Enjoy any of these all-American selections with your friends and family this holiday! Sparkling, Whites, Reds, a Sweet Wine, and a Brandy!
2013 Kramer Family Celebrate! Sparkling Muller-Thurgau Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Oregon $22, 89 points
This dry, charming bubbly with notes of pineapple, guava, lemon, and violet candy from an esoteric grape is ideal for guests to sip on while waiting for dinner. Available at www.kramervineyards.com.
2013 Mercer Pinot Gris Yakima Valley Washington $15, 90 points
Try this instead of the usual Pinot Grigio – same grape but riper expression. Appealing notes of pineapple rind, apricot, lemon zest, hay, and yellow rose blend with varietally spot on notes of slivered almond and quinine. Available at www.wine.com.
2013 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc Napa Valley California $20, 88 points
This lively, fresh, grassy, lemony, and peachy wine has weight, depth, and complexity. For a mass-market brand that is so widely available, it is a very nice surprise. Available at www.totalwine.com.
Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Washington $26, 91 points
Soft, creamy, rich, and buttery, this is just the ticket for the Chardonnay lover in the house. Available at www.wine.com.
2012 Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Oregon $25, 95 points
Soft and inviting with notes of wild strawberry and pink rose. A delicate beauty. Available at http://stollerfamilyestate.com/.
2011 Carmen Carmenere Gran Reserva Apalta Valley Chile $16, 94 points
Warm, ripe and inviting with licorice, dark chocolate, gingerbread cookie, cumin, sumac, brown mushroom and cedar notes, this medium-bodied, spicy and savory South American red has a smoked paprika or pimenton note on the long finish. Available at www.wine.com.
2012 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi California $22, 96 points
Growers turned winemakers, the Lerners own one of California’s finest Zin vineyards. With gorgeous red currant and red licorice flavors mingling with a deep earthy streak, this full-bodied red is going to steal the show. Available at http://harneylane.com/.
2012 Scotto Family Cellars Malbec Lodi California $14.99, 90 points
Here is a nice change of pace for those who like a lighter Cabernet or medium-bodied Merlot. The grape, Malbec, is doing great in Argentina, while many North American versions are super-ripe and heavily oaked. This version is elegant, supple, and very polite, with notes of plum, blackberry and vanilla. Available at http://www.scottocellars.com/.
2011 Dry Creek Vineyard The Mariner Dry Creek Valley California $45, 95 points
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, along the lines of Opus One or Joseph Phelps Insignia, is plush and earthy with notes of cherry, cassis, plum, new car leather, smoke, and vanilla bean. Go big or go home. Available at http://www.napacabs.com/.
2013 Bonny Doon Vinferno Arroyo Seco California $24 (375ml), 92 points
This intensely sweet but very well-balanced Grenache Blanc has notes of coconut, papaya, peach skin, and caramelized sugar. Delicious on its own, or with dessert or cheese. Available at www.bonnydoonvineyard.com.
Korbel 12 California Fine Aged Brandy $39.99, 92 points
Aged for 12 to 17 years in charred American oak barrels from the forests of Appalachia, this ultra-premium American brandy is smooth, elegant, rich, and nutty with a note of allspice. Available at http://store.korbel.com/.