I tend to find things that I like and just stick to them. It gets you into a rut, especially when you need to write a quarterly wine column! I used this as motivation to try a few new wines to share with you.
E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde
I love the Rhône wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Wanting to find wines similar in nature, I tried this red at a dinner with a friend and former client recently. If I liked wines of the Southern Rhône, why not look a bit north? The producer, Guigal, made the Côte-Rôtie region famous in the ’80s, and this wine may be the low-end of their line at $59 at retail—but it was truly an amazing offering. It offers the flavors associated with the Syrah that is its main component, but with a smoothness that is accentuated by co-fermentation with the white varietal, Viognier.
Guigal Côtes du Rhône Red
I tend to be a lot more frugal in the wines that I generally drink at home. Following the success of the Guigal Côte-Rôtie, I called on my wine experts at Chicago retailer, Binny’s, for something that might be close but at a much lower price point. At $13, they recommended this wine. It is amazing at that price—very rich with a peppery flavor characteristic of Syrah grapes, and it remains smooth as a newborn’s bottom.
2012 Bernard Magrez Napa Valley Cabernet
On the other hand, I am one to celebrate with those I love. When my daughter, Abby, came to visit, I broke out this amazing $149 (at retail) wine recommended to me by my broker. Bernard Magrez is a French wine magnate who decided to buy the best grapes from Napa to craft a world-class red. This rare 100-point wine is everything that a cabernet should be: Rich, full-bodied, with fruit screaming out at you from the first sip. Yet, it is also incredibly well balanced and smooth. Several reviewers suggest that this wine could compete with $400-$500 bottles. All I know is that I loved it, and both Abby and my wife, Rhonda, declared the wine their new favorite.