The wines described below are particularly good vintages we have encountered over the past few years. The list is by no means comprehensive–these are recommendations. I am not a wine professional, but I am a writer who is seriously into fine dining so I feel confident that you can rely on my advice. This list will include some bubbles, whites, and dessert wines, but it is primarily reds as that is what we really enjoy. I will make the occasional food pairing recommendation and try to describe the aromas and flavors without being pretentious.
As for the pricing, the amount listed is the price we paid (not including tax and shipping) and usually the place we obtained the wine. The one exception is that we often have the wine in a restaurant rather than our tasting room; in that case, we will see if Vinesse (where our wine club membership is) has the wine and, if they do, it will be noted as such and you can just click the link provided if you want to try some. If Vinesse doesn’t have the vintage, then other online sources will be provided.
So…have at it. If you have come across a particularly good vintage, please let me know. If we try it and agree, I will post your name as the referral!
Dom Perignon 2003
Grape: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Price (Vinesse): $139.99
Notes: Well, there is a reason why Dom is considered the best of the best; what a stunner. If you have never indulged in a very fine bottle of champagne, you should put it on your bucket list and get this one. Tiny, tiny bubbles effuse a delightfully dry, fruity wine with a sparkling crisp finish. While champagne goes with everything, we had it with some Petrossian Osetra caviar right from the tin (part of the decadence of champagne and caviar is to be able to do it at the kitchen counter) and light blinis. It was amazing. You can also pair it with smoked salmon or your favorite sushi.
Juan Gil 2011
Price (at our local wine shop): $10.99
Notes: What a great, unpretentious little red. Deep color with just a touch of tannin in the glass. Nose is very fruit-forward with red berries and plum notes. Nicely balanced fruit, oak, and tannins. Finish is quite surprisingly smooth. We sip this while cooking or relaxing, but it would pair well with everything from mild cheeses to lighter-than-hearty fare. For the price, this one is a no-brainer.
Silver Oak 2008
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Price (Vinesse): $64.95
Notes: If you are looking for a big, powerful cab then you need look no further. In the glass, the legs are long and strong, with a great nose of jammy berry and hints of chocolate. This wine was aged in oak for 24 months and the oak does show through, but it is very much in balance with the fruit on the front and somewhat mild spice finish. After an hour in the decanter, it had mellowed considerably and was really a delicious wine. This has the structure to stand up to grilled meats and sharp cheeses, but would likely overpower super-light dishes.