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Some Worthy Reds from Our Holiday Week

IMG_1380There is always wine involved with our holiday celebrations.  Red, white, bubbly, port, they all make an appearance.  Our daughter and son-in-law don’t drink at all, but they are great sports, as well as wonderful designated drivers.  The rest of us do enjoy the wines.

When I polled the family as to what they might prefer, the results were predictably widespread.  Deep rich reds, a Barolo for Christmas dinner, a Malbec, Prosecco for a holiday toast, and a good tawny port for after dinner.  Several of us enjoy pairing our port with a cup of good coffee and a slice of chocolate cake for the perfect end to a good dinner.  Cheri supplied a freshly baked, two layer chocolate cake to make that possible.  Family holidays are great.

Let’s talk about a few wines we opened which were well worth their price tags and provided some great value juice.  The listed prices are what we paid at retail.

2014 Joseph Carr Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – this is a very dark purple-red.  Dark fruitsIMG_1375 dominate the nose with currant and blackberry.  There is some raspberry as well, so it’s not all dark.  A little vanilla is present as well.  It is full bodied, has firm tannins and good balance.  All the fruit is on the riper side, and this is pretty fleshy.  All in all, a very good Napa Cab, retail  $17.89.

IMG_13762015 Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a dark red wine, with a rich nose of dark berries.  There are earthy tones, some herbs and a tiny touch of mint.  On the palate the wine is full bodied, with firm tannins that are well integrated.  The wine also presents an overall rich expression, like the wine above, however this is more focused overall.  It is also very long.  At $11.95 this wine is an insane value.  The H3 Cab from Columbia Crest always is.  Buy this by the case as a house red.  Really nice.

2014 Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – Yet another Cabernet, and the IMG_1379best of the bunch.  This wine from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma is a dark red with hints of purple.  The nose is rich, and dark berries are accompanied with beautiful floral notes.  The palate is resplendent with berry fruit, and it stays wonderfully pure throughout.  The wine finishes very long, and is full bodied.  I really like this wine.  It was $19.95, and an excellent value there.

IMG_13782012 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d’Alba – Fontanafredda is a favorite of ours, and has been since our visit to the winery a few years ago.  The Serralunga vineyards produce a wine with a bit more muscle, and terroir.  This one is true to form, and provides the expected elegance, the “tar and roses” of a classic Barolo, as well a bit of backbone.  Combine those qualities with a great vintage in 2012 and you have a pretty classy wine here.  $49.99, probably find it for a little less if you look around.  Beautiful wine.

We also opened a 10 year tawny port from Kopke, which was sensational.  A La Marca Prosecco was perfect for a before dinner, holiday toast.  Equally good was a bottle of Shine Riesling from Heinz Eifel.  We’ll be reviewing a few of the Eifel wines in a week or two.  Riesling is great anytime of year.

As you can see from the top picture, we opened a few others, but the ones highlighted above were definitely our favorites.  We only had a single bottle from the holiday horde which was not opened, and that was a Charles Krug Reserve Cabernet.  That will be fodder for a future review.

We recommend the four wines listed above.  For an inexpensive red the H3 Cabernet is tough to beat.

A votre santé!

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