Daniel Fitzgerald, Sommelier, Clay Pigeon Food and Drink, Fort Worth, Texas, on his holiday wine picks:
Sparkling Bubbles for the Holidays
The holiday season is marked with celebration and joy, so what better way than to have sensual and elegant rose bubbles to commemorate any event? These three selections represent quality producers and each would certainly make any occasion more festive.
Billecart-Salmon Rosé: delicate and refined.
Jacquesson: from the house that invented the wire muselet (muzzle) rendering string obsolete today.
Henriot: sensual and elegant.
For Over the Top Bubbles
Luxury wine in limited series from a family of independent winegrowers. Current winemaker Anselme Selosse’s drive is to make profound and expressive champagne. He believes that great champagne “needs no makeup.” ($140–$559)
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne
An exceptional blanc de blancs made entirely from chardonnay picked from the best wines, and only in a high quality vintage. Furthermore, only the wine from the initial press is used. This Champagne sees almost 10 years of aging before being released.
Both of these Champagnes come from the prestigious Côte de Blancs region within the Marne department. ($160)
For Over the Top Wine Gifts
Vintage port from 1963, 1966, 1970, 1977, 1994, 2000.
If you are lucky enough to receive a bottle of the ’63, ’66, ’70, or ’77, enjoy them over the holidays with your guests. The 1966 is considered one of the most underrated of the century while the 1977 is regarded as potentially the best of the century. If you are receiving a ’94 or 2000 vintage, wish for two so one can be laid down for a few more years until completely ready.
The merlot-based wines from the right bank of Bordeaux get overshadowed by the cabernet sauvignon-based wines from the left bank. These wines are well-known within the wine world, and can be so difficult to acquire you may feel as if you have won the lottery (of wine). Gentle, rich, and velvety are perfect descriptors for these wines. From Saint-Emilion (as Cheval Blanc) you will also find the following three châteaux: Angelus, Ausone, and Pavie. You may recall seeing Château Cheval Blanc in a cameo at the end of the infamous pinot noir hating film, “Sideways.”
Pomerol is adjacent to Saint-Emilion, and Le Pin, Vieux Château Certan, and Château Trotanoy merit attention. Vintages can matter more with the wines of Bordeaux due to the inherent cooler weather. Worth seeking are wines from 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2010.