It’s Past Christmas and the new year is right around the proverbial bend. If you’re like anyone else on the web, and why shouldn’t you be, then you’re no doubt being bombarded, plagued even, by “Best of’s” and “Top Tens.” None of that here. Instead, this post will be business as usual. We recently plowed through three bottles to warm up our livers for the onslaught of imbibing that will surely follow over the next week.
Two of the bottles bellow, the Montstant Mas Donís Barrica from Spain and the Silver Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia, are sure to please if you bring them over for any holiday gatherings – the Montsant Mas Donís Barrica, especially. If you’re planning on tackling some rather heady egg nogs or cups of steaming wassail instead, shelve these wines and keep them for yourself.
The third bottle, a Barefoot Cuvée sparkler is, as you may have already feared by name alone, kind of a dud. It’s the end of the year. Hell. Spend some extra dollars and taste something with more elegance then you may be used to…or hit up that special bottle from that certain special chateau you had years ago and that still haunts your palette. Chances are you’ll be trying to cling onto the walls as you stumble to your bed around two or three in the morning on new year’s day; I contend that you should partake in some terrific bubble before this hilarious dance takes place.
2009 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donís Barrica (Old Vines) –$12
Bright, heavy and heady on the nose with some essence of plumage. At first there’s this delicacy you can’t quite pin-point; sweet and condensed fruits with a base tannin structure in back. Give it another few minutes and the expression comes through more clearly. There’s and evolution and something else to discover with every new sip or two. The tannins deepen, but never overbear; the plum-y acid quails and haunts; the mid-range as a whole encapsulates in lieu of broadening. Truly a worthy wine.
2010 Silver Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon – $12
Cherry madness on the nose with a hint of chamomile, pretty with some snarly head. The taste itself is slightly flabby, but fun. Nice concentration of acidity, a delicate sweetness and a deep tannin you have to search for instead of being slapped with. In the end, nothing but your first reaction is elucidated on and it has a tendency to taste just like many other cab’s you’ve had before. All said, It’s quite spot-on. Worthy.
2009 Inama Carménére Colli Berici Piú – $ 19
A pretty and flourishing nose that only hint of fig and spring. Soft, velvety and luscious, but perhaps just a little too much so. The tannins in the back are tight, but there’s a lacking note throughout wanting you wishing for something more to be expressed. While generally soft and approachable, it’s not the most inviting to drink during long takes. Because of its price and little sense of bright future with aging…Pass.
NV Barefoot Cellars Bubbly Brut Cuvée – $8
Appreciatively dry. A mellow back-end with palm oil and cantaloupe clean finish. It’s a fun and easy take down. But there’s little that we can say is too exciting. If you’re buying some bubbles, go ahead and spend twenty or so clams from some enticing producers from California. Pass.
Eric Asmiov, et al., in the New York Times recommended some fantastic options: Scharffenberger Mendocino County, $17; Roederer Estate, $19; or the Iron Horse Green Valley, $27.