Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wine House newbie here. Normally, I am out pounding the pavement in hopes of getting our fine French and other imported wines into the cellars and onto the shelves of Bay area restaurants and retail establishments, but Pete and Anya were kind enough to give me some blog space. After all, ’tis the season to be sharing….


Speaking of which, ’tis also the season when those nagging little New Year’s resolutions start tugging at the sleeves of our conscience. Or, if you’re like me, you think of them randomly throughout the year, get distracted by something, and promptly forget them. Nevertheless, this is a time for anticipation of good things to come. Consequently, I have been thinking a lot about wine resolutions for 2010. That is to say, I’ve been thinking about wines we should all be resolving to consume more of throughout the next 12 months and beyond because, gosh dangit, they’re good…. If maybe a little underappreciated. Moreover, if there is any truth to the saying “you are what you drink” (that is the saying, right?), then these wines will surely make us all better people. Certainly these are only a sliver of the pie (mmm, pie) in terms of wines we should all drink more often, so if you have any wine resolutions, recommendations, and revelations, do tell! In the meantime, on with the blog…

The longer I am on this Earth, the greater my predilection for experiencing any moment in life with sparkling wine. Thus, it only seems logical that I begin my discussion with bubbles. Of course, we can talk about Champagne. Champagne is lovely. We all know this. It hardly needs repeating or endorsement. But what about the Cremants, Cavas, Proseccos, and non-Champagne Bruts of the world? If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ve probably noticed that we mention the Domaine D’Orfeuilles N/V Vouvray Brut a LOT. But have you tried it?!? I think Anya summed it up best when she said “it’s a sparkling wine that doesn’t make me wish I was drinking Champagne”… And in this economy, it’s nice to know there are affordable sparkling alternatives that don’t leave an after-taste of self-pity. While we’re on the subject, how have we all come to believe that sparkling wines, Champagne or otherwise, are solely for celebrations? My fellow winos, I beseech you, the next time you eat sushi (or eggs, or Doritos, or WHATEVER), try it with something sparkling. If it’s not Champagne, more power to you.
Next on the list, and maybe it’s the Alsatian in me (nod to Grandma), but I can’t help get excited about all the Rieslings and Gewurztraminers from the Noughties that are tucked away in the Alsace section of the store, just waiting to be paired with things like spicy Thai or Indian curry, chicken pot pie, crème brulée, cheese, vanilla cupcakes & leftover Christmas cookies (I can personally attest to the latter two pairings)…. And don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving dinner. Tending to be richer and rounder than their German counterparts while still maintaining a delightful minerality, beautiful stone fruit, and varying degrees of sweetness, Alsatian whites are where it’s at for winter food and festivities. Don’t believe me? I dare you to bring any one of the Domaine Ehrhart Rieslings or Gewurztraminers, such as the 2006 Domaine Ehrhart Gewurztraminer Herrenweg or the 2004 Domaine Ehrhart Riesling Schlossberg, along with spicy chicken wings and a boat load of Ranch dressing to your next Super Bowl party and see what happens. It might be the first time people pay more attention to the food than the game.



Moving on, and you will probably hear me say this many times over in the future, I am a huge fan of year round dry Rosé consumption.Anyone who claims Rosé is limited to the summertime is missing out on 3 WHOLE SEASONS of absolute bliss in a bottle. Pete likes to drink them while he cooks (“to fight off the heat”) but no doubt they’ll be just as satisfying with the finished product. That said, not all Rosé wines stand the test of time and so should be consumed within a year or two of bottling for best results. Moreover, no one represents Rosé better than les gens en France, so if you’re feeling rosy, you might want to check out the 08’s from the Costieres de Nimes, which range in style from bright candied fruit, like that from Domaine Gournier to a spicier, mineral driven rose like the Rosé de Fayel. By the way, these wines will also go exceedingly well with cupcakes and leftover Christmas cookies… Just in case you were wondering.


Last but not least, the Reds. So many favorites I don’t even know where to start, but I’ve found that a good place to end up is with a glass of Port in your hand. That’s right… I’m skipping the dry stuff and going right to the sweet spot (shocking, I know). Here’s the thing about Port, it’s NOT just for dessert and cheese pairings. Nor is it always red and sweet, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll stick to that genre. That said, I’m not going to get into the different types of sweet red Port and their virtues or whether non-Portuguese fortified wines should even be called “Port”, lest I overextend my newfound writing privileges. However, I will say that Port is a fun category with which to experiment. True story: I once went to a wine dinner where they paired the NV Meyer Family Cellars Zinfandel Port, a blend of several vintages of old-vine Zinfandel that average eight years of age at release and made in a modified Solera method, with Pork and a reduction sauce made from the aforementioned beverage of choice and OMIGOSH it was heavenly. If the chicken wings and Alsatian wines didn’t convince you, go for a Ribs-n-Port combo. Not only will it be a hit with the friends, but it’ll last a while once open so you’ll have plenty of time to drink some while you’re getting warm and cozy by the fire with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Of course, it probably goes without saying that Port will be a stellar accompaniment to all the cupcakes and cookies (the chocolate ones in particular) come next holiday season.

Well, enough blogging, time to get going on those resolutions…. Bon Santé and Enjoy! – Emily Crichton