Christmas 2014

Christmas Day tomorrow. For many, there will be wine along with joy, family togetherness, presents, heaps of food.

Don’t pull cork on your best bottles tomorrow.

Really good bottles deserve your reverent attention, and there will be far too much going on to focus on fine wine.

Really good bottles deserve to be enjoyed by people who appreciate wine. Don’t risk Aunt Millie adding an ice cube and some 7-Up to “improve” your 25-year-old Bordeaux.

Really good bottles don’t play well with other really good bottles. Enjoy a good bottle on its own, savor its uniqueness. Enjoy another good bottle another day. There are “second bottle” recommendations for a reason—they are good-enough wines that taste great after pleasures of excellence.

Christmas dinner, any big occasion meal, is domain of under $25 pours. Go-to wines include riesling, sauvignon blanc, un-oaked chardonnay, pinot noir, malbec, GSM (grenache-syrah-mourvèdre). You can easily find serviceable bottles, many under $15. Aunt Millie can “improve” those any way she wishes without giving you vapors; cousin Coon Dog can fill his jelly glass without causing you to whimper.

Late in the evening, when kids have crashed, fire’s embers glow red-orange, dishes are washed, leftovers safely secured in the fridge, then you can break out a delicious, expensive port to sip with inner-family, sip and savor another year the Lord has given, sip and say a prayer of thanks.

May each of you enjoy a merry Christmas tomorrow. And a really good bottle of wine this weekend after life has calmed down.

Tasting notes:
• The Messenger Red Wine Number One NV. Sensational value; 5 grapes, every flavor you want, full body; good times roll with this wine win. $14
• Scheid Family District 7 Pinot Noir 2011. Fabulous Monterrey value for price; cherry, strawberry, silky, elegant, food paramour. $19
• Pali Wine Tower 15 The Jetty 2011. Superb Paso Robles GSM; raspberry, black fruits, cherry, strawberry, smoke, vanilla hint; full body, lush tannins, easy drinker. $20
• La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012. Commodity pinot; red cherry, floral notes; mid-weight, smooth, clean, vibrant; excellent value pour. $20

Last round: Joy in my heart, wine in my hand. Coincidence?