COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
For Digital First Media
We’re over Black Friday and Cyber Monday …. and now we’re in the home stretch to the finish line of the 2015 holiday gifting and feasting race. Forget socks. Forget ties. A nice bottle of wine matches everyone’s wardrobe and one size fits all. So I’d like to continue offering some nifty nectar for Chanukah and Christmas.
Here are 4 reds worth every red cent if you can find them.
Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand). Approximately $22. I know this winery like the back of my toothbrush. In my opinion it’s the finest producer of this grape variety in the region (possibly on the planet) at the tip of New Zealand’s South Island. I enjoy my Pinot after a few minutes of fridge time to yummify the nectar created from 100 percent barrel maturing. If you love, as I do, those plummy fruit flavors with a richness from the French oak then this will hit the spot every time.
I tasted a trio of wines from the extraordinary Ravenswood Winery, which I have known and loved for most of my wine loving life. And back in the early days of my career I met Ravenswood’s pioneering Joel Peterson who went on to produce legendary Zinfandels. Joel and Ravenswood have always been the jewels in the crown of Sonoma winemaking. Ravenswood produces 8 single vineyard wines in its upper echelon category, and here are the three which I had the distinct pleasure of recently sampling.
Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 2013 (Approximately $35). Once again I have to invoke the name of my co-host on my TuneIn Radio show’s wine feature, Jill Weber. She has convinced me that the flavors and smells of strong plants growing near the vines impart their characteristics on the wine. And in this case it’s the eucalyptus. Those are essentially Jill’s words and they mirror the words on the wine notes I received. And boy can you detect the eucalyptus in this wine. There are the unmistakable prominent flavors of dark fruits and a refinement and finesse that clearly sets this Zinfandel apart from any competitor’s bottling. A stunning and beautiful Zin indeed.
Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2013 (Approximately $60). Less than 1,600 cases of this wine are made and it is aged in French oak for just under 2 years. The wine is huge, so if you like to save your wines for a rainy day, the rainy day you’ll be waiting for can be in 2027. That’s how long this Zin will continue to age in the bottle. I have no problem drinking it now but there is plenty of aging potential which will smooth some of the edges and make this a spectacular drink to open this time every year over the next 12 years (if you buy an entire case). Classic Zins have a beautiful old spice aftershaviness to them. This Zin is the macho man of wine with deep passionate red fruit flavors that offer an unshaved cool dude edginess of masculinity.
Ravenswood Pickberry Red Wine 2012 (Approximately $50). So here is what makes the unpretentious sounding red wine a complex Fourth of July finale. The wine is a blend of 48 percent Merlot; 43 percent Cabernet Sauvignon; 5 percent Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Petite Verdot. The wine was aged for just under 2 years in oak and less than 900 cases were produced. Part of the fun is hunting down a bottle or two of this amazing drink. The wine is dominated by a richly intense fruitiness heavily betraying the Cabernet’s dominance with all the typical dark berry fruit flavors, with hints of cigar wrapper, cedar and leather hides. Wow!
Happy Chanukah to all of you polishing your Menorahs and brushing up on your dreideling. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears regularly in Ticket. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining