Leaves on the ground, logs on the fire, and now we’re moving our clocks back an hour. It’s November! Autumn is such a cozy season, with its brisk weather and longer nights moving our lives indoors. Then there’s Thanksgiving coming up – and with that in thought, we present the November Dirty Dozen. 12 wines, all chosen for their versatility, with a special consideration for the big day. Pick up your November Dirty Dozen today.Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2015 Vintner’s Blend, Liana Estates $15.95 sale price, $15.15 reorder
Liana Estates is the second winery from the Peju Family and is located in Carneros. Released at $24 a bottle, we were able to include the Vintner’s Blend in this month’s DD thanks to some friends and family pricing. Mostly Chenin Blanc and all tank-fermented, it is zippy, racy and chock-full of citrus flavors. Pair with pre-dinner snacks and appetizers.
2014 Chardonnay, Dreyer Sonoma $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
This Chardonnay over delivers for the price. The fruit hails from Carneros, is whole cluster pressed then fermented in new and neutral barrel. All the classic flavors are there: citrus, pineapple, pear. Rich but not too oaky, this can work for many occasions. Bring it to your next house party or, if staying in, pair with rotisserie chicken and an herby green salad.
2014 Silvaner alte Reben, Dr. Heyden $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This dry Silvaner, the third most widely planted grape in Germany, comes from vines over 30 years of age! Beautiful, herbaceous aromas meet with crisp, vibrant peach fruit. Compatible with most veggies (even asparagus!), a first course vegetable terrine or cream soup would be a perfect match here and a fine start to an elegant meal.
2015 Rosé Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Tipping her cap to the style of pink wines made in Provence, Diane Puymorin uses mostly Mourvèdre and Cinsault for her Les Cimels Rosé. Les Cimels means “bouquet of fruit,” and maybe it’s the 80 year old Mourvèdre vines that lend this wine its distinct bouquet. It’s versatile enough to pair with all sorts of cuisine, especially those which appear on Turkey Day.
Down in Stellenbosch, South Africa, English expat Alex Dale makes a bright, crisp Chardonnay free from any oak influence. Fermented in steel tank from free-run juice only, the aromas are pure, deep, and classy. There’s a distinct mineral drive to go along with the crisp, citrus-like fruit profile. It will suit poultry dishes very well … hint, hint!
Winemaker Christophe Piat has been on a qualitative roll since first going all organic over a decade ago, and now he has embraced biodynamism. For his blanc, he blends equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, and the result is a refined white Bordeaux with a great balance of fruit and liveliness. A spinach salad with goat cheese pairs well here.
What a tremendous value! This big, bold Spanish blend of Monastrell, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in new and 2-year old French oak. Spicy, dense, black-fruited, no wonder it received a whopping score of 92 points from Robert Parker. Time in the bottle has settled down the tannins. Serve with roasted or braised meats and spicy sausages.
Too often value-priced Zinfandels are marred by off-putting, oaky flavors. Not this one from Il Cuore. Instead the zesty, berry fruit is left alone to charm and delight the palate. Fruity and easy-going, much of the fruit was sourced from Mendocino County. This Zin can wear many hats … bring to a friendsgiving potluck or order in with your favorite pie.
The whimsical label is in juxtaposition to the firm, grippy Merlot fruit found inside the bottle. Renowned winemaker, Fabrizio Moltard, who began his career at Gaja, is responsible for this plummy red. Careful when you get to the bottom of the bottle, it throws a little sediment, but that only helps to explain the wine’s complexity. Try with lamb chops!
2012 Carmignano, Le Farnete $19.59, $15.67 reorder
According to legend, the Cabernet Sauvignon which grows alongside the native Sangiovese in Carmignano, was a wedding gift from the French to Italy when Catherine di Medici married into French Royalty. For the wine, its presence adds backbone and structure. It’s a fancy wine, maybe one for special occasions, like a standing rib-eye roast.
Côtes-du-Rhône always delivers. It has to be one of the most reliable viticultural regions for high quality, reasonably priced wines in the world. Our friend Thierry Boudinaud has several irons in the fire in and around the Rhône, but his La Boissière is such a great all-purpose red, we will stop there. It will solve all of your pizza and pasta wine needs.
Just like we did last month, we’re including a red Bordeaux which we discovered on our annual En Primeur tasting trip. Again, to suss out quality samples in the sub $10 category is a difficult task, but occasionally we get lucky. Back in February, Neal Martin wrote, ” Check out 2012 Les Gabriaux – a delightful Médoc. That’s not advice. That’s an order.”