I write this column only two days after the stunning Chicago Cubs World Series victory. While I am a loyal fan of the Detroit Tigers, the baseball theme is working for me due to my workplace (Chicago) and my circumstances. I had a total knee replacement in mid-October, and I’ll still be on medical leave when this article reaches you. Rather than rehash some stale old thinking, I went to three friends who are known oenophiles for their best stuff.
Mark Schnurman, Co-founder of Filament, a regular consultant to our agency, recommends the wines of Priorats, a region just south of Barcelona in the northeast of Spain. Like Bordeaux wines, they are deeply red, and very full-bodied wines. They are blends, featuring Garnacha and Cariñena varietals, plus Cabernet and Syrah. A great example is Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat, a true bargain at about $22 retail. It features hints of dried herbs, mineral, and has a velvety texture.
My business partner and friend Jeff Berg is also a fan of Spanish wines. He recommends Bodegas El Nido “Clio” Jumilla Monastrell (retail at about $40) from Gil Family Estates in Jumilla Spain. “I fell in love with the 2011 vintage and the 2012 and 2013 have not disappointed. The Clio (70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon) is the little brother of El Nido (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Monastrell) and in my mind is the far greater value of the two. If you are looking for subtlety look elsewhere—Clio leaps out of the glass and is a full-bodied wine with beautifully integrated tannins. A great blend of blue and black fruits with a hint of smoke and spice.” As a gift recipient of this amazing wine, I have to agree (and open a bottle soon).
I reached out to my colleague Katerina Steele for a different perspective, and she came back with a gem worthy of Game 7: “On my honeymoon, we visited a small winery in Anderson Valley, California called Knez. It was such a small winery that the vigneron himself was pouring tastings that day. He was so knowledgeable about the wine, in a way that was both passionate and utterly unpretentious. He helped me discover the perfect Pinot noir: The profound brightness of ripe cherries, strawberries, and wild blackberries perfectly balanced by earthiness and terroir.” The Knez Winery Anderson Valley Pinot Noir retails for around $33.