First, most of us do not drink $100 wines; in fact most of us don’t drink wines over $20 on a regular basis and as a result will find our palates challenged by the bigger, richer and more complex flavors of wine meant to be drunk after years of aging. Second, why should I direct you to some wine that is only available from one store or that they only made 250 cases of and you’ll never see it except at a high-end restaurant?
With those thoughts in mind I will tell you that the Dom Perignon @ $130 is lovely but the Moet Imperial @ $34 (same company) is really what you want and you can get three of them for the same price. So following that logic I present my 2011 choices. They you should allow you to have a Happy New Year at any price point.
Korbel Rose’ ($11) Quite nice as a volume wine for a party since its good with food or as a good glass to toast away.
Korbel Natural ($15) 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay: Dry and crisp this bottle surprises with its full mouth feel and tastes way above the price point (PP).
Zonin Prosecco ($15): A simple, refreshing sparkler, it has a delightful hint of green apple on the nose and palate, without any hint of sweetness that you so often find in other mass-produced Proseccos.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs ($16): Lovely wine with only 15% Point Noir so there’s really not much color and this one’s better for cheering than with food.
Piper Sonoma Rose’ ($13): A really tasty wine at this PP and good food wine
Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc ($15) 95% Chardonnay 5% PN: Quite lovely and refreshing again playing above the PP
Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs ($30): OK now we’re getting into some wine where sophistication comes into the description. Mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay, a couple of years of time on the yeast and you’ve got something quite nice with great body and fruit.
Roederer Estate L’Ermitage ’02 ($40) 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir: The wine is Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, and they add special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend. As a vintage wine it’s made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from the very best lots. The nose has baked apples and buttery crust, with apricot and delicate vanilla bean. Always one of my favorites.
Taittinger Cuvée Prestige Rosé ($47): This salmon-colored rosé, a blend of 70%Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, is a very well-balanced bubbly. All of the components–the ripe red fruit, floral, and citrus notes; the slight flavor of yeast that is so characteristic of Champagnes; the steely minerality–a lovely balance.
Gosset Grande Reserve ($60): Gosset makes some of the most elegant, restrained Champagnes I’ve ever tasted. The house refrains from any use of malolactic fermentation, so it avoids the weight that oak might impart. The Grande Reserve is vibrant, its very delicate, airy mousse singing from the glass, and the lightness extends to the nose, with hints of marzipan and floral sweetness. The depth and maturity of this wine emerge on the tongue with full-bodied force, with flavors ranging from candied fruits to roasted chestnuts. Excellent for any traditional New Year’s meal or elegant toast.
Enjoy Happy New Year!