Wineaux: The many joys (and wines) of procrastination

By From page A14 | November 27, 2013

Maybe you’ve left your Thanksgiving and wine purchases to the very last minute. Or the wine you really wanted from the last column has sold out. Or, now that the tree lots are dotting the landscape, you want to start right in on filling your cellar with December holiday wines. If so, I (and my bevy of wine consultants) are offering you a few more holiday recommendations — all of which cost well under $20.
Very, very local winemaker Chip Sundstrom suggests his newly released Sundstrom Hill Rosé of Petite Sirah. I concur. It’s a lovely, French-stye rosé, dry but fruity enough to enhance a turkey and all its trimmings. Chip left the wine on the skins for 48 hours — quite long for a rosé, which resulted in a deep crimson color. Beautiful.

If you need it for turkey day, Chip and Lynne have volunteered to open the winery today (Wednesday) from 4 to 6 p.m. for picking up this or any other of their fine wines. (2744 Del Rio Place, Suite 139). The winery phone is 530-574-1296.
Since this is also the season for charitable contributions, you’ll be happy to know that 10 percent of all sales revenues of Sundstrom Hill wines go to Esperanza Rising, a foundation committed to financially supporting needy families who work in the California agricultural industry.
Bob Simas of Simas Family Vineyard thinks his Marsanne will work wonderfully for the holidays. An often overlooked varietal from the northern Rhone Valley (though the grapes for this one were estate-grown in our very own Capay Valley), marsanne is usually used for blending. But it’s delightful — and very versatile — on its own.

I’ve been a big fan of this grape for several years (in fact, Bob Simas and I met over an enthusiastic discussion of it), and this 2011 Marsanne is an excellent example. As Bob says, it offers “a dry yet fruity wine with a good ‘nose’ and a beautiful light straw color.” It pairs particularly well, he thinks, with poultry, fish and hors d’oeuvres.
And if you need an unusual red, Simas Family Vineyard also has a recently released 2010 Mourvèdre (Silver award 2013 California State Fair), “a light yet flavorful wine that will not overpower but complement any Thanksgiving meal.”

You really can’t go wrong with either of these wines; you can get them at the Co-op, or do what I do and shoot Bob an email — he’ll arrange delivery.
Local winemaker Bob Marr recommends his Marr Cellars Cuvée Patrick Petite Sirah: “Deep, dark, rich, smooth and complex, this wine features pungent aromas and a full palate of dark plums and blackberries. The wine is from a mountain vineyard at about 2,500 feet on the west slopes of Mt. Lassen. It is fruit-forward, well-balanced, with a long finish.

“If you like a rich and hearty wine with good balance for cooler weather and holiday meals this is it. 13.8 percent alcohol, 82 percent petite sirah, 6 percent mourvedre, 6 percent syrah, 6 percent grenache.”
If you’d prefer something a little lighter, the Marr Cellars Grenache is terrific, too. I had it with a dinner of butternut squash flatbread and beet pasta last week, and it really enhanced them both. I’d even drink it with pumpkin pie. You can try either of these before you buy by ordering a glass at Monticello or get yourself a bottle or two at Valley Wine Company. At just $10 a bottle, the grenache is an incredible local wine bargain.
Kerry at the Davis Food Co-op is enthusiastic about the Claiborne Churchill Dry Gewürztraminer from Arroyo Seco.

“This 2011 is bursting with fresh, exotic aromas, spice and lychee come to mind. On the palate are notes of rose petals and passion fruit, with a famously dry and acidic finish. Fruity but dry, complex, lovely mouth feel and well-balanced. Great as an aperitif and perfect with turkey.”

I haven’t tried this myself, but it sounds wonderful. Since I love this grape and it’s unusual to find a good dry gewürz from California, I’m seriously considering a bottle for my own Thanksgiving table.
High on my holiday list are the amazing — and very local — chenin blancs from Clarksburg Winery. They produce three different ones — the regular Chenin Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognié and Chenin Blanc VS. While my favorite is the VS (Vouvray style), any of them would be a lovely companion to your turkey.

Last year, you had to go to the Old Sugar Mill or Corti Brothers to get a bottle, but now Vini has the regular Chenin Blanc. And you can taste before you buy, though I’d be surprised if you tasted and didn’t.
I had a bottle with an Indian meal a few weeks ago (at the excellent Zindagi Bistro, 213 E. St) It has a rich, full taste — think peaches and pears — but with crisp acidity. It worked beautifully with our eggplant tandoori, pakoras, curried vegetables and garlic naan. How could it go wrong with sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce?
If you’re feeding a crowd and need a lot of bottles of less expensive wines, go to the Co-op for two Portuguese easy-drinkers — the red and white Paseo. Unlike the rest of these recommendations, they’re not local, but they do have a bicycle on the (very nice) label, which has to count for something. And for just $5.99 a bottle, you’ll be able to spread much holiday cheer. Added attraction: If you buy six bottles, you get 10 percent off.
So many wines, so few holidays. Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!
— Reach Susan Leonardi at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Susan Leonardi

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2015 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.