November 18, 2021
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve $52
One of the most successful marketing campaigns has assured Champagne gets boxed into celebrations and News Year Eve. The greater truth is that it is the most versatile wine with food and that you should drink it every day. Why? Acid and texture. It’s also delicious and will keep your mouth watering.
One of my favorite “Big Houses” is Charles Heidsieck. The Brut Reserve is consistently one of the best default House Styles – equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, it also consists of 40% reserve wines with an average age of 10 years. This gives it body, dimension, and FLAVOR. For $52 you’re getting something on par with Grand Cru or Prestige Cuvee offerings.
2018 Schloss Lieser Brauneberg Juffer Riesling Kabinett $25
If we’re talking food versatility then it would be criminal to leave out Riesling. A chameleon grape (it can be anywhere from bone-dry to dessert-sweet, still, or sparkling), German wine producers have come up with the “apex” style – Kabinett. An indication of ripeness at harvest, Kabinett’s can be dry, off-dry, or somewhere in between (don’t get me started on Feinherbs). Whatever the sweetness level, Kabinett’s also represent a stylistic approach to Riesling. There is an elegance and delicacy that lends itself to food.
Schloss Lieser is a classic producer from arguably the most classic vineyard site in the Mosel – the Brauneberg Juffer. Right smack dab in the middle of the Mosel, the Juffer producers ripe, classic Riesling every year. Juicy peach, Honeycrisp apple, apricot, and Anjou pear, the sweetness is hardly noticeable with the super crisp acidity and slight spritz.
2019 Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages Gamay $28
The “other” Burgundy, Beaujolais tends to be more fruit-forward and richer than Pinot Noir. You also don’t have to break the bank to get a bottle. Forget the celebratory harvest wine, Nouveau, look for Cru-Beaujolais from top producers. One of my favorites is Jean Foillard. His entry-level Beaujolais is tailor-made for Thanksgiving. Juicy, delicious red fruit, with structure and some savory herbs, this is ostensibly adult punch.
NV Anthill Farms North Coast Pinot Noir $22
West Coast pinot can be a bit of a mixed bag, but in the last decade, more and more producers have focused on restraint and producing 100% pinot noir that is food-friendly and not 16% abv. Anthill Farms is one of the best – all the richness and flavor of the West Coast with the structure of Burgundy. The North Coast comes out of the gate swinging – ripe strawberry, juicy cherry, tart raspberry, pomegranate, a touch of the forest floor. It has a huge lift at the end and is super tasty.