Culinary — 18 December 2018
Twelve Tasty Sips

Our Mixed Case series serves up an eclectic mix of recent ‘adult beverage’ discoveries by the dozen.

Whether you’re perusing a bar menu while traveling or stirring up a cocktail at home, let our guide lead to new taste destinations.

By Hope S. Philbrick

‘Tis the season for good cheer!

Whether you need a last-minute gift or a treat to hide in the closet where you plan to escape from the in-laws, we’ve got you covered.

Crack open any of these wines and you’ll soon be smiling brightly.

wineMionetto Rosé (Extra Dry) is a festive peachy-pink wine with elegant bubbles. Whiffs of grapefruit, lingonberries and summery bush berries tickle the nose. Well-balanced flavors of red berries, tart cherries, and faint plum dance across the tongue. Enjoy this sparkler on its own or alongside with cheese and crackers, or seafood. Retails for approx. $4 for a mini stocking-stuffer-sized bottle.

Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso (Brut) is a pale yellow color with gentle bubbles. Aromas of Asian pear, honeycomb and faint apricot reward the palate with anticipated flavors that gain complexity with notes of citrus. Enjoy this sparkler on its own or with salads, snacks and seafood. Retails for approx. $14.

2016 Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel is a blend of 78% Zinfandel, 19% Petite Sirah, and 3% Carignane. This deep purplish-red wine offers notes of dark cherries, blackberry, currant, cola, thyme, mocha, and holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Soft tannins lend a rich mouthfeel. This Sonoma County winery defines “old vine” as averaging more than 50 years, but the family reports that this bottling is special because most grapevines are more than 95 years old and some are over 130! Retails for approx. $35.

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard “The Mariner” is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 9% Merlot, 8% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Berry, cherry and shortbread aromas drift into flavors of dark berries, mocha, vanilla, pepper, clove and anise. The result is a wine that’s as well-balanced, complex and sophisticated, which is just how we prefer our cruise ship captains to be. In press materials, the winery says that “The Mariner represents our vision to produce the finest Meritage wine from the Dry Creek Valley using the five noble Bordeaux varieties.” Color us impressed. Retails for approx. $45.

2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc is 100% Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel. This pale yellow wine is crisp and balanced with notes of citrus, cucumber, tropical fruits, fresh mown green grass, and clean minerality. This vintage was pulled from the field prior to the October 2017 wildfires in Somona County; you won’t detect any effects in the glass, but symbolically this wine stands strong with survivors. Retails for approx. $15.

2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc is made of grapes that hail from the Sacramento Delta in the Clarksburg appellation and fermented in 100% stainless steel. Versatile and food-friendly, it offers notes of lemon, honeydew, apricot, Asian pear, and lychee. This vintage was pulled from the field prior to the October 2017 wildfires in Somona County; you won’t detect any effects in the glass, but symbolically this wine stands strong with survivors. Retails for approx. $15.

wine wine Wine2017 Early Mountain Rosé grows on land in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where, according to press materials, George Washington dined in 1784; he wrote in his journal that the Early family showed kind hospitality, a trait worth striving for for even when your niece drops the gravy boat. A blend of 73% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 7% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, this wine is a pale orangey-pink color. Notes of strawberry-kiwi, nectarine, orange blossom are consistent from nose to palate. Crisp acidity is balanced by pleasant minerality in this food-friendly wine. Retails for approx. $25.

2016 Early Mountain Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc represents the Virginia winery’s second bottling of this 100% varietal. An earthy wine with a delicious backbone, notes of blackberries and plums are met with herbs and damp mushrooms. The silky mouthfeel juggles some kicky tannins. Pair with grilled meat. Retails for approx. $34.

2015 Early Mountain Eluvium is a tasty blend of 82% Merlot (from some of the winery’s oldest vines, according to press materials), 17% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Layered notes of plum, blackberry, mint, and spice box meet well-structured tannins. Cellar properly and this wine may be kept to the year 2027—a great gift for the wine collector on your list. Retails for approx. $38.

2016 Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon is lively and expressive, like a fun party guest for your mouth. Notes of blackberries, cranberry relish, chocolate-covered strawberries, violets, black pepper, oak and vanilla are rounded by soft tannins. Put this on your wish list. Retails for approx. $15.

2016 Bread & Butter Chardonnay has a creamy mouthfeel with notes of vanilla, nuts, crunchy fall leaves, tropical fruit and soft minerality. If your Aunt Sassy insists she’ll only drink Chardonnay this holiday, a sip of this can make a convincing argument that she may be onto something. This wine is enjoyable on its own and pairs great with seafood, chicken, winter squash and anything buttery. Retails for approx. $15.

2016 Bread & Butter Pinot Noir boasts fruity notes of cherries, raspberries and strawberries with hints of oak, thyme, and vanilla. Yummy on its own, it also pairs nicely with mushroom pizza, roast chicken, and cheese. This is a food-friendly wine that will suit diverse palates, so consider it for your holiday table. Retails for approx. $15.

Unless otherwise noted, all suggested retail prices are for a 750ml bottle.

Be a responsible grownup: Never drink and drive.

Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s written about wines and spirits for more years than she wants to admit. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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