STAFF PICKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Our shelves are stocked with exciting wines for the Holidays. To help make your celebrations as relaxed and festive as possible, we asked the staff at Thirst to suggest some of their favorites. While you're shopping for friends, family, and the people you work with, we suggest you pick up a bottle or two (or a case) for yourself as well because this list is too good to miss out on, and these wines are available in limited quantities.
Renardat-Fache Bugey-Cerdon NV, $23.00
There's nothing like a sparkling wine to start off celebrating the festivities! Elie Renardat-Fache and his father, Alain, have been making this exquisite demi-sec sparkling ros� in Bugey (one of the smallest and most obscure wine-making regions in France -- the Cerdon AOC, which exists inside Bugey, was only officially recognized in 2009) for generations, using what is called the "Methode Ancestrale." Pressed from Gamay and Poulsard, this wine is brimming with ripe strawberry and red currant aromas followed by grapey goodness, more red fruit, spice and a hint of earth on the palate. It is a fantastic aperitif or can be enjoyed with dessert, which makes it an ideal gift for holiday party hosts/hostesses or for bringing in the New Year! Make sure you bring a few extra bottles; you'll be surprised how fast this delicious wine disappears!
Domaine de Marquiliani Vin de Corse Ros� 2011, $29.00
I love to drink ros� year-round, hot or cold, rain or shine, and ros�s from the small island of Corsica are my favorite by far. Each sip brings to mind a Mediterranean escape: sun, sand and mountains rising from the sparkling blue waters of the sea flanked by vineyards that provide fruit to make what I would consider "The Juice of the Gods." It is on this beautiful island that Anne Almaric crafts ros� out of Sciaccarellu and Syrah, from vines planted in 1964. It is a beautiful seashell-pink hue with notes of wet stones, pink grapefruit, rose water and white pepper all the way through. Kermit Lynch likens Almaric's ros� to, "...drinking a cloud. There is an absolute weightlessness to it. Nothing is left on the palate but perfume." An excellent stocking-stuffer for someone who loves to explore new wines regardless of what sort of weather Mother Nature is concocting!
Edmunds St. John Syrah 2OO1, $35.00
Fans of old-school Syrah look no further! This limited library release from Steve Edmunds at Edmunds St. John is an absolutely outstanding example of elegant Northern Rhone-style wines that have, sadly, become increasingly hard to find from California producers. It has finesse and subtlety yet is also deep and powerful at the same time. Organic and biodynamic farming practices are carried out in the vineyards and no sulfur is added after vinification. This wine offers smoked meats, raspberry, pepper and licorice on the nose, which carries through to the palate and finishes with a very distinct black olive note. It makes a perfect gift to pair with holiday roasts and can be enjoyed now or hold on to it for a few more years and see how it develops. An excellent addition to any wine geek's collection!
Movia Pinot Nero 2005, $45.00
This year, dote on that brave explorer of the wine world in your life with this intriguing biodynamic selection from Slovenia. The Movia estate has been in existence on the Italian/Slovenian border since the 1700s, and is currently in the hands of the visionary Ales Kristanic. Ales began assisting his father in the vineyards at a young age, and picked up a passionate and experimental nature that sets Movia wines aside as being something truly unique. Today, he implements the rigorous organic and biodynamic practices he learned from his father with a deep understanding passed down through eight generations of wine making. His brooding & seductive Pinot Nero shows a brilliant blood-red in the glass. After a little room to breathe, it opens up to aromas of crushed red berry fruit, subtle baking spice, chamomile, and rose petals. Consider this a Christmas Day treat with braised meats or roast game bird of any kind.
Mayacamas Merlot 2007, $42.00
Mayacamas has been making some of California's most integral and profound wines since the early seventies. Nestled atop Mt. Veeder in Napa, this estate produces distinctly flavorful wines that show a commitment to traditional California wine making. Paying homage to the land and its original human inhabitants, Mayacamas is believed to have meant "the howl of the mountain lion" in the language of the Wappo Native American tribe. With an annual rainfall of around 50 inches, they are able to dry-farm their mature vines, which promotes a preciously small yield of highly concentrated fruit. This Merlot (with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon for added structure) gives aromas of black plum, cherry, cedar, and a touch of anise, with rich fruit on the palate and a structure of noble, old-world integrity. This bottle is undoubtedly near the top of my Christmas wish list.
Franck Pascal Sagesse NV, $58.00
If you like dry, pretty, somewhat fleshy and mineral champagne, this is for you. Franck Pascal converted to biodynamic farming in 2002. He stems from a family of champagne producers, based in Baslieux-sous-Ch�tillon, in the Vall�e de la Marne -- a sloped area in the most westerly part of Champagne where the clay soils are best suited to Pinot Meunier (though both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grow here too). All of Franck Pascal's champagnes are made from estate fruit and the vines cover a mere 4 hectares: this is small grower-champagne in every sense of the word. "Sagesse" is made from 60% Meunier, is partially fermented in stainless steel and a little in wood. The palate for this wine truly shines over a meal of smoked fish and bagels.
Luis Rodriguez Os Pasas Blanco 2010 $42.00
The first time I tasted the Treixadura and Albarino based white wines from Rodriguez, I thought of Chablis. Os Pasas tastes of rocks and sea-like minerals, while it is textured and focused in character. It is a wine that is stunning now, but can keep for another five years. Rodr�guez' vines grow in terraced vineyards of granite and slate soils (hence the intense minerality) in Ribeiro, in the southern part of Galicia, where the influence of the Atlantic Ocean is strong. The wine is fermented on its native yeasts and was bottled unfiltered. We suggest giving this to your Iberian-loving friends -- or surprise a white Burgundy enthusiast with this sea-like gem. You can extend the Ocean taste by pairing Os Pasas with razor clams, scallops or raw oysters.
Philippe Bornard Ploussard "Point barre" 2011, $36.00
Depending on where you are in the Jura, this thin-skinned grape is either called Ploussard or Poulsard. It produces a wine that is so light in color that many restaurants in the Jura region categorize this wine as a ros�. This wine is characteristically subtle in hue, with pretty, floral aromatics and has a delightful brightness on the palate. Bornard is based in the village of Pupillin, near Arbois, in the magical Jura region of France. He was greatly influenced by Pierre Overnoy (a producer of cult status Jura wines). Vines are farmed biodynamically, his wines are kept in foudre (large old oak barrels), and he doesn't add sulfur. The experience of this wine, from start to finish, is an absolute treat and it is delicious with a simply cooked roast chicken. A great gift for your natural wine loving friends.
Of course, these are just a few of the many wonderful wines we offer in our shop; so please stop by, call (718) 596-7643) or email us, and we'll make sure to take care of all of your holiday needs. Remember we offer case discounts as well, which are perfect for holiday parties.