In the words of renowned wine critic Michael Broadbent, "Drinking good wine with good food, in good company, is one of life's most civilized pleasures.” We here at City Vino agree wholeheartedly! With that in mind we are picking up from where we left off last week, covering sparkling and white wines for the holidays, we are now recommending some red wines for your holiday dining and gift giving pleasure.
(Click here if you missed last week's blog post)
For friends who love Bordeaux blends featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, consider giving the gift of a side-by-side tasting of left bank and right bank Bordeaux. From the left bank (left of the Gironde Estuary), where sandy soils dominate, Cabernet Sauvignon reigns. Wines from the right bank (right of the Gironde), with moist clay soils, Merlot is the star. Our left bank suggestion is the Chateau Beau-Site Saint Estephe Cru Bourgeois 2014, which is 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 percent Merlot. For the right bank, consider the Chateau des Eyrins La Closerie des Eyrins Margaux 2014, which is 75 percent Merlot, blended with 25 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are nearly opposite blends from the same vintage (growing year), so a comparison of the two could be quite enjoyable.
If you have a friend who loves Syrah/Shiraz, consider a pairing from one of the best growing regions for this grape in the world, Australia, and one from a more unusual location: Morocco. Yes, Morocco! The Australian wine is the Powell & Son, Barossa & Eden Valleys Shiraz 2016, with its beautiful complex nose featuring aromas of violets and dark berries, and the Moroccan wine is the Alain Graillot Syrocco Zenata, Morocco, Syrah 2016, with ripe black fruits along with dried cherries, herbs, and spices.
Chianti fans might appreciate a duo of wines made from the Sangiovese grape. Side-by-side the Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 and the Tenuta Buon Tempo Brunello di Montalcino 2011 <>. The Chianti has great dried fruit flavors with a bit of chocolate, and the Brunello is hearty with flavors of dried cherry and a hint of coffee.
Another interesting wine comparison would be the Domaine de la Charbonnière, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2013, and the Domaine Du Cayron Gigondas 2016. The Châteauneuf is a blend of 70 percent Grenache, 15 percent Syrah, and 15 percent Mourvèdre Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and just a drop of Mourvèdre; while the Gigondas is a blend of 70 percent Grenache, 15 percent Cinsault, 14 percent Syrah and one percent Mourvèdre. It would be interesting to see what difference the Cinsault makes to the wine versus the Mourvèdre Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and just a drop of Mourvèdre.
Try a pair of Pinot Noirs from California from the same vintage year like the Siduri Wines Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2017, and Belle Glos, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir Las Alturas 2017. Consider a gift of a Nebbiolo from Virginia Barboursville Vineyards Nebbiolo Reserve 2015, alongside one from the classic region of Barolo, like the G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe 2014. Contrasting a Tempranillo from two regions in Spain might be enlightening, such as the Convento Oreja Ribera del Duero Crianza 2014, versus the Finca Sobreno Seleccion Especial Toro 2014.
We have so many other wines available for your wine comparison experiences, or gift giving to your wine-loving friends and family, and would be happy to help you with your choices.