Holiday wine selections from our favorite fine & rare wine purveyor.
Here are some wonderful holiday wine selections for Thanksgiving or any special occasion where it’s a time to share goodness with loved ones.
Wines to greet your guests with…
Everything sparkling…here are some great champagnes/sparkling wines that will never disappoint in all price ranges
- Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Sous Bois… $80 to $110
- Canard-Duchene NV Brut Rose... $47 to $65
- Chateau de Bligny NV Grand Reserve Brut… $40 to $50
Or if you prefer white wine…
- Mending Wall 2017 “Stone on Stone” White Blend… $30 to $35
- EnRoute 2019 “Brumaire” Russian River Chardonnay… $35 to $50
Perhaps a wonderful red wine…
- Sullivan Rutherford Estate 2016 “Coeur de Vigne” Rutherford, Napa Valey Red Meritage… $45 to $110
- Leto Cellars 2016 “Mt Veeder” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon… $45 to $85
And now for the main course…
Pinot Noir has always been a great paring with turkey. It has the ability to bring out the delicate flavors of the bird and stuffing without overpowering those flavors. Here are some of our suggestions:
- Royal Prince 2018 “Santa Barbara” Pinot Noir… $30 to $40
- Castalia 2017 “Rochioli Vyd” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir… $50 to $60
- Addax 2017 “Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir… $65 to $80
- Marcassin 2013 “Marcassin Vyd” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir… $225 to $300
Or if you’re in the mood for white wine…
- La Pelle 2018 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc… $40 to $46, or
- Larry Hyde 2016 “Hyde Vineyard” Napa Valley Chardonnay… $50 to $60
Or if you want to splurge, here’s some over the top’s featured in the photo from Mr. Janiczek’s wine cellar…
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2016 “Cask 23” cabernet sauvignon
(a gift from a very special client – thanks Phil)
- Villa Del Lago 2015 cabernet sauvignon
(thanks Dave & Yolanda Del Dotto – See you soon)
- Accendo Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
(name means to kindle, illuminate, inflame, arouse…thanks Kevin & Rosella for Our First Napa Trip)
- Empreinte 2016 Martinez Vineyard cabernet sauvignon
(thanks Tony & Heidi Martinez – You made me a wine snob)
- Del Dotto 2016 Cinghiale Vineyard Family Reserve chardonnay fort ross-seaview Sonoma coast
(thanks Tony & Mary Beth Church – you turned us on to fine white wine – and we’ll never forget the spontaneous Italian dinner full of wine & laughter)
- Secret Indulgence 2014 The Resurrection red blend
(Mary, my wife, picked this one out in napa when we went out for the Barrels & Beasts fine wine tasting event – what an experience! Thanks Mary)
A big thanks to Marcus Graziano of Capitol Cellars Granit Bay for compiling this recommended list for us.
Details on some of featured wines follow, all given to us by our good friend Marcus Graziano owner of Capitol Cellars Granit Bay – purveyors of fine & rare wines.
To purchase any of these special wines, call Marcus at:
916-780-9030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“BRUT SOUS BOIS”
Champagne Grand Cru
Billecart-Salmon produces top-flight Champagnes with an emphasis on the highest quality fruit, meticulous cellar practices and extended bottle aging. Founded in 1818, the House is now headed by Francois Billecart, the seventh generation. Francois maintains meticulous standards for his Champagnes, a follower of his forebear's motto: "Tradition is meaningless without great quality." All of Billecart's Champagnes see absolutely no wood and only first-press juice (pure cuvee) is ever used. The house style is light and elegant, with emphasis on finesse rather than power. Clean, crisp acidity is a hallmark of Billecart-Salmon. The Estate's fruit is rated at 96%, among the highest of any Champagne producer.
This unique cuvée, which is entirely vinified in oak, is produced from an equal blend of the three classic Champagne grape varieties: Pinot Noir sourced from the Montagne de Reims sector and Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs (both from premier cru and grand cru villages), plus Pinot Meunier from the Marne Valley. It totally masters the art of blending by renewing the ancestral spirit and savoir-faire of the original champagnes.
The Brut Sous Bois offers a complex aromatic definition and a character linked to vinification in oak casks. Fermented and aged briefly in wood, this is dry, intense and toasty while still giving space for white fruits and some citrus. Richly endowed, spicy, and tangy, its structure and tight texture mark it out as a Champagne for long-term aging. The aftertaste is brisk, packed with acidity and with reminiscences of the oak-aging in the vanilla finish.
Canard-Duchêne’s passion stems from a unique blend of family values and an identity deeply rooted in the Champagne region.
It all started with the love of Victor Canard and Léonie Duchêne. In 1868, they created the eponymous Maison Canard-Duchêne, driven by a bold vision : to reveal the exceptional potential of their hillside village, located in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. Popular with Tsar Nicholas II & the Imperial Court of Russia, Canard-Duchene was granted the privilege of displaying the Russian coat of arms.
The two World Wars took their toll on the chateau that existed in the heart of the domaine leaving only its limestone cellars intact which are still in use today. In 1968 the Maison celebrated its centennial with the creation of a special cuvee named after the famous king of France, Charles VII. In 2018 Canard-Duchene celebrated its 150th anniversary, an occasion to honor past generations who have contributed over a lifetime to the reputation and prestige of the house around the world.
The Canard-Duchene, in the heat of one of the most famous wine producing regions in the world is surrounded by glorious vineyards & stunning landscapes.
REFINED AND ELEGANT, THE CUVÉE BRUT ROSÉ IS THE PERFECT ADDITION TO YOUR EVENING APERITIF OR SOIRÉE. Nose: Intense aromas of fresh fruits, predominantly strawberry and raspberry. Eye: Slightly rosy hue, beautiful pearl finish, with fine bubbles. Palate: Notes of red fruit and subtle spicy aromas. PAIRING NOTES Grilled white meat. Finely sliced Serrano ham. 30% Pinot Noir 40% Pinot Meunier 30% Chardonnay
A true piece of Canard-Duchene’s oenological heritage, Pinot Noir draws its character from the nutrient-rich soil, the product of 70 million years of evolution & unique combination of limestone, chalk, clay & sands.
The quintessence of Canard-Duchene’s style: freshness & intensity, combining refinement & character.
Built by the Marquis de Dampierre in the heart of the Côte des Bars. The château and its land have a great historic, architectural and wine-making heritage.
Château de Bligny is a unique champagne property. It is the only Champagne to enjoy a “Château” appellation as a champagne harvester and maker.
This magnificent property overlooks the village and was built on the foundations of the feudal castle by the Marquis de Dampierre, a French peer who had bought the estate in 1773 in order to hunt wolves. The tower and wing were added in the 19th Century.
Vines have been grown on the slopes of Bligny for many centuries. The Marquis de Dampierre, who owned the Bligny glassworks, lived in the château in the heart of the village. He also owned the surrounding hillsides. The vineyards provided for his personal wine consumption, and the wine was mostly still.
In 1930 the vineyards covered forty-four hectares. After the war, the estate was bought by a gentleman from Tours, Mr. Lefèvre, who wanted to add a champagne to his range of sparkling wines. His plans did not come to fruition and the property was divided up. In 1952, the Lorin family bought the vineyards in several lots & replanted in 1954.
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay
A deep golden robe underlined by a line of fine sparkling bubbles. A substantial, flowery (violet) nose, notes of white fruit, very ripe pear, creamy, slightly woody, mushrooms. A fine, dense structure, white fruit (peach, nectarine), gingerbread. An ample mouth and a wonderful length.
2017 “Stone on Stone” Napa Valley
Mending Wall is the product of three families and the thing that brought us together, our love of wine. Here, there are no rules. No expectations. Just the freedom to follow that friendship and to let it unfold and take us new directions.
FRANK DOTZLER Proprietor…For Frank, wine has always been rooted in romance and adventure. He bought a 20-acre parcel and set out to make a dream come true, naming the place True Vineyard. His winemaking philosophy came together at True.
In 2003, he expanded his dream, acquiring Outpost Winery and Vineyard, bringing on the winemaking legend, Thomas Rivers Brown. Since then, the friends have blazed a long and fruitful trail, working to capture the magic and beauty of the region in some of the world’s best wines.
MARK PULIDO & DONNA WALKER…Proprietors Mark and Donna were both raised in pharmacy families, a practice that set the foundation for their winemaking philosophy. Their approach is one of scientific curiosity and a belief that to create anything great, one must walk a path of patience, discipline and determination.
THOMAS RIVERS BROWN Winemaker/Proprietor…In 1995, Thomas left his home in the South and moved to California and he’s been studying Napa Valley winemaking ever since. Thomas’ approach is less by design and more by feel, to let the grapes and the land, and all of its incalculably subtle variables, determine how a wine is grown and produced. Because of this, no two of Thomas’ wines are ever quite the same, each an embodiment of the place and conditions that created it.
Thomas is the youngest winemaker ever to receive a 100-point score from Robert Parker. (He’s earned 20+ since.) He was awarded two 100-point scores from Wine Spectator, the first American winemaker to receive a perfect score. And Food & Wine Magazine named Thomas 2010 Winemaker of the Year.
The Mending Wall 2017 Stone to Stone White is a delicious Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend. To retain acidity and preserve the mouthwatering nature of the wine, malolactic fermentation is blocked. This is a more bright, steely profile in the style of white Bordeaux, and are excited to present the first vintage of this wine aged 100% in stainless steel. The Semillon brings an appealing fleshiness to the blend, lending the palate a sleek viscosity that the Sauvignon Blanc frames with nicely integrated acid and minerality."
2018 Russian River Valley Brumaire
EnRoute Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, “Brumaire,” is named for the fog that gently envelops the vineyards in Russian River Valley, creating the perfect climate to nurture our fruit to ideal ripeness. A discrete group of select clones and growing areas combine to produce the “Brumaire” blend. The Wente clone benefits from the warmth of the northernmost vineyard along Westside Road and contributes an oily texture and tropical notes. The Rued clone, grown in the cool climate of Green Valley, brings beautiful perfume and floral notes to the wine. The Heritage clone provides notes of pear and citrus from a vineyard cultivated in the Goldridge sandy loam along Vine Hill Road in Sebastopol.
Beautiful aromas of stone fruit, honeysuckle and citrus travel from the glass on the first swirl of this straw-hued Chardonnay. Upon entry, the texture is pleasing with racy acidity that is rounded out by the impact of the wine’s sur lie aging. Peach, apricot, grapefruit rind, lemon curd and a profound minerality make a statement on the palate with flavors that last from start to finish.
2016 Rutherford, Napa Valley
Situated in the heart of Napa Valley, Sullivan Rutherford Estate spans of 26 acres of vineyards and lush gardens. At the center are the family residence and winery which are open to visitors with an advance appointment. For nearly fifty years the Estate has been an oasis for artists, chefs, friends and wine lovers, and to this day remains a destination for discerning travelers.
The Estate was founded in 1972 by James ("Jim") O’Neil Sullivan, a visionary and pioneer of Rutherford, a premier Napa Valley appellation for Cabernet Sauvignon. Jim's passion for creating great wine predated the 1976 Judgement of Paris which famously recognized Napa Valley wines as among the best in the world.
Today, the Estate continues to build on its legacy of growing and crafting world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Under new ownership in 2018, the team is deeply investing in its vineyard programs and built a state of the art winery in 2019.
Led by entrepreneur Juan Pablo Torres Padilla, developed a deep commitment to the vineyards and sophisticated winemaking practices. We share his values of hard work, discipline, and the pursuit of excellence and I’m committed to making this estate one of the best in Rutherford, Napa Valley, and the world,” says Padilla.
Sullivan Rutherford Estate was founded in 1972 by James O’Neil Sullivan, a creative visionary and pioneer of the Rutherford appellation. For nearly fifty years the Estate has been an oasis for artists, chefs, & wine industry professionals. Today, the Estate continues to build on its legacy of growing world class grapes.
While intense in its structure and concentration, this full bodied wine deftly avoids any sense of heaviness. Its aromas leap from the glass with dark notes of blackberry cordial laced with swiss chocolate and vanilla. The rich, savory palate offers dusty blue fruit flavors with a touch of bittersweet cocoa powder that lingers on sweet fine tannins throughout the clean finish. Crafted to be approachable upon release yet age-worthy in your cellar, this wine is best enjoyed now with light decanting until 2028.
Blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
2016 Mt. Veeder Napa Valley
After many years in the wine industry working for other producers, Brad and Lisa Warner decided to pursue a smaller, more personal project by founding Leto Cellars in 2008. A true collaboration, Leto Cellars focuses on crafting original wines from small vineyard parcels and using old-school methods for modern appeal.
Brad Warner began his career humbly in the cellar at Charles Krug Winery in 1967. Leveraging his innate wine sense and endless curiosity, Brad advanced to the highest levels of Robert Mondavi’s distinguished winemaking operation as Vice President of Production and Director of Property and Facilities over the course of his 30-year tenure.
Throughout his career, Brad traveled to world-renowned Bordeaux and Burgundy regions in France to learn the classic methods of winemaking and cellar operations. An innovator in wine production, Brad leveraged his experiences to develop cellar protocol that is used in nearly every modern winery today.
After his time at Mondavi, Brad became the Winemaker and Director of Operations at Sawyer Cellars, Winemaker and General Manager at Foley Johnson Winery, and today Owner/Winemaker of Leto Cellars
The 2016 Leto Mt. Veeder is a deeply penetrating and gorgeously styled Napa Valley Cabernet with enticing aromas of blackberry tart, crème de cassis, violets, baker’s chocolate, licorice & rocky minerals. These aromatics blend seamlessly with a saturating palate of red and black cherries, crushed blueberries, dried sage that is very expressive. The tannins are velvety yet slightly firm and the flavors supple and rich yet mouth quenching at the same time. A nicely balanced acid profile keeps all of the rich fruit in check so they all meld into a beautifully complete Cabernet that has style, elegance, weight and length.
Blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
2018 Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara
Winemaker David Green has been lucky enough to work with the likes of icons David Ramey and Philippe Melka, but he doesn't fear the trap of what good fortune he may have in front of him. The 2014 Royal Prince is Green's first release; a stunning Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara. Now working with former Screaming Eagle winemaker Maayan Koschitzky, these wines are becoming epic. This area produces some of the most nuanced and refined Pinot Noir in all of California. The vineyards David sourced his fruit from are known for cold, fog-filled mornings that lend to the savory character of the fruit. Royal Prince (as the name suggests) shows balance, pedigree and extreme poise.
The grapes were de-stemmed, placed in small 1-ton bins and cold-soaked for several days to enhance color extraction. Fermented on the skins for 7 days and punched down 2-3 times each day followed by aging in French oak barrels for 9 months.
The 2018 shows balance and richness with aromas of dried cherries, Dijon mustard, violets and baking spices. Its garnet in color, viscous and supple, and expresses vibrant flavors of pomegranate and black cherry. The tannins are plush, smooth and balanced by vivid acidity.
2017 “Rochioli Vineyard”, Russian River Valley
Terry Bering, Winemaker at Rochioli for the last fifteen years, first made Pinot Noir as a home winemaker in 1985. Terry created the Castalia label in 1992, and the 2007 vintage produced 328 cases. The wine was kept for 15 months in oak, 30% new, all French. This has given the wine a much softer feel at release. As always the wine is 100% from the Rochioli Vineyards. 50% is from the River Block and the rest is from an 18 year-old block (of the West Block clone) that he feels to be of an equal quality to the River Block. This wine should age for at least ten years and will be in its prime sometime between 4 and 7 years.
Here is an altogether classic expression of West Side Road Pinot that combines great fruity depth with exemplary balance and lots of winemaking polish. It leads with lovely aromas of optimally ripened cherries, hints of violet and a wisp of brioche, and it follows on the palate with lengthy, very well-defined, varietal flavors that are barely beginning to show all that they are. It is slightly fleshy and fairly supple in feel and has no tough edges to lose, but it still wants to be cellared for a few years at least in order to grow past its youth and reach its very considerable best.
The 2017 vintage produced 341 cases. The wine was kept for 15 months in oak, 25% new, all French. This has given the wine a much softer feel at release. As always the wine is 100% from the Rochioli vineyards. The Flad Vinyard was planted to the West Block Clone back in the late 1980s and also from the River Block, a West Block clone planted at the same time. These blocks give Terry’s wine its special character. The rest of the wine is from Dejon clones 777,115 and 667 from three different vinyards. This wine should age for at least ten years and be in it’s prime in from 4 to 7 years.
Castalia Pinot Noir possesses the full-bodied complexity and subtle cherry essence that are so typical of the finest Russian River Pinot Noirs. Many fine restaurants in the greater Bay Area have recognized that reputation by serving Castalia Pinot Noir year after year.
2017 Sonoma Coast
Utilizing the talents of winemaker Russell Bevan, one of the most sought-after winemakers in California today, Addax is a small winery project led by Josh Peeples. Addax wines represent a quality without compromise approach that result in wines of tremendous purity and power. From the first bottling of the 2009 vintage, Addax has remained focused on utilizing old world, low intervention techniques that highlight the unique terrior of Napa Valley & Sonoma Coast. With each vintage representing less than ten barrels, their focus and attention to detail is revealed in each bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine is a tiny 3 barrel production of 75 cases, sourced from small vineyards in the Petaluma Gap and Sonoma Coast region. Also, aged in 100% new French oak, this Pinot Noir is an extremely hedonistic wine that is unlike anything most will ever experience, unless you happen to know Russell, Brandon or Josh, it is that scarce. It is full throttle fruit forward, but wonderfully balanced with spice box, expensive oak, and glycerial amounts of raspberries, strawberries and brandied plums.
2013 “Marcassin Vinyeard”, Sonoma Coast
Helen Turley is one of the most influential winemakers in California, receiving critical acclaim for almost every wine she touches. She was instrumental in creating the cult wine phenomenon and her work with Bordeaux varietals may rival her contribution with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Turley has been the consulting winemaker for some of the best wineries in the country – Peter Michael Winery & Vineyards, Pahlmeyer, Colgin, Bryant Family Vineyard, Martinelli (the consulting winemaker from 1993-2010) – just to name a few of the nearly 20 clients.
Marcassin is Turley’s own label owned in partnership with her husband, John Wetlaufer who is a viticulturist.
Marcassin (French for 'young wild boar') did not have its own winery for many years. The wines were crafted at the Martinelli winery in the Russian River Valley from 1992 to 2011. Construction began in August, 2010 on a 10,000 square foot winery in an industrial park in Windsor adjacent DuMOL.
Marcassin’s 20-acre estate vineyard, Marcassin Vineyard, is located on the Sonoma Coast and is planted two-thirds to Pinot Noir and one-third to Chardonnay. The original 40-acre estate was purtchased in 1985, and has been expanded to include 240 acres located at an elevation of 1,200 feet a short distance from the Pacific Ocean.
This Estate Pinot Noir is one of the best Wetlaufer and Turley have produced. A wine of extraordinary sublimity, intensity, authority and palate presence with notes of forest floor, plums, black cherries and raspberries intermixed with notions of blueberries and smoked meats are found in this dark plum/ruby/purple-tinged wine. Clos de la Roche-like, it exhibits sweet tannin and impressive depth The wine possesses staggering intensity and richness but it is neither heavy nor overbearing.
2018 Napa Valley
La Pelle is the ultimate expression of terroir in the bottle. The name, which means “The Shovel”, is both the first and last tool used to make wine: first in the vineyard to break soil and plant vines and last in the cellar to remove the final grape deposits from the tank after fermentation. It’s genius! Wouldn’t you agree?
Maayan studied viticulture in his native country of Israel. His first job in the Napa Valley was at Screaming Eagle as a harvest intern. From there expanded his education and expertise at Dalla Valle, and today holds the venerable title of Director of Winemaking at Philippe Melka’s ATELIER MELKA. La Pelle’s other luminary partners are Miguel Luna and Pete Richmond, partner and founder, respectively, of Silverado Farming Company. Their impeccable work in the vineyards sets the stage for the production high-quality wines that exude freshness, acidity and are balanced with complexity and depth. With true experts managing both the vineyards and the winemaking, it is no wonder we have become completely smitten.
From an old vine site in St. Helena, farmed organically by Silverado Farming Company. The dry-farming process produces fruit with excellent balance and intensity. Grapes were picked at first light during a cold foggy morning. They pressed whole clusters slowly to extract the free run juice without breaking the stems. The juice settled in tank for 24 hours prior to being transferred to 35% new French oak and 50% cigar shape barrels to cold ferment for 6-8 weeks, then aged for 19 months with very little intervention, racking only once prior to bottling.
Expressive nose with bursts of citrus, lemon zest, white cherry blossom, white peach, jasmine, and lychee. The palate is crisp with vibrant acidity. This wine has nuances of minerality complemented with intensive white fruit flavors. The acid balances the palate and leaves layers of texture.
2016 “Hyde Vineyard Estate”
Carneros Napa Valley
In 1979 Larry Hyde began planting 72 acres of what would become the Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, Napa Valley. Larry's passion, hard work, persistence and forward thinking resulted in planting new clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot experimenting with row directions.
Larry founded Hyde Vineyards in 1979 and true to a family business, Larry’s family lives and works at the vineyard.
Hyde Vineyards founded in the heart of the Carneros Napa Valley AVA. The Vineyard consists of 192 acres.
This near-perfect growing season started early, and we saw ideal weather conditions throughout the valley. Thanks to a relatively steady and mild July, August followed with a series of warm days allowing the grapes to progress to perfect ripeness. This stunning 2016 vintage is refined and expressive, with ripe citrus aromas, and a deep core of rich pear and honeydew melon flavors that bring fantastic complexity. The finish is filled with a touch of butter, a hint of toasted hazelnut and refreshing acidity.
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"This Chardonnay comes from a single Wente selection clone planted on the Estate Vineyard on Los Carneros Avenue. The wine undergoes a very long, gentle pressing before being 100% barrel fermented with native yeast, using 30% of the oak new (mainly Francois Freres). It went through 100% malolactic and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 96+”