Holiday Wines: My Poor Liver…My Lucky Palate!

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t of left you, without a dope beat to step to.

Here’s the scoop, I went mad on account of the wine this Christmas season and had to share. Over the past two weeks, I did nothing but drink really good juice from my cellar, along with a couple others I picked up from my favorite wine shop, the monopolized NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Nashua.

My liver is tired, but my palate is alive! Let’s relive the journey shall we?!

Into Wine

Into Wine by Olivier Magny – What pairs well with a nice port? A playfully and smart book about wine. I highly recommend this satirical look at “wine books” that goes a long way to actually de-assholizing wine, while making some well-supported social and environmental statements. Very educational, beneficial, easy to follow, and witty, Into Wine is a great way to get into wine. Olivier Magny is a character to say the least!

P.S. Don’t skip the footnotes!

Sandeman 20 Year Tawny, Portugal, Port – I love port and am surprised that more people don’t. Most people think “dessert in a glass”, but it’s so much more. Next time, take some time to get behind the initial sweet and journey through the layers of complexity (especially with the age that tawny and vintage ports bring to the glass). This particular tawny delivered some nice, dry candied nuts and caramel with a good tannins.

Cherry Pie

’11 Cherry Pie, Carneros, Pinot Noir – One of the best Cali Pinots I’ve had. Cherry Pie is an apt name as this wine explodes of cherry marmalade and a lot of nice, subtle earth tones. Was a great way to start the festivities and a revelation of a wine.


’07 Beringer ‘Private Reserve’, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon – This was a good wine, but doesn’t justify the price tag. It’s one of those ‘old guard’ style Napas that reminds you of the late ‘90s. I still have one more and will wait a few years to see if it becomes more expressive. Honestly, I’m glad I freed up space in my cellar.


’10 Donelan ‘Cuvee Keltie’, Sonoma County, Syrah – Epic juice. Rich and dry with deep blackberry, as well as complex secondary notes of meat and tobacco.  Just so damn tasty and interesting. There’s a reason these guys are my favorite winery, every bottle of Donelan produces a great experience!


07 Prime Cellars ‘Midoriya Hills’, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon – Probably the best pure Cab that I’ve ever had (I know..big claim). Most cabs mix in merlot to add fruit, but this was 100% cab is splendid. Terrific tannins, brambly mountain fruit, AMAZING structure. This wine speaks to what Napa is all about. One of those wines that “makes it move”.


’09 Robert Sinskey ‘POV’, Napa Valley, Red Blend – This is one of those nouveau blends that likes to hide what’s in it…which actually makes it fun trying to figure out. It’s an overall good wine that’s very approachable, fruit-forward, and fun to sip on its own. A crowd pleaser for any level of wine drinker.

’10 Robert Sinskey, Carneros, Pinot Noir – A playful pinot with nice minerality and evenness.

Lamaione - Wind Gap

’10 Wind Gap, Sonoma Coast, Syrah – A bright, even, well-structured Syrah. Kind of simple, but still very enjoyable.

’06 Frescobaldi ‘Lamaione’, Tuscany, Merlot – Deep and complex ‘Super Tuscan’. Rich vanilla-laced red and black fruit with rustic terroir qualities that place you firmly in Tuscany.

I hope all you Baller and Shot Callers had a wonderful end to 2013 and are ready to hustle in 2014. Cheers to you all!

Categories: Wine & Spirits

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Good to see you back at the keyboard! How was the time off? Looks like a fun book….

    • Thanks man. Time off was great, still not completely back (just not enough time in the day). The book is terrific, very informative, provocative at times, and super witty. Outside of the uber-snooty, wine lovers all love this guy. Cheers!

  2. Some interesting selections thst have got me thinking…. Will be on the lookout. Thanks for the insights

  3. Drinking well I see. Love the Donelan, Sinskey POV, and Wind Gap wines for sure. And Tawny Port….yes please!

  4. Again, so happy you’re back! I cannot believe you went so long without wine… the horrors! How big is your wine cellar? I am very jealous!

    • Thanks so much!

      That’s my “Wine Corner” in the basement. We’re currently in transition, so the cellar will hopefully come with the new house. But as you can see, there’s some wine to get through (approx 120ish bottles). Mostly Cali (lots of Pax and Donelan Syrah & Napa Cabs) and Bordeaux. But don’t worry, there’s 10 bottles of bubbles in the mix.

      Have a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for including the PRIME! The Midoriya Hills is my all time favorite Cab I have made. Good choice and I’m glad some of the 75cases made it all the way to New Hampshire.

    Ted Henry
    PRIME Napa Valley

    • Ted,

      Thank you so much for reaching out and all I can do is consider myself lucky enough to have scored a bottle of the ’07. I wasn’t blowing smoke when I said it was “the best pure cab I’ve ever had”. I look forward to coming across your wines in the future!

      Cheers to continued greatness!

  6. Thanks for the tip about Olivier Magny’s book. I read his “Stuff Parisians Like” and it was a hoot!

    • Linnet, I hope you love it. Olivier is an amazing character and his personality comes through as much in his writing as it does in his classes at O-Chateau. I look forward to your thoughts at some point!

      Amicalement – Erol

  7. This is excellent. I will have to try the Donelan Cuvee keltie, we love sonoma. I agree the Beringer is not great quality for the price of a Private Reserve, we had that in a private wine tasting at Beringer.
    We just started “Winesday” a weekly wine review on our food blog if you have time to check it out and give us any feedback or ideas we would be most appreciative! We are cork dorks and happy to be your newest followers! Cheers! -Kate

  8. Great read, thanks. Agree with you about the 20 year old tawny. Have you tried Noval’s?

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