Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend some of their favorite wines for holiday drinking. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com .

FIVE STARS

(95) Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvée 225 2003 (France). This barrel fermented blend of half chardonnay and half pinot noir exhibits yellow gold color in the glass; the oak fermentation provides a complex nose of spiced stone fruits, with a gentle hint of vanilla; plenty of body on the palate, and its finish is long, harmonious and balanced. ($109)

(95) Pierre Peters Cuvee Reserve Blanc de Blancs (France). Elegant celebration wine; creamy with nice small bubbles that seem to never end; clean and not yeasty; ripe apple and pear aromas. ($54)

(95) Girard Artistry 2009 (California). A richly textured and elegantly balanced blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petite verdot, merlot and malbec from the Napa Valley. ($46)

(95) Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This cabernet is a blend of lots from five estate vineyards in Napa; it delivers a jammy blackberry aroma with a velvety enduring finish. ($45)

(95) Dr. Deinhard Ruppertsberger Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2011 (Germany). From one of the most respected producers of Deidesheim, Pfalz.; a marvelous example of lush, rich riesling made in a half-dry style; complements the cornucopia of cuisines presented during the holidays or will be the perfect party wine. ($23)

(94) Kazmer and Blaise Boon Fly’€™s Carneros Chardonnay 2009 (California). This is what results when you own the land, produce your own barrels, and make the wine; rich, opulent, with great balance on fruit and oak; thick, almost viscous; more masculine in style than your usual California chardonnay, ($75)

(94) Darting Durkheimer Fronhof Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2011 (Germany). This is bold, fragrant, flavorful riesling fermented totally dry; a nice hint of the Pfalz’€™s limestone lingers on the finish; it will complement all those goodies on your Thanksgiving table or those oysters and caviar on New Year’€™s Eve. ($18)

(94) The Federalist Dueling Pistols 2009 (California). A red blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Zinfandel sourced from Dry Creek; cherry aromas ,dark fruit flavors and a hint of spice. ($40)

(94) Aloft Howell Mountain, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). From Peter Mondavi of Charles Krug comes this special occasion wine for your holiday table; rich nose of dark cherry and tea; palate of silky, textured tannins with great balance of red fruit and savory flavors; an excellent inaugural release; benefits from decanting. ($175)

(94) Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain (France). With a predominance of chardonnay in the blend, this is an elegant example of high-end Champagne, at an extremely attractive price point; with stone fruits and a subtle bready note, the nose and following taste is rich and complex. ($45)

(94) Ravenswood Pickberry Sonoma Mountain Red Wine 2008 (California). A Bordeaux blend-styled wine that outshines its inspiration, the Pickberry Red is dominated by merlot, followed by cabernet, with just a smidgen of petit verdot and malbec; the nose is an explosion of black fruit, spice and vanilla, and the palate follows in the same manner, topped off by a long and balanced finish. ($50)

(93) Ferrari Brut Rosé (Italy). Using pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, this classically produced sparkling wine outperforms, at its price; a lovely salmon edge to the pick color, and the nose is full of strawberry and cherry notes; bright and elegant on the palate, the finish is long and balanced. ($37)

(93) Santadi Terre Brune Carignano del Sulsis Superiore 2006 (Italy). A big, powerful Carignano with great complexity, drinkable now and should age nicely. ($65)

(93) Trentadue La Storia Alexander Valley Merlot 2010 (California). A serious merlot with lots of complexity; concentrated flavors of black cherry, blueberry, cassis and dark chocolate; the finish lingers on and on and while the tannins are a bit soft, there are enough for this to age for five or more years. ($35)

(93) La Chapiniere Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (France). This elegant wine expresses the delicate melon and citrus aromas and flavors of sauvignon blanc grown in Touraine with a subtle hint of minerality not found elsewhere; a wonderful holiday aperitif or will pair beautifully with milder fish dishes. ($17)

(93) Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon (California). Aromas of earth, cedar and cassis, this wine has luscious black fruit, rich firm tannins and a complex lingering finish. ($45)

(93) La Follette Sonoma Coast Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 (California). A single vineyard pinot noir, from one of the top locations in northern California, this wine exhibits elegance, with great energy; a bright ruby in the glass; the nose is dominated by red cherry fruit, and hints of exotic spices; on the palate, the finesse of the fruit and the long, balanced finish ably demonstrate its pedigreed origins and skilled winemaking. ($40)

(93) Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). A brilliant silvery-straw in hue, this Chardonnay has pronounced aromas of spiced apple, pear, jasmine and tangerine, with notes of minerality, oak spice and nutmeg, leading into bright ripe pear, apple, citrus and crème brûlée flavors; rich and creamy, the acidity is balanced and the oak well integrated; a perfect match for shellfish, mushrooms sautéed in butter and any other cuisine that’€™s rich in texture and flavor. ($16)

(92) Tikal Patriota 2010 (Argentina). This blend of 60% malbec and 40% bonarda will absolutely melt in your mouth; bold yet controlled fruit and layered with balanced tannins and acidity; superb finish. ($21)

(92) Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This gem is a blend of 75.1% cabernet sauvignon, 13.1% merlot, 7.1% petit verdot, 2.9% malbec and 1.8% cabernet franc; opaque with a dark ruby-garnet color, which complements the rich dark aroma and flavor; black currant, black cherry, berry and Santa Rosa plum are intertwined with the spicy sweetness of oak, cedar, cinnamon, clove and toast; the entry is soft, with dark cherry/berry flavors that develop from start to finish; with great texture and mouth-feel, this cabernet is full bodied, rich and opulent. ($40)

(92) Stags Leap Wine Cellars Napa Valley Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Red fruit on the nose; solid core of cassis and cherry; substantial tannins; long finish. ($55)

(92) Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 (Oregon). Smooth, lush, complex and ready to drink although it should evolve nicely over the next few years; consistently high quality vintage after vintage. ($55)

(92) Leal Vineyards Godsend San Benito County Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). Cherries Jubilee in a glass; nine additional months in American oak gives this wine its steroidal cherry and vanilla flavors; fans of Silver Oak Alexander Valley will love it. ($60)

(92) Molnar Family Chardonnay 2010 (California). Scents of fresh pear and vanilla; bursts of apple and citrus flavors; a wonderful spice finish from Hungarian oak. ($25)

(92) Jeff Rundquist Petite Sirah 2010 (California). The color is deep and inky; jammy scents of blackberry and raspberry; creamy fruits with a touch of chocolate. ($29)

(92) Moët & Chandon, Rosé Impérial (France). The pinot noir in this wine contributes to its dazzling pink color, along with the pinot meunier, used to bring some fruit to the nose and palate; the Chardonnay adds elegance and bright, focused fruit to the blend; the nose and palate overflow with strawberry, cherry and red raspberry notes; graceful and lively, it’€™s a great wine as an aperitif and for the table. ($50)

(92) Tikal Patriota 2010 (Argentina). This blend of 60% malbec and 40% bonarda will absolutely melt in your mouth; bold yet controlled fruit and layered with balanced tannins and acidity; superb finish. ($21)

(92) Don Miguel Gascón Reserva Malbec 2010 (Argentina). This wine uses a selection of the best available grapes from a range of locations to add to the complexity of the wine; deeply colored, and dark in the glass; the nose and palate have an abundance of black fruits, with hints of spice, and an edge of dark chocolate; a wine begging to be paired with beef, game, cheese and other rich dishes. ($25)

(92) Peter Zemmer Reserve Lagrein 2010 (Alto Adige, Italy). Lagrein may not be the first grape variety that comes to mind, when your customers come in the door, but this is a great wine to introduce them to the choices beyond the usual suspects; deep ruby red, the nose is dominated by black fruits, with floral and spice hints; in the mouth, it is rich with a long balanced finish. ($25)

(92) Costa di Bussia, Piedmont DOCG Barolo 2006 (Italy). Classically styled nebbiolo from the Piedmont DOC; very old-world in style, deep brick red color, and aged 26 months in oak; full bodied with hints of the classic tar and roses on the nose; an elegant alternative to cabernet for holiday entertaining. ($46)

(92) Daou Vineyards Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). From the site of the original HMR Vineyards in the Adelaida AVA of Paso Robles comes this world-class cabernet; plummy nose with rich, elegant and balanced flavors of cherry, light oak and olives; satisfying tannins on the finish; a great example of what cabernet can do in Paso Robles. ($30)

(92) Piper Heidseck Rose Sauvage NV (France). A gorgeous rose sparkler composed of 55% pinot noir, 30% pinot meunier and 15% chardonnay, of which 10% to 20% are reserve wines; delivers cherry and strawberry aromas and a refreshing tartness. ($36)

(92) Vina Montes Colchagua Valley Twins 2010 (Chile). Made from 50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% malbec; the bouquet is quite lovely; earthy at first, with some truffle notes, and then oak spice and perfume move in along with black currant, ripe plum and black cherry; medium-full, it is soft and beautifully balanced and possesses juicy and ripe red and black cherry, plum and blueberry flavors; the palate is quite smooth, but has firm tannin at the back of the palate bolstering the structure. ($19)

(92) Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava (Spain). Using only white grape varieties, chardonnay and the traditional paralleda, this elegant sparkling wine from northeast Spain is one of the great wine bargains of the season; lots of finesse, elegance, and energy in a bottle at this price. ($15)

(92) Vigne Regali Rosa Regale Brachetto d’€™Acqui D.O.C.G 2011 (Italy). One of the quintessential dessert wines, this low alcohol, red fruit driven sparkler is a holiday staple for wine lovers; a wonderful match with a chocolate dessert, it’€™s a great way to finish a holiday meal with style, class, and a glass that’€™s just plain fun. ($20)

(92) Zinzilla Zinfandel, NV (California). Rich Parducci has continued his family’€™s rich heritage with his whimsical interpretation of zin, adding just a touch of petite sirah; wonderful touches of blackberries and raspberries; big, bold, and guaranteed to turn your teeth purple. ($20)

FOUR STARS

(91) Belle Glos Clark and Telephone Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (California). Red berry aroma; raspberry, strawberry, oak and some cedar; polished tannins; long finish. ($36)

(91) Tosca Prosecco NV (Italy). This fresh, fruity and fun sparkler is loaded with peach, apple and apricot flavors; clean, crisp and refreshing with a lingering fruity finish. ($14)

(91) Les 4 Terroirs Limoux, Terrois des Cimes Chardonnay 2010 (France). A bouquet with lots of fresh and juicy exotic fruit aromas; equally complex on the palate, where mild acidity lets the fruit flavors rule; melon, citrus and tropical notes combine and it has quite a long finish. ($18)

(91) Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin 2009 (France). Elegant yet rich, clean, bright fruit flavors, soft tannins and a long finish. ($45)

(91) Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Chardonnay 2009 (California). Creamy, smooth and fresh; a classy wine to go with lobster and scallops. ($25)

(91) The Federalist Russian River Chardonnay 2010 (California). Everything that is good about chardonnay is what this wine represents: butter with hints of granny smith apple and slight tropical fruit notes round it out; great for those special dinners, especially turkey. ($22)

(91) Talbott Logan Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010(California). Inviting aromatic ripe sweet cherry fruit; smooooth on the palate; perfect with roast chicken or turkey; just a whisper of tannin. ($23)

(91) The Federalist Russian River Chardonnay 2010 (California). Everything that is good about chardonnay is what this wine represents: butter with hints of granny smith apple and slight tropical fruit notes round it out; great for those special dinners, especially turkey. ($22)

(91) A-Z Rose 2011 (Oregon). Subtle hints of strawberry with an easy crisp finish; a great value that works well with food, from appetizers to seafood. ($13)

(90) J Brut Rose (California). This is a lovely rose bubbly that also comes in a beautiful package; a great holiday gift for flavor and packaging. ($33)

(90) Brutocao Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). A mild bouquet, but with subtle complexity; medium-full on the entry, it is initially mild but soon expands, showing off well-balanced fruit from front to back, and the mix between black cherry, currant and red berries is very tasty. ($20)

(90) Babarosa Prosecco NV (Italy). Lovely floral aromas open the bouquet and a whiff of biscuit lingers in the background; the palate displays tasty flavors of ripe apple and pear, and the finish comes across smooth and creamy; pinpoint acidity keeps things very nicely balanced. ($15)

(90) Mt. Rozier Stellenbosch, The Beekeeper Merlot 2010 (South Africa). A bit jammy in the nose, with a mint-like note tinting mild black raspberry and plum aromas; soft and round, it has a very nice mouth-feel that is almost plush but still well balanced, and displays a generous mix of black fruit flavors draped by smooth tannins. ($15)

(90) Olema Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Aroma notes of blackberry and dark cherry layered with hints of cedar, followed by flavors of berries and fresh brewed espresso; light spice and cocoa notes; good tannins and structure to this full-bodied wine. ($22)

(90) Taz Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2012 (California). The aromas are bright and vivid with notes of ripe strawberry, red cherry, black tea and spicy cinnamon notes; the nose flows through to the palate with notes of red cherry, vanilla and clove; a crowd-pleaser. ($20)

(90) Barcino Brut Cava NV (Spain). Made in the traditional Champagne method, this Spanish sparkler is definitely a cut above others in the category; pale gold color, with tiny bubbles, and a light, nutty fragrance lead to an elegantly structure and balanced mouth-feel full of tasty citrus and pit fruit and a lingering citrus finish; made from 55% xarello, 25% macabeo and 20% parellada. ($20)

(90) Perucchi White Vermouth (Spain). Something a little different for a holiday aperitif; elegant blend of herbs and botanicals, with touches of allspice, cinnamon, mint and orange blossoms; try with your classic cocktail recipes, or as a wonderful addition to sauces in your kitchen. ($26)

(89) Flirt Red 2010 (California). Blueberry, currant, pomegranate and licorice fill your senses; rich juicy plum, Tootsie Roll and vanilla complete the jammy finish; full and complex yet fruity and rich enough impress a range of palates. ($10)

(89) Buena Mano La Pistol Red Blend Rattlesnake Ridge Yakima Valley NV (Washington State). Washington’€™s wine answer to garage-style blends; intriguing blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc; organic grapes, sustainably grown. ($18)

(89) Domaine du Salvard Cheverny 2011 (France). Produced from 84% sauvignon blanc (for brightness) and 16% chardonnay (for richness) from vines averaging 20 years of age, although some are as old as 65 years; a brilliant pale gold flecked with green; the nose is filled with notes of ripe citrus, flowers, and litchis; aromas that are carried over onto the palate and long finish. ($14)

(89) Wine Crios by Susana Balbo Syrah/Bonarda 2009 (Argentina). A silky, rich and smooth blend of yyrah and bonarda; layers of overripe blueberry and blackberry with a slight hint of tobacco; great with your holiday prime rib. ($14)

(89) Hannah Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (California). Citrus aroma; citrus and peach flavors; pleasant, medium-long finish. ($18)

(89) Rio Perdido Mendoza Malbec 2011 (Argentina). The bouquet is quite interesting and has a whiff of barnyard funk that quickly blows off to reveal ripe bramble bush fruits, earthy garrigue and light oak; medium full, it displays zesty spice notes on the entry and then juicy and ripe red and black cherry and currant flavors roll in, nicely framed by smooth tannins. ($12)

(89) Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2009 (France). Nothing is as great as at Thanksgiving meals as an Alsatian white wine; this pinot blanc is bone dry with plenty of fruit and great acidity; serve as an aperitif or with the main event on Turkey Day. ($18)

(89) Offerente Monastrell 2008 (Spain). Deep red in color; aromas of blackberries, spice and flowers; an intense wine with fine tannins and a lingering, smooth finish; pair with standing rib roast or any other red meat on the holiday table. ($12)

(88) Marchesa Gavi 2011 (Italy). From the region where Cortese finds its true home, this low sulfite white is slightly zesty, with lovely mineral notes in the nose mingling with green tree fruit aromas; medium bodied and well balanced with a nice mix of light fruit flavors and a pleasant mineral note remaining throughout. ($15)

(87) Cline Cashmere 2010 (California). Red fruit aromas in this red blend; plum, blackberry, cherry; tannic with long finish; a good value. ($15)

(87) Rose ‘€˜N’€™ Blum Pinot Grigio 2011 (California). The bouquet is fresh and fruity, with aromas of peach and fresh apricot; medium bodied and nicely round, it displays good structure and a touch of apple adding to the peach and apricot flavors on the palate. ($12)

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