Welcome to the first 2011 edition of Team Daily Sip's best wines of the month. Between New Year's Eve, our first 80 Sips event in Miami and our operations manger's birthday, January delivered ample opportunity to imbibe some tasty vinos.
We kept our wits about us, however, and once again we bring you a list of the best wines that crossed our lips in the past 30 days. As usual, there's a wide range of styles and price points, and we hope your month was as mixed and mouth-watering as ours was.
Scholium Project Riquewihr Lost Slough Vinyeards Gewurztraminer 2008 ($33). This is a floral, aromatic, luscious, delicious Alsatian-style white from winemaker Abe Schoener. Named after the Alsatian subregion (Riquewihr), this white wine is as interesting and delicious as all others by Schoener. Coming in a short, squatty, 500 ml bottle, it's the perfect size to split over dinner. Find it here.
Saxum Broken Stones Syrah 2007 ($125). I was thrilled to find this gem at Vin 48, on my final night of a ski trip in Beaver Creek, Colo. This high-scoring wine lived up to the hype. It offers up a nose of blackberry and boysenberry, then delivers big, dark fruit on the palate with peppery notes. The wine is powerful yet elegant, rich and intense with a long, clean finish. Now if I can only get on Saxum's mailing list. Find the wine here.
Sledgehammer Zinfandel, Lake County, California 2008 ($15). Big wine company with aggressive marketing? Check. Sold in dive bars? Check. Low expectations? Beaten into the ground with a Sledge...well, you get the point. The crowd took down every drop of this wine at 80 Sips Miami, and it was my favorite of the tasting. It's big and bold, but it's nuanced and spicy as well--perhaps from the 8% Petite Sirah blended in. Branding for the Red Bull crowd, perhaps, but this is seriously good juice. Find it here.
Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Columbia Valley 2009 ($10).
I admit it, I purchased this bottle because I liked the label. But to my surprise and delight, this red blend really punched above its price. This wine from Charles Bieler (of Three Thieves and Rebel Wine Co.) and Charles Smith (of K Vintners, Magnificent Wine Company, and Charles Smith Wines), has the dark, inky color and fruity berry flavor that I really enjoy. It's a great wine to sip on and enjoy with a burger as well. Find the wine here.
Marchesi di Barolo Barbera d'Alba Ruvei 2005 ($19). I tasted this gem at a wine bar near Union Square in San Francisco. The wine is bold and delicious, with flavors of cherries and blackberries. It opened up very nicely when given some time to breath, so give this one some time after you uncork it. Find the wine here.
Antica Terra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon 2008 ($50). This wine brings aromas of raspberry, blueberry, anise and other spices. On the palate it's velvety but full of flavor and structure, offering notes of berries, plum and spice, with a long finish. This is a huge Pinot worth four times the price. Find it here.
Couly-Dutheil Baronnie Madeleine Chinon 2007 ($19). If you haven't picked up a red from the Loire Valley recently, do it immediately! This Chinon was a beautiful example of how complex, diverse and gorgeous Loire reds can be. My friends and I shared this bottle at the 2nd Annual Roasting of the Hen, a New Year's tradition at which my fabulous friend cooks a game hen for each attendee. This bottle was an earthy, vegetal, elegant, dirty wine--and everyone loved it. Find it here.
Tried any of these wines? Tell us what you think about them below.