WHAT WE’RE DRINKING — SIMPLE AS THAT
‘Member when we made that promise to share more staff picks in 2021 since you loved our picks so much in 2020? (Oh you don’t? Awkward. See our ‘Top Posts of 2020’ here. It was superscript but who’s counting.) Here we are, elated to share with you beverages of all kinds that we’ve enjoyed this January.
Think of this as our monthly answer to, ’so what have you been into lately?’ — fresh updates from Portfolio Managers with unfiltered intel on why we’re drinking what we are.
So today, in these last few days of January, we’re sharing some prime pairings and ponderings from our Skurnik staff. And who knows, we might even throw in a recipe or two.
A SAKE, A SPIRIT, AND WINES OF ALL KINDS
Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘Pureté 400’, Clos Bellane
This is a varietal that is often overlooked by wine geeks, but I treasure it for its silkiness and aromatics. It never seems to get the love or attention of Syrah or Mourvedre and this is a mistake. Especially, from the high altitude limestone slopes found at Clos Bellane. Sitting at some 400 meters this wine is bracingly crunchy grenache. To preserve all the succulent fruit Stephane raises the wine in a blend of concrete and five-to-ten-year-old barrels.
This is beauty in 2018 and is spectacular today, combining the caress and elegance of great burgundy with the grip and stuffing of the south.
Venus La Universal Montsant Rosa ‘Dido’.
It’s a cofermentation of a slew of indigenous and organically-farmed red, white, and pink varieties: all the garnatxas (negra, blanca, and gris) along with carinyena and macabeu. The long, slow fermentation and elevage in old barriques yields a truly mesmerizing pink wine.
The current release, 2018, is quite possibly the best that Sara and René have ever made– it’s got spectacular depth and freshness. Check it out. It tasted great with farro and pan-seared mushrooms, but it’d go with whatever.
Pomona Chianti Classico 2017
Bedford Rye from Hughes Bros. Distillers
This rye is nuanced if you want to dissect it, but simple enough to kick back and enjoy over a few relaxing pours. Oh, and it makes a dang good Manhattan too, if you’re feeling frisky.
Jakob has been doing more spontaneous ferments in recent years and you can feel a bit of the wild character in this release. It’s also quite dry-tasting for this dialect of Riesling. Light, white fruit, and bracing acidity, finishing with a wonderful spicy and almost graphite mineral character. It’s fresh, transparent, and zippy, uplifting, and smile-inducing. This is a shot of pure sunshine on a rather gloomy winter evening. It was exactly what I wanted with dinner.
Azumaichi may be one of the most elegant makers of the southern style, the sweetness of their Junmai is tempered by slightly bitter and herbal tinges. Heated gently the flavors soften into something like a mug of spiced warm cocoa.
Gabrielskloof Syrah 2017
Indicative of the grape variety, the wine is pale purple in the glass with a nose dominated by black pepper, notes of cassis and plum on the palate, fine tannins, and a pleasing acidity on the back palate which provides its structure. This sustainably-farmed value from South Africa’s Bot River subregion paired excellently with our homemade smash burgers, but given the freezing temperatures and ongoing pandemic, this wine is just as well-suited to be consumed on its own in full while catching up on whatever show you’re watching right now.
Tatomer ‘Hinter der Mauer’ 2019
‘Hinter der Mauer’ is an Austrian-German term that Graham Tatomer learned while working harvest in Austria at Emmerich Knoll which roughly translates to “your back against the wall”, and is Graham’s reference to the tight space between the terraced walls of the vineyard and vines he would work on. This wine is an homage to his time in Austria working these vineyards and is expressed through these diverse sites throughout the Central Coast of California.
Per Wine Enthusiast, who very recently scored this wine with 91 points: