52 Wines of 2014 (Slideshow)

Selections for the whole year from our panel of experts

January 6

2005 Domaine Jean Grivot Les Chaumes, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, France. $116.

"Vosne-Romanée is a special place in Burgundy, and the wines are seductive and powerful. This wine has an earthy notes of minerality combined with strawberries, cherries and a hint of vanilla from the French oak barrels that it spends time in. Pair this with game, heavier fish dishes and pasta with meat sauces – perfect for winter." 

Molly Wismeier, Wine Director, Restaurant R'evolutionNew Orleans

January 13

2009 Col Solare, Columbia Valley, Washington. $60.

"Col Solare, which translates from the Italian "shining hill," is a classic example of a Bordeaux blend coming from Washington State. This is the perfect wine for a cool winter eve — no matter what part of the country you are in. A unique collaboration between two well-known wine producers, Marcus Nataro from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori, gives a beautiful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a small percentage of Malbec. The palate offers a silkiness given from the blending of the merlot and the richness from cabernet sauvignon of black fruits, slight cassis, and tobacco. Powerful tannins are present along with a lingering finish. Although this powerful wine can be enjoyed alone, food will only enhance the Col Solare's beauty." 

Jennifer Solinger, Wine Butler,The St. Regis Atlanta

January 20

2007 Olabisi King Vineyard Syrah, Suisun Valley, California. $27.

"A small production, only 310 cases were produced. The Suisun Valley is just east of Napa, and 2007 was a superior vintage from the region. This wine displays ultra ripe berry flavors with smoky oak overtones — it is a big, bold syrah that will keep you warm on those frigid winter evenings."

Hector Gonzalez, Managing Partner, Toast Wine and CafeTampa, Florida

January 27

2004 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont, Italy. $39.

"I love to sip a warming northern Italian red during the cold, gray winter months. Vallana Gattinara is a rich red from Northern Piemonte at the base of the Italian Alps. This area offers great values for Nebbiolo-based wines that have the tar, rose, and cherry aromas of great Barbaresco, but with an elegance all their own."

Julie Cappellano, General Manager and Wine Buyer, Formaggio Kitchen South End, Boston, Massachusetts

February 3

2012 House of Mandela The Thembu Collection Shiraz, Swartland, South Africa. $17.

"Produced by the children and grandchildren of Nelson Mandela (with his blessing), this wine provides a twist on how we celebrate Black History Month and the accomplishments of past and present Black heroes. On the nose, the wine exhibits fresh red fruit with hints of black pepper. It is medium bodied and juicy on the palate, and has some of the smokiness characteristic of South African wines.

The Thembu Collection is inspired by ancestors of Nelson Mandela, the Thembu people of South Africa, who were hospitable, had a deep appreciation of nature and their land, and exhibited a warmth, compassion and rapport with all kinds of people. This wine is accessible, easy to drink, and embodies the values of the Thembu people. Enjoy it in good health with grilled or assertively-flavored meats such as barbecued ribs, duck, lamb, or game. Alternatively, it may be paired with earthy vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant." 

Judia Black, Sommelier; CEO, enJoie 

February 10

NV Fratelli Lunelli Ferrari Metodo Classico Rosé Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. $16.

"Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like sparkling rosé. Ferrari Rosé NV, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, hails from northern Italy but is produced using the same method as Champagne. Flavors of baking bread, Turkish delight, and soft cherry are a great way to start off dinner — and a half bottle is just the right size for the two of you." 

Mike and Jeff, World Wine Guys

February 17

Les Clos des Paulilles Banyuls Rimage, Languedoc-Rousillon, 2009. $25.

"Banyuls is a grenache-based vin doux natural (naturally sweet wine) from the Roussillon, in southeastern France. It is often compared to ruby port, but it has its own character, raisiny but not cloying, with a dusty finish. This one is made by the Dauré family, whose Château de Jau is one of the region's top properties for both table and dessert wines, and is full-flavored, with hints of baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) and a touch of chocolate — a reminder that Banyuls is widely considered to be one of the most chocolate-friendly of all wines."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

February 24

2007 Chene Bleu Abélard Vin de Pays du Vaucluse, France. $87.  

"This big Rhone red from the mountains east of Avignon will help get you through the cold, clammy doldrums of February. From a great new winery with international backing, Abelard is primarily made from grenache with a dollop of syrah and a drop of viognier. It is complex and delicious — sophisticated currants and dark berries with a balsamic-like coda and tannins that appear lighter than they are."  

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer,The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Town & Country, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of the Seasons

March 3

2012 Lava Vine Winery Viognier, Napa Valley, California. $32.

"For those unseasonably summery days that can take you by surprise in March. This 2011 North Coast Viognier is rich with tropical notes and well balanced acidity, allowing it to show well with a wide array of food. Sweet banana, grilled pineapple, apricot, and melon are just a few of the tropical notes that appear within this extraordinary viognier." 

Ian Grymes, Cellar Master, AJ Pearce Winery

March 10

2008 Cantine Elvio Tintero, Piedmont, Italy. $30

"From the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, this wine is 100% Nebbiolo with flavors of dark plum, black cherry, and intense earth. The tannins, acid, and alcohol are all moderate but strong enough to give a frame on which to hang those vibrant flavors. A great hearty Italian or red meat wine at a crazy value!"

Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier, Host of the Podcast Wine for Normal People

March 17

2012 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Mosel, Germany. $35.

"The Vernal Equinox is on March 20th. Spring has sprung! Hopefully the sun is shining, snow is melting, and you can open some windows and let the fresh air in. Chill and open up a bottle of Dr. Loosen and let the aromas loose. Ürziger Würzgarten (The Spice Garden of Ürzig) is a special vineyard that produces wines with exotic, spicy aromas and bursts with tropical fruit flavors. As enjoyable as it is to smell, it’s even better when you drink it. Liquid sunshine!"

Dan Thomas, Sommelier, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

March 24

2011 Sandhi Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, California. $38.

"This Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a great example of the new generation of California wine producers. Focused on Pinot Noir and chardonnay made from cool climate sites near Santa Barbara, Sandhi makes vibrant wines with a sense of focus and balance. Though they don't care for high alcohol, the wines are far from shy, as this wine clearly shows with its soaring aromatics of cherry, strawberry, rhubarb and clove. This is a wine that's hard not to love. You can pop and pour for parties, or for a special occasion, light some candles, set the table and serve this with a great roast duck breast."

Ben Aneff, Wine Director, Tribeca Wine Merchants in New York; wine advisor, Auctionata Auctions in Berlin

March 31

2012 Pala Stellato Vermentino di Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy. $25.

"Vermentino is an underrated grape, and the vermentino-based wines that get the attention are mostly from Tuscany these days, with Sardinian versions of the wine often ending up in the low-price, merely acceptable column. This is a wonderful exception, a full-bodied, mouth-filling wine, juicy and well-balanced, with suggestions of citrus and canteloupe."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

April 7

2012 Herdade do Esporão VVerdelho, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal. $10.

"This is one of my best selling whites by the glass. I find it to be so well-balanced and friendly that it can be enjoyed on its own, but we make a bacalhau ceviche with lots of citrus notes and gray sea salt — the mineral quality pairs up beautifully. The dish is garnished with pickled onions, caper tapanade, and micro cilantro, all of which come through nicely with a chilled sip of the Esporão Verdelho."

Chef Rui Correia, Owner, Douro Restaurant, Greenwich, Connecticut

April 14

Azienda Agraria Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, Umbria, Italy. $47.

"Sagrantino is really only made in Umbria, where I’m from. Initially, it takes a little while to open...but once it does, it unleashes wonderful spicy aromas with tons of red fruit and cherries. Sagrantino is a potent, velvety wine that can age for at least 10 to 15 years, so drink it with a few years of age on it at least. In the restaurant, we love suggesting it with our rich and meaty slow-roasted short ribs.The best period for drinking Sagrantino is Easter — particularly with lamb and hard cheeses."

Roberto Paris, Wine Director, Il Buco

April 21

Champagne Leclerc Briant, Cuvee Extra Brut, Epernay, France. $19.

"For Earth Day — or really any day — I would recommend enjoying Champagne Leclerc Briant. They are a 'biodynamic vineyard' committed to biodynamic philosophy, or the quest for balance between crops and their environments. This type of eco-friendly farming channels the energies of the cycles of the moon and sun to produce the best quality product while respecting and restoring the health of the vineyards. As more and more of my customers ask for organic and biodynamic wines, this one is a delicious option to keep on the list."

Michel Gabbud, general manager of Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue

April 28

2011 Weingut Dönnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Schlössböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese, Nahe, Germany. $62.  

"Every spring has some reason to have an elegant celebration  — a small wedding or engagement party, a reunion with old friends, a college graduation fete. This is the wine for it, served with strawberries and crème fraiche. From Germany’s Nahe Valley, it is a delicious, very complex, yet well-balanced wine with lots of stone fruit and touches of tart lemon and cream. It is intense and lean in structure, yet generous and long on the finish."

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer,The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Town & Country, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of the Seasons

May 5

2010 Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Poulsard de l'Ami Karl, Jura, France. $22.

"Cinco de Mayo is not all about beer. You may want to consider featuring a low-tannin red wine to pair with spicy enchiladas or shredded beef tacos: I recommend the 2010 Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Poulsard de l'Ami Karl from France's Jura region. Poulsard is a thin-skinned grape rarely found outside the Jura. With gorgeous red fruit aromas, light tannins and 11% alcohol by volume, it tames the heat from chili and the fruit stands up to the kick found in typical Mexican dishes."

Pamela C. Pajuelo, CSW, WSET Intermediate Certificate; Author, Señorita Vino

May 12

2012 Abbazia di Novacella-Stiftskellerei Kloster Neustift Muller-Thurgau, Valle Isarco, Alto Adige, Sudtirol, Italy. $18.

"Muller-Thurgau is a hybrid of Riesling and Sylvaner grapes and is the wine I most look forward to when spring arrives. A fresh, fruity, delicately aromatic white wine with lemon balm and green apple on the nose, it's juicy and salty on the palate with mouth-watering acidity. Great for sipping or with salads, fresh vegetables and grilled fish. It's like spring in a glass, and reminds me of the foods of spring, like peas, asparagus and morels, and the fresh pasta to make to go with them!"

Cathy Mantuano, Wine Expert, Cookbook Author, and Co-Author of Wine Bar Food with her husband, Chef Tony Mantuano, as well as Wine Director at Chicago’s Bar Toma and Terzo Piano, and Miami’s Lorenzo.

May 19

2011 Once Upon a Vine A Charming Pinot. $13.

"Spring is the season for morels. The wine to pair with this earthy, early season mushroom is a delicate Pinot Noir, such as this one, from the Once Upon a Vine collection."

Chef Joey Altman, television host, cookbook author, restaurant consultant.

May 26

2012 Les Vignerons de Tavel 'Tavel' Lauzeraies Rosé, Rhône Valley, France. $14.

"Best for spring — which I call 'rosé season' — Tavel is a dry French rosé made of mostly Grenache. It's refreshing but more serious than other rosés, with more flavor and acid. This gorgeous dark pink sipper has strawberry, raspberry, and lime flavors and a nice acidic bite. Perfect with cheese or alone. Like most rosé, make sure the wine isn't more than a year old or the flavors will have faded and it may seem flat."

Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier, Host of the Podcast Wine for Normal People

June 2

2010 Va La Vineyards Mahogany Red Blend, Chester County, Pennsylvania. $45.

"Some of the best wines made from Italian grapes varieties come from the East Coast — in this case Chester County, Pennsylvania. This wine is a blend mainly of Italian stalwarts such as malvasia nero, barbera, sagrantino, lagrein, charbono and teroldego. Mahogany would pair well with duck breasts or rare steak — big, rich, fruity, though not fruit-forward or overly tannic, with dense blackberry flavors and a lean finish. Decant it for several hours before serving."

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer,The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Town & Country, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of the Seasons

June 9

2012 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma, California. $18.

"Summer in LA is the best! I’m English and used to gray weather. It's also rosé season, another of my favorites. We love to put cioppino on our menu during summer — full of big prawns, lobster, and calamari all in a lighter-style, tomato-based broth with anisette. Paul Hobbs is terrific, and the CrossBarn’s got everything I want in a rosé — crisp, refreshing, and dry."

Michael Franks, proprietor Chez Mélange, Los Angeles

June 16

NV Berlucchi '61 Brut, Franciacorta DOCG, Italy. $34.

"Produced in the metodo classico method from chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Franciacorta is not only Italy's answer to Champagne, but it's the upscale alternative to Prosecco. It's crisp, rich and elegant — I like Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut, and often recommend it to customers looking for the perfect wine to toast special celebrations like summer weddings."

Lou Di Palo, Owner of Di Palo Selects and Enoteca Di Palo

June 23

2010 Martín Sarmiento Cuatro Pasos, Bierzo, Spain. $14.

"An excellent summer red at a fair price — a light but vivid mencia-based offering whose overtly grapey character is outlined by a thin line of pleasant bitterness."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

June 30

2010 Camillo Donati 'Il Mio' Lambrusco Emilia IGT, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. $16.

"An Emilia-Romagna classic, Lambrusco is an attractively-priced sparkling red with grapey fruit flavors. I know what you might be thinking...not my style. But Lambrusco can be very enjoyable if you go in with the right expectations. It works very well as an appetite-whetting aperitivo and matches perfectly with certain types of food: cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), cured meats (this wine is as close as it comes to designed for Prosciutto di Parma), pizza, and richer pasta dishes. This great matching is due chiefly to Lambrusco’s high acidity, which cuts through these foods' creamier, fattier components."

Jennifer Raezer, Founder, Approach Guides Wine

July 7

2012 Clambake Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, California. $17.

"This is the perfect bottle for a summertime backyard — or preferably, beachside — dinner party. This citrusy, layered chardonnay is great on its own, but really begs to be sipped alongside its namesake: a New England clam bake. But don’t worry — even if the party gets rained out, this crisp, perfectly balanced wine pairs just as beautifully with broiled lobster tails indoors."

Jess Novak, Drink Editor, The Daily Meal

July 14

2011 Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel, Modesto, California. $10.

"Not for wine snobs. This is a lighter version of the Gallo family's hefty Rancho Zabaco zinfandel, redolent of summer fruits with a peppery finish. Chill it down a little and drink it down without ceremony with a picnic or grilled burgers or just a summer sunset."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

July 21

2012 Domaine de la Vinconniere Muscadet Sur Lie, Loire, France. $10.

"Summer wine to cool you down and lift your spirits — this is made from the grape Melon de Bourgogne and hails from the Loire Valley. This is France's answer to Italy's Pinot Grigio. It is fun, fresh, lively, and full of bright citrus. Easy drinking at it's finest. I drink this with salads, raw oysters, light fish dishes and just when I'm hanging on a sun filled patio with my friends."

Molly Wismeier, Wine Director, Restaurant R'evolutionNew Orleans

July 28

2010 Ladera Sagrada Castelo do Papa Godello, Valdeorras, Spain. $16.

"A light but flavorful white, with a hint of pinpoint carbonation — just enough to keep it lively — and a flavor that combines minerality with citrus and some tropical fruit."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

August 4

2011 Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani, Umbria, Italy. $22.

"Arnaldo Caprai and the region of Umbria is like talking about my home and the wines of Umbria are my comfort wines. This Grechetto is incredibly flavorful, with tangy tropical fruit and apricot on a nice base of lemon/lime soaked minerals. Add in great acidity, a nice hint of spice and it is a very good food wine. Perfect for warm months."

Giuseppe Rosati, Wine Director, Felidia

August 11

2011 Domaine Ostertag Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes, Alsace, France. $18.

"I love this aromatic, dry white wine for sitting around and drinking on a hot day and with many lighter summer dishes. This old vine style of Sylvaner from Alsace is made using Biodynamic methods and has a delicious crispness and rich mineral quality. It’s citrus, white flower and apricot flavors will pair perfectly with chilled seafood, salads and fruits."

Mark Thomas, Wine Director, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort

August 18

2013 Schloss Gobelsburg Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria. $10.

This acid-charged Austrian grape was made for Summer's final stand. It cuts those sweet late season tomatoes like a Ginsu knife, plays nicely with pesto, smells a bit like spearmint, and cools off a thirsty poolside palate like no other white wine.

Peter Eastlake, a Food & Wine magazine Sommelier of 2013; owner of Vintage Berkeley wine shops

August 25

2013 Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina, Spain. $22.

"50% Hondarribi Beltza and 50% Hondarribi Zuri is the blend on this Basque Country Rose. Light, crisp, notes of candied berries and lime peel make this an interesting summer sipper. The perfect BBQ beverage for the dog days of summer, this wine once chilled can handle pretty much anything you throw on the grill. I like it with Cedar Plank Salmon or Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Sausage."

Dan Thomas, Sommelier, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

September 1

2007 Bodegas Poesia Malbec Clos des Andes Reserva. $22.

"An oaky but elegant old-vine malbec, produced by the winemakers from Clos de l'Eglise in Pomerol, with a complex, toasty nose and a rich complex of flavors blending dark fruit, a touch of chocolate, and suggestions of both savory herbs and minerals."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

September 8

2011 Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon, Beajoulais, France. $30.  

"Minimum 70-year-old vines help produce this wine that is round and lush with cherry and licorice on the nose and lots of cherry, plum, smoky spice and leather on the palate. A great, easy drinking wine with depth that is very affordable. It would be great for early fall, with all that entails: mushrooms, risottos, vegetables."

Maxine Borcherding, sommelier; Oregon Culinary Institute instructor

September 15

2011 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA. $39.

"Pulled pork is a favorite at our pub and seems most popular during warm autumn days. We braise it for hours and coat it in a North Carolina barbeque sauce. Vinegar base not molasses, which is important. All the meat gets smashed between a soft bun with pickles. I like Cab with this sandwich. Sequoia Grove makes one I can always rely on. It’s balanced but full bodied and because there’s no sugar in the barbeque it works really well with the wine. Sugar kills Cab."

Robert Bell, Chef and Owner, Bouzy Gastropub, Los Angeles

September 22

2011 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa. $18.

"This is the perfect kind of wine for the end of the warm season — it's got a bright lemon-green color with a pronounced nose of citrus, lemon zest, green fig and black current leaves all held together by an intriguing floral note. It's fresh, vibrant, and goes really well with a panini or a fresh salad enjoyed porchside. Herbal undertones with a complex, chalky minerality compliments the mouthwatering finish."

Chef Robbie Wilson, Mattei's TavernLos Olivos, California

September 29

2009 Niepoort Bioma Vinha Velha, Vintage Port, Portugal. $85.

"Vintage port is one of the great autumnal wines: warming, comforting, rich but not quite winter-hearty, and this offering, from the venerable house of Nierpoort, is an excellent choice. The grapes come from organic 120-year-old vines, and the wine has a comparatively lean profile with an appealing rustic edge and intense fruit that is just beginning to soften."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

October 6

NV Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Tuscany, Italy. $30.

"This Vino Nobile is special because it’s made with 100% sangiovese grapes; usually these wines are blended with other grapes. When you drink it, you can tell it was made with great care — all organic grapes, careful oak aging, and extreme purity in its taste. It’s a very good wine for people who like Brunello from Montalcino but don’t have $100 to spend on a bottle; I'd recommend having it with a meaty pasta or mushroom risotto when the weather just starts to get cold."

Gianfranco Sorrentino, Owner, Wine Director, Il Gattopardo, The Leopard at Des Artistes, and Mozzarella & Vino

October 13

2011 Terre di Sava Luccarelli Primitivo, Puglia IGT, Italy. 2011. 

"This Italian Gem comes from 100-year-old vines in Puglia.The primitivo grape is the origin of American Red Zinfandel. This wine displays raisin and spice its full bodied yet smooth with nice balance and acidity on finish — perfect for pizza night."

Hector Gonzalez, Managing Partner, Toast Wine and CafeTampa, Florida

October 20

2012 Capiaux Cellars Chimera Pinot Noir, Sonoma, CA. $25.

"Fall is a time of transition, and as the seasons change, so will our need for certain flavors and varietals in wine. The Capiaux Cellars 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir can meet those needs, pairing well with the flavors of fall and complimenting the cooler weather. Cherry, strawberry, and sweeter spices are just a few of the notes I find on the nose. It's a full bodied pinot noir with a nice balance of earthy mineral driven flavors and the slightest hint of vanilla on the finish. Sure to please on a cool harvest moon evening!"

Ian Grymes, Cellar Master, AJ Pearce Winery

October 27

2011 Warwick Estate Old Bush Vines Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa. $20.

"An unlikely, uniquely South African cross between pinot noir and the southern French variety cinsaut, pinotage isn't always taken seriously, but this is a serious wine, well-suited for contempletive fireside sipping. It's bright in color but dark and complex in flavor, with a smoky, herbaceous, earthy character, finishing with a tang of spice and plenty of lingering tannin."

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

November 3

2010 Chateau Montelena Calistoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California. $50.

"The first frost signals the real arrival of fall and a glimpse of winter around the corner. Light the dinner candles and bring out this body-warming treat from California with its rounded, mature flavors of ripe plums, apple pulp, prunes, figs with well-integrated tannins. And there’s some earthy chocolate as well in the finish. Well-balanced with good acidity."

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer,The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Town & Country, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of the Seasons

November 10

Vito Gnazzo: 2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy. $28.

"This is a biodynamic wine from a fantastic producer. An intense pleasure to drink, it's interesting and complex with lots of dark fruit and some honey notes — this is Fontodi's entry-level wine and it's really amazing. We like to drink this rich Chianti Classico in the colder months with our veal 'fagottino' filled with buffalo caciocavallo cheese or with our pasta 'genovese,' a slow-cooked pork rib pasta with white onion sauce — there's nothing better on a cold, snowy day."

 Vito Gnazzo, Executive Chef, Il GattopardoThe Leopard at Des Artistes

November 17

2011 Domaine des Entrefaux-Charles et Francois Tardy Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone, France. $23.

"This is a terrific bottle from an underappreciated appellation. Made by a small, family producer, the vineyards are biodynamically farmed and hand harvested. The wine is 100% Syrah and medium bodied, and shows delicious notes of black fruit, spice, olive, coffee and game. It's a perfect wine for hearty winter fare — it would be a rock star with short ribs or cassoulet. Crozes-Hermitage isn't an appellation you can buy comfortably without knowing the producer, so be careful on substitutions, but when you find a great producer, they're one of the best wine values anywhere."

Ben Aneff, Wine Director, Tribeca Wine Merchants in New York; wine advisor, Auctionata Auctions in Berlin

November 24

2012 Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, Beaujolais, France. 2012. 

"This Beaujolais Cru is made from the Gamay grape. Lip-smackingly fresh, bursting with aromas of fresh strawberries and pomegranate seeds, alongside an earthy complexity, this medium bodied red can accompany any Thanksgiving table and also provide a more refined substitution to the Beaujolais nouveau that is released around the same time."

Aviram Turgeman, Sommelier, Nice Matin; Beverage Director, Chef Driven Group

December 1

2010 Domaine Costal Chablis Les Truffieres, Burgundy, France. $33.

"A fabulous chardonnay, this is a wine from the great importer Kermit Lynch, who has worked to have the legendary producer Bernard Raveneau collaborate on this cuvee. It's quickly become a favorite of ours, with a mineral-driven palate, showing classic notes of green apple, lemon curd, and wet stone. This is a linear, crisp wine, not a fat or flabby chard, and it's a great mind-opener/changer for someone who hasn't found a chardonnay they like. An excellent wine for any season, it hits its peak when it helps make one of the greatest food and wine pairings with fresh raw fish and shellfish, particularly oysters, in the fall to winter months."

Ben Aneff, Wine Director, Tribeca Wine Merchants in New York; wine advisor, Auctionata Auctions in Berlin

December 8

2011 Turley Wine Cellars Hayne Vineyard Petite Syrah, Napa Valley, California. $93.

"This is classic, complex, has lots of layers — and is great to hunker down with."

Peter Eastlake, a Food & Wine magazine Sommelier of 2013; owner of Vintage Berkeley wine shops

December 15

N Broadbent Reserve 5 Years Old, Madeira, Portugal. $22.

"Madeira pairs perfectly with butternut squash soup, as the soup is slightly sweet — the recipe usually calls for brown sugar, which gets caramelized — the same flavor as the Madeira. Adding a tablespoon or so of Madeira directly into the soup makes it a perfect pairing!"

Roxanne Langer, Sommelier, Culinary Wine Instructor, Author.

December 22

NV Damilano Cannubi, Barolo DOCG, Italy. $66.

"There’s never a wrong time to drink Barolo, the King of Italian wines. Though I'll use any excuse to open a bottle, Barolo is also my favorite wine to serve anytime I’m cooking up a big feast. Give me a big slab of beef in a rich sauce, a side of hearty pasta, and a glass of Barolo and I'm a happy man. Damilano is one of the oldest producers from the prestigious Cannubi vineyard, and they make a dynamite Barolo full of ripe cherries and plums with tantalizing notes of tobacco, licorice and cocoa. Perfect for a decadent Christmas feast."

Vic Rallo, Host, Eat! Drink! Italy! on PBS; Owner, Undici Taverna and Basil T’s Brewery

December 29

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, Champagne, France. $81.

"There is something about New Year's Eve that just wouldn't be the same without a great bottle of bubbles — after all, who tires of tradition if it's delicious? But you can still change things up by breaking out a world class rosé champagne! Billecart-Salmon is a great house, one of the last still owned by the original family, and their rosé has become a minor legend among wine collectors. Elegant, crisp and lively with lovely notes of white flower, strawberry, apple and pear, it's a wine that hits well above its price tag, and is a consistent favorite among knowledgable Champagne lovers the world over."

Ben Aneff, Wine Director, Tribeca Wine Merchants in New York; wine advisor, Auctionata Auctions in Berlin