Our Sommelier's Picks for January
Happy New Year, everybody! We here at Westgarth Wines hope that your holidays were safe and happy, and that you're optimistic for the future of 2021...even if it's already doing everything it can to put us on edge. Despite the presence of sour moods and vitriol out in the world, we have the ability to fight back with positivity, kindness and open hearts. We can drink bottles of wine that connect us to other people across the table and around the world. We'll continue with our traditions of breaking bread regardless of the climate. Here are a few wines we believe in:
Jackson's Somm Picks
The wines of Jean Noël Gagnard are stunners. Their star has continued to rise over the last two decades as the wines have grown in precision, balance, and intensity. This Boudriotte comes from a small section of the Morgeot vineyard in Chassagne, facing southeast and receiving ample sunlight. Less than 300 cases are made per year. The fresh and lively 2018 vintage is not to be missed. These whites come on strong with notes of fresh lemon, quince, apple and hay, and possess rich and supple texture.
Hundred Acre is a cult house, you probably know this by now. Winemaker Jayson Woodbridge crafts critically-acclaimed wines in St. Helena year after year. The 2013 vintage is in a wonderful place right now, in fact I prefer these wines after they've had five years or so to mellow out. Especially when they have the concentration and weight of a 100-point wine, which this 2013 Kayli Morgan can boast. Think about Cabernet Sauvignon at its deepest and lushest: roasted black fruits like plum and cassis give way to bing cherry compote, pipe tobacco, graphite and fresh mint. A hulking, muscular beast of a wine waiting to be tamed.
I've recommended these wines before as well, and they bear repeating. If you're a lover of Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, or the Syrah grape in general, these are absolutely worth your time to check out. Christophe Baron, born and raised in a French winemaking family, turned his lifelong love for Syrah into a winery in Washington State's Walla Walla region. The recipe is there: biodynamic farming, whole-cluster fermentation, neutral-oak élévage. He's committed to expressing the nuance and essence of the Syrah grape. That's why when you lift the glass and discover a world full of smoke, pepper, fire, fresh blue fruit, and roasted herbs, you'll be pretty convinced he's accomplished his goal.
Why do Torbreck's wines garner so many high scores? Easy – they're impressive. They are large, powerful wines that communicate the message of Shiraz and the truth of why it's Australia's most-planted red grape. They age well, carrying not only fruit, but also loads of savory, herbal, peppery notes that get more complex as time goes on. That boisterous core of blackberry always remains there. This comes from the tiny Gnadenfrei vineyard in the Barossa Valley. And 2005 was the first year they produced it. Torbreck loved the results so much that they decided to purchase the vineyard years later. See for yourself why Torbreck's Laird is one of Australia's most celebrated and hard-to-find Shiraz wines.
2002 is easily one of my favorite Champagne vintages ever. The wines are endlessly structured, complex and stylish. They've stood the test of time, lasting years in bottle and continuing to grow in depth and intrigue. Jacquesson is a house that everyone ought to be familiar with. They have long been a negociant, but around the late 1990s they decided to seriously step up their game, demanding high quality grapes and super-sustainable vineyard practices, which was still a relatively new concept in Champagne at the time. This 2002 is a great example of a Champagne made by a house on the rise, and is drinking exceedingly well right now.
We hope that these picks can bring you joy in the new year, whether it's hunkered down with family, or safely quarantined while we ride out what is hopefully the looming end of the pandemic. It's always a pleasure to share our passion for wine and to offer the ones we're most excited about straight to you. Thank you and Happy New Year!