The groundhog gave us bad news, winter storms are showing no mercy, vaccines are a few months away for most of us, and the sun has ditched us for the southern hemisphere. The notion of more days indoors, cheering when the mercury gets above 10 degrees or the sun comes out for half a day is not heartening. To top it off some of you are undertaking the challenge of a Damp February and March—only one night a week for drinking—in which case, you need these wines more than I do. No matter your circumstances, better days are ahead but in the meantime, make sure whatever you put in your glass is worthy. Here are some ideas:
Avignonesi Nobile di Montepulciano Poggetto di Sopra, 2016: A single vineyard expression of Sangiovese from one of Italy’s most prized terroirs. It’s pretty, elegant and concentrated, with supple tannins and layers of rich black cherry fruit. There’s even a whiff of dried orange peel—give it a minute after opening to let all of this layered flavor unfurl—you’ll enjoy this one all evening. $65 average online.
Eden Rift Estate Chardonnay, Cienega Valley, 2018: Made from fruit in the oldest continuously producing estate vineyard in California, this Chardonnay is grown near Monterey Bay. The flavors are bright and rich with tropical fruit notes tempered by a savory edge. Says winemaker, Cory Waller, “We wanted the flavors of a French triple crème cheese without treading into over-oaked butter bombs.” Job well done. $42
Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay, 2018: Made from certified organic vines ranging in age 25 to 30+ years, this bottling is from a fabulous vintage year for Calera, with ideal temperatures and conditions to cultivate a wine of balance and depth. The palate is savory and bright with pear, peach and apple notes and a glossy texture on the finish. $55
Kosta Browne Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018: Made from a selection of heritage clones (many of which were likely brought over from France) and Dijon clones, this wine is cultivated in one of Sonoma’s coolest AVA’s. The result is a wine that balances finesse, fruit and tension perfectly. Darker blue-black fruits show on the palate with a harmonious play between tannin and acidity. $165
ARGIOLAS Costera, 2019: Located on the island of Sardinia, Argiolas winery specializes in producing wines from native varieties. Costera, a name referring to hills, is made from Cannonau, the local name for Garnacha, a grape variety that some say actually originated in Sardinia. This one is deeply colored, full-bodied with notes of ripe strawberry, black cherry and warm spice. $18
Saint Cosme Little James’ Basket Press Rouge NV : This 100% Grenache is made from blending wines from multiple vintages in concrete tanks, starting with the 1999 vintage—a solera style of winemaking that allows the winemaker to give the final wine the best balance of structure and fruit. This crowd-pleaser shows juicy red fruits, spicy edges and lovely structure. At $16 it’s a steal—stock up and make it your house wine.
Tenuta Scerscé “Infinito” Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG, 2016: Made from 100% Chiavennasca grown in the foothills of the Alps, this special wine gets its extraordinary expressiveness from air-dried fruit. Sforzato (Sfursat) is a term that refers to the process of leaving fruit to dry in boxes for two months – usually on the upper floors of the winery. The dry alpine air concentrates flavors and sugars, yielding a wine of rich dark cherry fruit, supple texture with a sensual lingering finish $60
Domaine du Cellier aux Moines Les Margotons Mercury, 2018: A beautiful expression of Chardonnay that sings with summery ripe tropical fruit. Made from a precious plot of vines planted in 1987, this is a classic Burgundian Chardonnay with lovely structure, texture and polish.