends nuance to the harmony of its delicate, toasted notes. With these great Chardonnays from its lands, Taittinger knows how to be patient: The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs waits in the chalk mines of Saint Nicaise for 10 years before seeing the light of day and pleasing the palates of consumers.
Selbach-Oster Spätlese Rieslings
Selbach-Oster Rieslings are not “zeitgeisty” wines that change according to the whims of fashion. Nor are they “made” according to a recipe. Though they are deeply delicious, they do not seek to seduce with short-term exotic aromas from specially cultured yeasts, aromatic enzymes or ice-cold fermentations. They are true characters, wines with structure, wines that display their heritage, rooted deep into the slate rock like our old vines – many of which are still on their own vinifera roots.
Shaped by their unique terroir, the wines come with their own original characteristics, which the winery strives to preserve. They will age beautifully for many years and will gain complexity with age. They present a wide variety of aromas, depth of flavor and true complexity while also showing clarity and minerality.
Willamette Valley Domaine Pinot Gris 2015
Domaine Pinot Gris is the preeminent selection from King Estate Winery, made exclusively from certified organic and Biodynamic® grapes from our Estate Vineyard in the Southern Willamette Valley. The Estate is in-conversion by Demeter USA to be the largest Biodynamic vineyard in the United States and has been certified organic by Oregon Tilth since 2002.
Tasting Notes: The 2015 vintage is a brilliant example of Pinot Gris from a consistent and warmer-than-average Willamette Valley growing season. This wine has a vivid straw-yellow color. Aromas of honeysuckle, Bartlett pear and pineapple are framed by delicate notes of mineral, rose petal and lemon zest. A supple wine from the start, the palate detects flavors of fresh cut pear, pineapple and key lime. There is a striking balance of ripe fruit and fresh acidity that provides a lengthy clean finish. This wine will age beautifully through the next decade.
King Estate Pinot Noir 2014
Tasting Notes: The 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a delicious expression from a warmer- than-average Oregon vintage. This classic has a bright ruby color with garnet tinges. The nose brings intense aromas of red currants and wild strawberries with licorice, black tea and cinnamon undertones. The taste offers an elegant blend of dark cherries, rhubarb and blackberry, evolving into complex flavors of cranberry, walnut and cassis. The finish is framed by fresh acidity and soft, fleshy tannins. This wine will age beautifully through 2024.
Winemaking Process: These distinct vineyards’ lots are barrel-aged for eight months in French oak barrels before we make the final blend. This approach allows our winemaking team to create a wine that best exemplifies the site-signature and style of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Skywalker Pinot Noir 2013
Skywalker Vineyards' Pinot Noir is defined by two very separate locations, topographies and soil types. The lower block is located 235 feet above the valley floor on a ridge top facing south and west, with slopes approaching 30 percent. The warmer of the two sites, the lower block is critically important for Skywalker Vineyards Pinot Noir in very cool seasons (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013). The wines made from these grapes are powerful; additional ripeness adds texture to the base of the wine.
Three hundred twenty-five feet higher is the upper block, with a strategic north and east facing slope of 20 to 30 percent. It is cooler here, and the season is very late, with typical harvest dates of mid- to late October. In warmer years, this cooler site is critical to the development of the exotic spice and forest berry characters so typical of Skywalker Vineyards Pinot Noir. Together, the combination of a lower, warmer site and the higher, cooler site, allow for consistency in style while mitigating vintage variation.
Freemark Abbey Bosché 2012
Bosché Vineyard–Rutherford (100 percent): A small 22-acre vineyard located west of Hwy. 29, on the famed Rutherford Bench, the Bosché vineyard has very deep, gravelly soils. A seasonal creek crosses the vineyard, raising the water table in the spring and providing water and nutrients for new shoot growth.
As veraison – the time when the color of the grapes change – approaches, the water table drops, stressing the wines and intensifying the dark velvety fruit flavors. This is a natural area to grow Bordeaux varietals with dry farming or minimal drip irrigation.
Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Ribera del Duero Pesquera Reserva 2012
Tempranillo, the “queen of grapes,” is the delicate variety so skillfully mastered by Alejandro Fernandez in the Castilian soils that are watered by the River Duero. The vines, which are always trained on low espalier trellises, "to better capture the heat from the ground," are factories of sensations and pleasures that are passed on to his wines. The vines grow in poor, well-drained soils, composed of sand and gravel over a limestone and clay subsoil, an ideal combination for rootstock.
With the help of the wind, the rain and the sun, the plants manufacture aromas and flavors laden with nuances that permeate each grape. From his 200 hectares of breathtaking vineyards, Alejandro makes wines in wood that has great respect for the fruit. Over time, the wines become more complex without losing their original character – a phenomenon that has made the name Tinto Pesquera synonymous with fine wine from Ribera del Duero.
Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
The magnificent story of Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon began in 1965 and continues unfolding today. The historic handshake deal between the Heitz family and the May family, who own Martha’s Vineyard, made Cabernet Sauvignon history. The cherished relationship between the families now spans three generations.
In 1966, Joe Heitz produced a wine so distinctive and stunning that the two families boldly added the name of the vineyard to the label, introducing Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet as the first vineyard-designated wine in the Napa Valley.
Tasting Notes: With all the grace and power of a dancer, the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet is something to behold. It’s an inviting wine with rich aromas of boysenberry, cassis and that classic Martha’s mint, all tightly woven around a sweet core. On the palate, the rich, savory notes of French oak and hints of cigar box mingle with well-integrated tannins, culminating in a silky finish. Focused and precise, this is a classically proportioned Cabernet Sauvignon.
This Cabernet is a wine so impressively structured that a great deal of its appeal lies in anticipating its potential.
Willett Pot Still Reserve
Very floral on the nose with wonderful citrus notes; more citrus on the palate with loads of honey and then turning quite herbal on the finish. An incredibly different and inviting array of aromas and flavors when water is added.
Blanton's Original Single Barrel
Taken from the center-cut or middle sections of the famous Warehouse H, Blanton’s Original was once designated for ambassadors, dignitaries, and Colonel Blanton’s family and friends. Today, everyone has access to the world’s first single barrel bourbon. The taste profile is sweet with citrus and oak. A creamy vanilla nose features hints of nuts, caramel, orange and light chocolate. Blanton’s Original set the standard for single barrel bourbons. Best served neat or on the rocks. 46.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Nose: A spicy aroma of dried citrus and orange peels with a hint of caramel and vanilla
Palate Entry: Full and soft, marked by a mix of burnt sugar, caramel, orange, and cloves
Finish: Balanced with vanilla, honey, and citrus.
Best Served: Straight, on ice, or used in a premium cocktail.
Pappy Van Winkle 23 years
This very rare, limited edition bourbon takes generations of distilling know-how to produce. Only the most careful and expensive distilling method can be used to create a whiskey as special as this one. Each barrel ages for 23 years and is carefully selected from the heart of the warehouse. This whiskey should be enjoyed neat.
Tasting Notes: Early aromas of caramel and cream with soft notes of oak, nuts and leather. Features a sweet taste composed of vanilla, maple and honey joined by complementary flavors of citrus and spice. Has a long-lasting oaky finish, along with many of the early flavors.
Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 years
“A perfect combination of age and proof. The 12 years of aging and medium proof of 90.4 seem to be just right in creating a very pleasant drink of whiskey. This fine bourbon can compete with any excellent cognac as an after-dinner drink.” – Paul Pacult
Tasting Notes: Highlighted by light aromas of dried mango, cocoa, fruit and spiced peach. Flavors of honey, oak and tobacco dance on the palate. The finish is balanced and dry, with a lingering tingle.
The Balvenie PortWood 21 years
To create The Balvenie PortWood Aged 21 Years, a combination of rare Balvenies is transferred to port casks, or pipes, which have held fine port wines. Here it is sampled regularly by The Balvenie Malt Master to ensure that just the right amount of character is imparted by the port casks, enhancing and developing the single malt while preserving its original characteristics. In duty free The Balvenie PortWood Aged 21 Years is nonchill-filtered and bottled at a higher strength of 47.6 percent alcohol by volume.
Tasting Notes: This whisky’s nose is a perfume of fruity and ripe raisin notes, backed by a nutty dryness. Refined with remarkable character, its taste is creamy and silky with fruit, honey and spice notes, ending with a long, gentle and nutty finish.
Old St. Andrew’s Clubhouse
This blended Scotch whisky is full-flavored, fruity and fresh. The exceptional blend of rich fruit flavors comes from aging in European oak casks that have previously contained sweet wines, sherry or port. The powerful flavors are balanced with an undertone of sweet spiciness that leaves a fresh, energetic, mouthwatering finish. It’s the perfect accompaniment to an evening with friends.
Deleón Reposado Tequila
The finest highland Tequila is gently aged in bold American oak and then finished in delicate French oak wine casks, creating a balanced profile with vanilla, dried fruit, and a hint of spice on the finish. A combination of French wine casks and American white oak casks are used to achieve the ideal flavor complexity and rich aromatics.
Tasting Notes: This Tequila offers the palate soft hints of caramelized oak balanced with layers of spice and refined dried fruit with a touch of red berries. Its scent is redolent of cinnamon and butterscotch.
Los Azulejos Tequila
With the most rigorous quality control standards in the industry, Los Azulejos uses only 100 percent hand-selected Blue Weber agave from the Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. Its unique recipe and aging process create the smoothest Tequila.