Wine buyers, Julie and Gemma, share their picks for your holiday celebrations.
As we enter this season of sharing food with family and friends, we compile a list of our favorite wines to serve at parties and gatherings. Our top picks this year embody the qualities we showcase in our stores. Made in family-run wineries on small farms, using sustainably-grown grapes and natural fermentation, these wines are clear expressions of the terroir of the farms and the care of the producers. On their own, these lovely wines invite you to delve into their complex aromas and flavors. Paired with carefully selected cheeses, they demonstrate their full, orchestral potential.
I Clivi Galea Bianco 1999
Gemma participated in this year’s grape harvest in Friuli where she had the chance to taste 10 vintages of I Clivi wines. This ‘99 Galea Bianco was her favorite. Gold in color with flavors of acacia, anise, marzipan and Meyer lemon, this complex wine is the result of the careful farming of old, low-yielding vines and traditional cellar work. This particular vintage is also a superb example of the Tocai grape’s ability to age gracefully over time. Right now, we are carrying the Bianco ’99 in magnums—perfect for any of your larger holiday gatherings!
Derain Bourgogne “Les Riaux” 2009
Catherine and Dominique Derain produce this wine on their small farm in the town of Saint Aubin without added sulfur, fining or filtering. The wine is aged in huge, old chestnut wood barrels and is best enjoyed after decanting, giving the wine a chance to open up and fully express its dark cherry fruit, velvety texture and underlying minerality.
Jean Lallement et Fils “Cuvée Reserve” Grand Cru Champagne Brut N.V.
We only stock Champagnes made by winemakers who grow their own grapes and carefully craft each cuvée in their own wineries. The Lallements make a tiny amount of Pinot Noir-based Champagne from their Grand Cru vineyards in the town of Verzenay. Champagnes made from grapes grown in this town possess a distinct intensity and virility. This non-vintage “Cuvée Reserve” (80 percent Pinot Noir, 20 percent Chardonnay) is beautifully complex and powerful, while maintaining a polished elegance. You might be tempted to serve this wine on its own, but we encourage you to pair it with foods that complement its flavors of quince, red currant and spice.