Expert Holiday Picks- Nov/Dec 2019

Featured Holiday Wine- The Arsonist 
by Kas VanKoevering

Regularly $21.99 Sale $17.99

This California red blend was a stand-out among hundreds of wines at a trade tasting this fall. It impressed me enough that we contacted the winery rep and wheedled a holiday price. 

Created at Matchbook Winery by the Giguiere brothers, the name of this red was bound to be a story. As farm kids in the 1950’s, the brothers were veritable pyromaniacs, setting numerous things on fire-including the family wheat fields, soon graduating to launching rockets, which resulted in more uncontrolled blazes and calls to the fire department. They redeemed themselves when they came home from college years later. Broke and ambitious, they decided that they needed to expand their focus beyond wheat. In 1981 they planted a few vineyards, saved the family farm and became the face of the Dunnigan Hills appellation.

Located in Yolo County California, just east of Napa, Dunnigan Hills became an official AVA in 1993, petitioned by John and Lane Giguiere.  It’s cooled by the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay, giving the grapes a break from the heat, and the lowest incidence of frost than the rest of Sacramento Valley. Yolo County is also proud to feature the greatest concentration of organic farmers in California. 

 The Arsonist is a Bordeaux-style red, sourced from their best vineyard sites, and vinified in the finest barrels. With a combination of French, American, and European/American hybrid oak, the wine is blended and aged for 24 months. The blend is made up of 52% Petit Verdot, giving it rich, full-structure and generous tannin. Malbec makes up 26%, providing the inky dark color and complexity true to its style. The final 22% is Cabernet Sauvignon, contributing to the aging potential and depth of the wine.

 The color of the wine is a gorgeous garnet. Even from a distance you get this floral hint of rose petals and orange blossoms coming from the glass. Come in closer and there are aromas of cassis and dark chocolate. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with expressive blackberry and plum, with the acidity brightening the fruit. Firm, but refined tannins add good structure and long, silky finish. This robust red is delicious now and will age gracefully for those with the patience to wait. This wine will take care of you!

 While the wine was crafted to last, the deal we have for the holiday’s wont! Just like the fires that started it all, this wine is power and grace in a bottle. On sale now for $17.99, we are sure you will meet your match.

Featured Champagne- Cuvee No.741
Champagne Jacquesson Extra Brut $67.99
by Kas Van Koevering

There are few loyalties as firmly held as those of champagne lovers to their favorite brands. Each major brand has its adherents, and many people are content to never branch out. There’s nothing wrong with a strong preference, but I wish people would sample bubblies from a variety of houses before settling down, especially now that the champagne market has become so attractive for the consumer. Anybody who plays the field a little will find that there are many ravishing styles out there, ranging from big, round and voluptuous to soft, graceful and demure. While many styles of bubbly are hitting the store this time of year, ranging from affordable Cava, boisterous Prosecco, and age-worthy prestige cuvees, there is one bottle that stole my heart from the very first sip:

Cuvee No. 741 Extra Brut from the House of Jacquesson, a true bone-dry beauty. With a soft, creamy mousse and a fine delicate bead, the wine is full-bodied, bright and quite open structurally- with fine acids, lovely focus and grip, and a long, mineral finish. Flavors of citrus, apple, and pear are lifted by the elegant, lacy texture.

Starting all the way back in 1798, located in the village of Dizy, Jacquesson is proud of being the oldest independent Champagne house. Part of the fame of the House is also due to the fact to have given birth to Krug. In 1843, Jacquesson’s cellar master, Johann-Joseph Krug, left the House to form his own brand. Much of the success of the House is due to their terroir-based philosophy, which employs organic farming techniques to obtain grapes of great quality. Confident of this quality, some years ago the Chiquet brothers decided to stop producing their non-vintage cuvee and to introduce a groundbreaking single-vintage-based cuvee, which changes yearly. The 741 is based on the 2013 Vintage, and drinking beautifully. I’m not alone in my awe of this champagne: 93-Suckling, 92- Robert Parker, and 93- Vinous. The Colorado distributor had only 30 bottles left of 741 so we bought all they had.  Something this special just had to be on our shelf!
Come taste for yourself on Friday, December 13th from 5 to 7 PM.