VOICE OF THE VINE
Winter Wonderland Wines
By Abby Cifarelli
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since there’s no place to go>, let it flow, let it flow.
As we gear up for a cozy holiday season, here are two wines to enjoy around the dinner table with family and close friends.
Our first selection brings us to the very first appellation created in France,Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is now one of the top-rated winemaking locations in the world and produces predominantly red blends. Among the other famous appellations are Bordeaux, Chablis, Sancerre, Champagne, and Beaujolais. The French government has laws and regulations in each of these regions for wine, cheese, and other agricultural products.
The 2017 Clos L’Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes from Ogier, a family name with a rich history that dates back to 800 A.D. The story goes that a legendary knight, “Ogier the Dane”, fought with Charlemagne’s soldiers and became popular for his skill. For the past 160 years, the family has focused on producing some of the most popular wines from the Rhone Valley. The bottle is hard to miss on the shelves of a wine store as it is adorned with the papal seal.
Uncork the wine and notice the pleasing ruby–red color that engulfs your glass.The wine may need some time to open up, but if you don’t have a decanter at home don’t worry. The wine will open up after a few swirls and develop over time. As it opens, aromas of red cherries, raspberries, plum, and blackberry can be found on the nose. Take a sip, the palate is fruity and rich but well textured with red and dark fruit flavors. Apart from the fruity notes, flavors of leather and oak are also present. Overall, the wine is bold, smooth, and dry. The finish is longer with a lingering acidity. The Clos L’Oratoire pairs perfectly with any holiday main course, from a roast to a roast turkey.
Save room for dessert and our second selection, 2017 Royal Tokaji 5 PuttonyosAszú, a dessert wine. The wine, which also has a rich history, comes from the small region of Tokaji in Hungary, and is 100 percent made from the white wine grape Furmint. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was one of the most importantwines in the world, enjoyed by King Louis XIV and Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
The grapes used in sweet wine production go through a different life cycle than those used in a typical bottle of white or red wine. The sweetness is dependent on botrytis, a mold that grows on the berries in moist conditions but then dries causing the grapes to shrivel and sweeten.
Pour a glass of the 5 Puttonyos Aszú and you’ll notice a striking gold color fit for a king. Give it a swirl and allow aromas to travel out of the glass. Aromas of honey, apricot, peach, and apple are present and replicated on the palate. It has a low alcohol level and is balanced with a good amount of acidity. While it can be enjoyed on its own, the Puttonyos pairs perfectly with cheesecake or fruity desserts like Linzer torte and blueberry pie.
You will make any occasion a special one by serving these wines.