Varsity Liquors’ Wine Club Selections November 2002
Where did the year go? It seems that just last week we were sipping wine at barbecues and on patios with no thought of the impending winter and holiday season. As I write this, however, Thanksgiving is just three weeks away and rapidly closing. Our selections this month consist of a couple of wines that make great choices when guests are coming, and something exotic chosen specifically for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Stevenot Merlot 1999 Sierra Foothills California
Everyone knows Merlot, but try finding anything interesting out of California that doesn’t cost more than its worth. We had to go almost all the way to Nevada to find this ripe but not too soft wine from Stevenot. Aromas of black cherry and a hint of coffee lead to smooth and supple fruit flavors in the mouth. Not too tannic, this wine has enough structure to support its soft fruit and would match well with a variety of meals. Pork chops or most “other white meat” dishes would fare well also.
Jacobs’ Creek Shiraz Cabernet 2000 South Eastern Australia
This wine is just a mouth-full of juice that is hard not to like for its easy charm and simple pleasure. We don’t usually feature wines from large producers like Jacob’s Creek, preferring to showcase wines that are a little more obscure. But in this case, the quality is distinctly in the bottle. This is a wine with enough guts to be enjoyed with simple entrees but would be best on its own, perhaps before dinner or in a cocktail situation.
Abbazia Di Novacella Kerner 2001 Alto Adige Italy
This is an example of a wine slightly off of the beaten path. The grape is Kerner, a cross between Riesling and a light red grape, Schiava. It is grown in Italy, but in a part that is actually more Germanic in culture, astride the Alps near the Austrian border. In character the wine is very focused and clean with a floral aroma showing nuances of white peaches and a hint of minerality. Good, brisk acidity on the palate makes this wine especially suited for food, and it shows great flexibility in pairing with a variety of cuisine. In a timely fashion, it would be suitable for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and ham as well as something not so traditional like Maine Lobster Tails and Oysters in cognac butter.