Things We’re Feeling Right Now

Things We’re Feeling Right Now


‘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.


Wine and Spirit Label 1

Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘Pureté 400’, Clos Bellane

One of My favorite growers in the Rhone Valley is Stephane Vedeau of Clos Bellane in Valreas. My latest obsession and maybe his most marvelous and rare creation is the 100% Grenache bottling he calls purity – Purete!

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.


Wine and Spirit Label 2

Venus La Universal Montsant Rosa ‘Dido’.

It’s become a bit of a wine-world cliché to beat the drum for rosé in the wintertime with a pointedly loud drumstick, but hey– it was cold out and I wanted one of the world’s most serious rosés, so I opened a bottle of ‘Dido Rosa’ made by Sara Pérez and René Barbier Jr. at Venus La Universal in Montsant.

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. 


Wine and Spirit Label 3

Pomona Chianti Classico 2017

I can’t get enough of Monica Raspi’s wines. The 100% certified organic fruit is sourced from just five hectares in Castellina in Chianti, often referred to as the Goldilocks terroir of Chianti. This wine toes a perfect line between warm, ripe fruit and high-toned elegance. It’s just right.


Wine and Spirit Label 4

Bedford Rye from Hughes Bros. Distillers

Right now, I am really digging Belle of Bedford Rye from Hughes Bros Distillers! An almost nine-year-old MGP-distilled rye bottled at 104 proof? What’s not to like?! This rye is everything you expect it to be and more; rich and luscious with all that green, herbaceous, climbing-Jack’s-beanstalk-without-a-mask-on freshness, balanced out by the dark and sweet baking spices my little heart always desires.

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.


Wine and Spirit Label 5

Schneider Niederhäuser Riesling Kabinett 2019

Sourced from a few different sites in Niederhäusen, a mix of slate and volcanic soils. A delicious, graceful and true kabinett, Jakob Schneider’s 2019 Niederhäuser Riesling Kabinett was exactly what I needed this week.

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.



Wine and Spirit Label 6

Azumaichi Jumnai

Unlike the lean and dry saké that has become more and more popular in the past couple decades, the saké of Japan’s deep southern island of Kyushu remains full bodied with a touch of sweetness, making it a great drink for cold winter nights.

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.


Wine and Spirit Label 7

Gabrielskloof Syrah 2017

Despite having only begun to import Gabrielskloof this past Fall, I already find myself gravitating towards their wines when I’m searching for a weeknight cellar selection. Much like the appeal of “Bridgerton” on our television behind it, this Syrah isn’t fussy or overly intellectual – it will delight drinkers with its simple pleasures.

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.


Wine and Spirit Label 8

Tatomer ‘Hinter der Mauer’ 2019

Tatomer’s ‘Hinter der Mauer’ is crisp, zippy, citrus-forward, and a no-brainer, delicious Gruner for the price. Perfectly paired with warm lentil soup (I used Alice Waters’ recipe, find that here) and seeded sourdough bread from Bourke Street Bakery.

‘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:

This unique, twist-top blend of 80% Grüner Veltliner and 20% Riesling is Graham Tatomer’s white table wine, and it begins with aromas of dried lime peels and rocky seashore. The palate also shows dried lime and orange peels, as well as unique flashes of white pepper and thyme.Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast


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