This time of the year is crazy enough, so I shopped for this month’s selection with everyone in mind. You want to have that affordable wine to share with a large group or bring to the neighborhood holiday party, but you also need wines to share with good friends or even a gift for that hard-to-please boss or wine snob.
This month’s selections: Napa Jack’s, 4200 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park,
Honig Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (Napa Valley), $14.79
A crowd pleaser that also will fill in as your white of the season. The Honig has big grapefruit flavor, with a hint of topical fruit and minerals on the finish. It’s nice on its own or with any dish to which you would add lemon or citrus, such as salmon or oysters.
Calina Reserva Carménère 2004 (Valle del Maule, Chile), $8.96
The carmenere grape was originally transplanted from Bordeaux, where it is now extinct. It offers big red character at a little price. Expect rich blackberry fruit with light cocoa, nutmeg, and a touch of oak—very approachable! It will hold its own with meats and cheeses. Buy and drink it soon, because it won’t age.
Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2004 (Barossa Valley, Australia), $17.78
The gift that delivers. This wine is highly rated (Parker: 92), at a nice price, and it’s delicious. A blackberry nose, with dark plum and chocolate on your tongue, and a classic Barossa spicy finish. It’s balanced, silky, and will go with all your favorite holiday roasts.
Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Napa Valley), $68.00
Dark and rich fruit with tons of herb and spice notes, this is the wine for the collector in your life. A powerful vintage with lush fruit and tannin to go the distance gives this one a long life in the cellar, where it continues to become more complex and soften over a decade or more.
Codorníu Pinot Noir Cava Brut NV (Spain), $14.93
Cava is the Spanish wine world’s word for sparkling. This is another great gift for a large group. This wine is 100 percent pinot noir and made in the traditional Champagne method. There are hints of bright strawberry, crisp lemon, and peach undertones. A perfect match with light appetizers, salmon, or any red berry dessert.
Bollinger Special Cuvée NV (Champagne), $55.00
Fantastic! The blend is Bollinger’s nonvintage Champagne. It is a mix of the best wines from several vintages and smells like a warm caramel roll. It tastes close to that, like a rich and delicious spicy apple crisp. You can drink it throughout a meal, and don’t forget to have some on hand to toast in the new year.