Wines You Can Drink Right Now
For February's Somm's Selection, I've selected a range of wines you can drink right now. Some of them are young, and some of them are starting to develop a bit, but all of them are picked for approachability and ease of use. These are wines that could also cellar for a few years, but I've focused more on things that are in an ideal window right now. Happy shopping and sipping.
I recently got to taste through the whole Rhys lineup, and wow these wines are awesome. Their vineyards are farmed meticulously, and no expense is spared to bring healthy, ripe fruit in. This Pinot Noir comes from a special vineyard in Anderson Valley in Mendocino. In my opinion, Anderson Valley produces some of California's most balanced and fresh Pinot Noir fruit. It's all on display in this Bearwallow vineyard Pinot Noir: Fresh red cherry and raspberry fruit, sarsaparilla, fresh heather honey, and lightly toasted spices with a firm yet easy finish.
This is from the wonderful 2012 vintage, one of Champagne's best in the last twenty years. 2012s have ripe fruit, silky texture, and great acidity and are absolutely wines you can drink right now. This particular vintage cuvée from Charles Heidsieck is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Some words about the 2012 vintage from managing director Stephen Leroux: "We tasted it with a huge smile on our faces. When we tasted 2008 it was a more intellectual smile, with 2012 it was a smile with every part of our body.” Stylistically this is a more broad, weighty Champagne. I'd say it's more for Dom Pérignon, Krug, or Bollinger lovers, because this wine has opulence and toastiness to back it up. It's a true Brut as well, that lovely whisper of sweetness carrying the minerals and fruit on the finish, keeping it from being too austere.
The name Giorgio Rivetti is synonymous with Piedmontese royalty. With decades of winemaking under his belt in both Barolo and Barbaresco, he's one of the most recognizable figures in the region. La Spinetta's wines demonstrate class, power, and grace. This Barbaresco bottling is from the Gallina vineyard in the village of Neive. I picked 2003 because it's a great example of a wine you can drink right now. It's from a ripe, over-the-top year, and this plays to the Spinetta house style, which is one of opulence and richness. I don't think this wine has decades in front of it, but it is certainly in a delicious, sweetly-fruited place right now.
I know this is in a good spot because I recently opened some 2018 Gagnards, and they were most certainly open for business. Ripe, rich, silky, and decadent. A lot of wine writers will place Chassagne's wines in the camp of "more structured, less opulent," but I find Gagnard's wines to be the opposite of this. Les Caillerets is of course one of the best vineyards in Chassagne, sitting on a steeper mid-slope at a similar elevation to Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet just a bit further north. The stony, poor soil of this vineyard produces lean and strong wines with structure, and combined with the buoyant house style of Gagnard, this makes for an inspiring bottling and a great wine you can drink right now.
Mas Martinet was one of the original Clos wines of Priorat, helping put the name on the map of this fledgling region back in the late 80s and early 90s. These wines are built like tanks and made from very old vines that produce concentrated, intense grapes. They're almost electric purple in the glass, and on the nose you can smell the super ripe fruit before you even take a sip, which is when the muscular tannins and big structure of this wine follow through. It's a heady and intense experience, and although this wine can age for decades, this one is entering its drinking window right now. Best with something cooked over live coals or smoke.
There you have it. Five wines that are built for showmanship and impressiveness at this very moment. If you haven't discovered the Rhys wines yet, they're very much worth the $$, and strike that perfect balance between fruit and elegance that is my mark of a great California Pinot Noir.
Cheers everyone, and happy shopping!
View more of Jackson’s hand-picked wine selections here:
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