Black Friday Wine for the Holidays
Black Friday is as good an occasion as any to buy wine in general, but I see it as a great excuse to sort my wine for the holidays. I've selected five of my favorites from the current list. I very much endorse having Sauternes around during the holidays, as there never seems to be a shortage of yummy sweets, pies and cheese that happen to all go well with sweet, high-acid wines aged in oak. Champagne is a must as well, and some big reds to complement. The inclusion of Portugal on this list is very intentional, as I find Portuguese reds to have boisterous fruit, resinous herbal tones, and notes of Christmas spice. They're pretty perfect for this time of year.
Happy holidays everybody, and enjoy your meals and gatherings!
Jackson's Somm Picks
I opened this wine to celebrate my daughter's birth, and I've always had a soft spot for it. Say what you want about the sometimes-annoying ubiquity of Veuve's Yellow Label; La Grande Dame is many cuts above that wine and is a truly exemplary Champagne and a perfect wine for the holidays. I'm particularly a fan of the round, buttery qualities of the 2012 vintage. This is a Champagne that can be laid down or drank immediately and will set you back a lot less than a bottle of Cristal, although it's on the same level of quality.
Sauternes continues to be super under-appreciated. I love it with just about this much age on a good vintage. 15-20 years allows some of the exuberant youthful fruit to mellow out, and for the acidity to integrate into the background of the wine nicely. It also allows for the new oak on cuvées like this Barsac to suffuse harmoniously. This wine has notes of peach syrup, dried apricot, crème brûlée, vanilla bean and toasted cardamom.
If you're a fan of either classic Bordeaux or old-school Napa Cabernet, you owe it to yourself to check out what Chile is doing (and has been doing for a long time). In the US, Chilean wines haven't really gotten their due yet. They get mentioned in magazines, sure, but they aren't really spoken of with the same reverence as the greatest wines of Napa or Bordeaux. I'd love to see that change. Chile has been on the road to making world class wines for several decades now. Names like Rothschild and Mondavi have invested in Chilean wineries for years now – basically a viticultural coronation. Don Melchor (pron. "Don Mel-Kor") is a Cabernet Sauvignon super-cuvée from Concha y Toro, Chile's largest winery and viticultural landowner. So you could say they have some choice land to choose from when making this wine. The fruit here all comes from the Maipo Valley. It's a perfect wine for the holidays if you're looking to buck the trend.
CVNE (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) is a storied Rioja house founded in 1879. They have their own in-house cooperage, where they season and produce their own barrels to age their wine. This wine was Wine Spectator's #1 Wine of the Year, in this particular vintage. I've had it. It's incredible. Imperial Gran Reserva is only produced in exceptional vintages, like the stellar 2004. It's a towering wine with intense fruit, firm structure, and loads of beautiful spicy toasted curry oak notes. It will lay down for decades to come, but it's also ready to be enjoyed right away. Wines like this are a great way to build age and longevity in your cellar without extreme expenditure.
Everyone who loves Portuguese wine has felt for years like we're prophetic voices crying in the wilderness. Check these out, they're very good, they won't be this affordable for this long...and it's true! Some of the greatest Portuguese reds like Bussaco and Barca Velha have outstripped their once-obscure status and become cult wines with big followings and the price tags to match. When you visit the Douro, as I did back in 2021, you'll see a gorgeous, river-bound landscape of terraced vineyards and beautiful little Quintas growing olive trees and fruit. It's a magical place, and a world-class wine region. Quinta do Vale Dona Maria is situated right on the river, growing red blends with immense power and complexity. There's a wonderful fruity astringency on these wines, shared by other great reds across the world from Bordeaux, Tuscany or the Rhône. See for yourself why the Douro is world-class winemaking territory.
I hope you enjoy trying some new wine for the holidays, along with good company and warm spirits.
Cheers everyone, feel free to email us with any questions you may have!
View more of Jackson’s hand-picked wine selections here: