Food Pairing.That’s what this VINTAGES release is all about. It’s a topic I used to care about, but finally came to this conclusion: why would I drink something I don’t really like bc some asshole (often myself) told me it was “a good match”. Makes no sense. So I stopped worrying about whether or not my Pinot was gonna stand up to my Swiss Chalet Festive Special and just carried on. That being said, there are a few golden rules worth following:
1) If you’re eating something fatty, drink something acidic.
2) If you’re eating something “from a place”, drink whatever they drink there (ie: if you go looking for the best Pinot Grigio to go with your jerk chicken roti you might be disappointed).
3) Match the sweetness of your dessert to the sweetness of your wine.
4) When in doubt, drink champagne (neck tattoo anyone??).
At any rate, the apocalypse is coming so go drink what you want, eat what you want, and try to be merry ferfucksake.
Here are my picks:
LANGMEIL BLACKSMITH CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018
Barossa, S. Australia
Bone-ass dry New Mexican sparkling Chardonnay anyone?
PINOT NOIR 2018
Central Otago, NZ
As we discussed last time, French Pinots aren’t for everyone. But Pinots from other places seem to be less controversial…partly because they don’t cost as much, and partly because they tend to be a bit bigger, less acidic, more “fruit-forward” – ultimately, less bitchy.
Of the “other” Pinots, most people gravitate to the American stuff. Personally, I find most of it to be over-extracted, over-oaked, and overbearing (insert joke about Americans).
BUT New Zealand (insert joke about Jacinda Ardern) often offers a nice middle ground; not as frustrating as French Pinot, not as trashy as American Pinot. This one by Loveblock (Kim Crawford’s second, slightly less arrogant label I mentioned a while back), is a great example of just that. Also, it ranked #46 in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2019. That ain’t nothing.
PERE VENTURA TRESOR BRUT RESERVA CAVA 2017
If you weren’t paying attention, this is the kind of Cava you could mistake for Champagne.
SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CHARDONNAY 2017
Niagara Peninsula, ON
This is a deeply Canadian wine in that it has zero potential to offend anyone. And in the unlikely event of a social faux-pas, it would apologize profusely. It’s a super well balanced, lightly oaked, ON Chardonnay that will help hoist you on to your high horse when you feel the need to tell everyone you bought local AND organic.
GREENWING COLUMBIA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017
Even people who don’t generally like/drink American wine (ahem, me), like/drink Duckhorn. Iconic without being a dum status symbol, reputable without being overly stuffy – they’re a stand up producer. In recent years, they’ve branched outta CA and are making wine in WA too. A bit of Syrah and some Merlot round out this pretty Cab. Interesting enough for wine nerds, conventional enough for the plebes – my way of saying she’s a crowd-pleaser.
DIAMANTAKIS PETALI LIATIKO 2018
Much like last release, the weirdo wine of the week is a Cretan varietal I’ve never heard of: Liatiko. Things I’ve learned about Liatiko in the last 5 mins:
- It’s lightly pigmented, but medium bodied.
- It’s known to have red fruit and warm spice aromas.
- It was all the rage in the Middle Ages.
Not convinced? (me neither). BUT here’s the good news: it’s mulled wine season. That means you can buy weird wine worry-free – if you hate it, just put some cloves and shit in it. Smash that link ^^ for a good recipe.