Holiday season is upon us, as the snow outside attests. Here are a few last-minute but top-notch choices from Arterra Wines Canada reserved just for you and the wine lovers in your life: a holiday trio (plus one).
Hailing from the northern, warmer part of Sonoma County, Clos du Bois’ Reserve Merlot Alexander Valley 2014 makes a strong argument for the joy and richness this grape can bring. There is a suave sense of class in the dark black plum fruit here, aided by velvety tannins in the glass. There is also a bit of Malbec and Petit Verdot here, and the wine was aged for almost two years in 50% new oak barriques. The Clos du Bois Reserve Merlot is one I’m sure your friends and family will love as they get reacquainted with the inherent charms of Merlot.
Another excellent New World choice comes from famed Robert Mondavi Winery of Napa Valley, California. Though very few bottles of the iconic Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard 2013 remain at Vintages, you can still experience the core of this superb vineyard site through the affordable Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. Coming from an excellent year all round, this concentrated Cab, crafted by original Bordeaux native Genevieve Janssens, delights with pure cassis, mint and field berry flavours layered on a mid-bodied frame, at least in the context of Napa. Heralded through many vintages and through the decades, this is a great cellar starter at $32.95, a $5.00 savings through the end of the month. I have tasted vintages of this bottling back through the decades (as far as 1974 recently), and it is built to hold up very nicely over the coming years.
Finally, to bookend our reserve trio, I’ve selected Ruffino Winery’s top tier Chianti Classico Riserva, the Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione 2012. 100% sourced from only two estates in the high rolling hills heart of Tuscany, namely the Gretole and Santedame estates. With both sites located in the renowned Castellina subregion of Chianti Classico, each offers its own personality and distinguishing characteristics: Gretole fruit provides power, structure and red cherry character, while Santedame offers the Sangiovese grape’s trademark finesse and elegant mineral notes.
In sum, Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro is a much more savoury wine than either the Clos du Bois or Robert Mondavi Winery choices above. For reasons of variety and quality together, this entire set of wines would provide a nifty tasting group experience with friends over the holidays or in the New Year.
Cheers to 2017 and to a great year ahead!
Eugene Mlynczyk MW, Master of Wine
Arterra Wines Canada
Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserve Merlot Alexander Valley 2014 #34900 Vintages November 11, 2017 $24.95
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon Vineyard 2013 #670463 Vintages October 14, 2017 $149.95 rated 95+ pts Robert Parker Jr.; very limited availability
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 #255513 Vintages Essentials Collection was $37.95 now $32.95 save $5.00 through December 31, 2017 rated 90 pts by both David Lawrason and Michael Godel at www.winealign.com
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione 2012 #353201 Vintages November 11, 2017 $44.95 rated 91 pts Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 and also by John Szabo, MS and David Lawrason at www.winealign.com
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