Host Guide: 99 Bottles of Wine: The Holiday Host
Brewer-Clifton 2001 Chardonnay, Sweeney Canyon, Santa Rita Hills
Gorgeous Chardonnay from a team of Santa
Barbara’s best winemakers; charming honey, spice, and citrus.
Hendry Ranch 2000 Chardonnay, Blocks 9 & 21, Napa Valley
One of several solid Chardonnays from this producer; excellent structure and notes of oak, fruit, and spice.
Devil’s Lair 2001 Chardonnay, Margaret River
Lovely flavors of sweet oak and racy fruit in a Chardonnay from the up-and-coming Margaret River appellation on Australia’s far western coast.
Villa Maria Estate 2002 Sauvignon Blanc, Clifford Bay Reserve, Marlborough This is why New Zealand means sauvignon blanc: explosive with searing acidity and bright peach fruit.
Herzog 2000 Special Edition Cabernet Sauvignon, Warnecke Vineyard, Chalk Hill
Dark and dense, powerful and generous, with succulent fruit and smoky flavors, all built on a structure of spine-tingling acidity; stunning.
Tandem 2001 Pinot Noir, Pisoni Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands
A brilliant team effort from two Gregs (Bjornstad and La Follette, formerly of Flowers); exquisite Pinot sourced from one of Monterey’s best vineyards.
Regusci 2000 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley
Pure, clean plum and black raspberry fruit with fine acid structure and a balanced, fresh finish.
Benjamin Silver Wines 2000 Pinot Noir, Julia’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara
Another brilliant Santa Barbara Pinot with silky, deep cherry and berry flavors; complex and delicious.
Babcock 2001 Pinot Noir Mt. Carmel, Santa Barbara
Bright black-cherry fruit wound around a firm core of acidity; long, silky, dense, and powerful, with notes of earth, wood, and ripe berries.
Hartford 2001 Zinfandel, Dina’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Classic zin with depth-charge blackberry fruit and a long, lifted finish.
Crichton Hall Vineyard 2000 Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Valley
Lovely new-oak vanillins are the perfect foil for the juice-bomb cherry fruit in this Carneros Pinot.
Bonaccorsi 2001 Syrah, Central Coast
Former Spago sommelier Michael Bonaccorsi makes this exceptionally intense Syrah with dense blackberry and soft oak; sourced from the Firepeak and Star Lane vineyards.
Russian Hill 2001 Estate Syrah, Ellen’s Block, Russian River Valley
Dusky and dense with highly concentrated blackberry fruit shot through with sweet oak.
Consilience 2001 Pinot Noir, Rodney’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara
Complex and structured, excellent balance and depth, lovely cherry fruit.
Beckmen 2001 Grenache, Purisima Mountain, Santa Ynez Valley
Explosive blackberry fruit hangs on firm structure; a pure expression of Grenache.
Merryvale 2000 Starmont Merlot, Napa Valley
A lovely second-label Merlot from this noted Napa producer; smooth texture and ripe, smoky plum fruit.
Palmina 2001 Barbera, Bien Nacido Vineyard,Santa Maria Valley
The best domestic Barbera, with raging blueberry, black raspberry, and screaming acidity.
Copain Wines 2001 Syrah, Cailloux & Coccinelle, Walla Walla Valley
Sonoma-based Syrah fanatic Wells Guthrie sources this fruit from Washington; lush and smoky with spice and sweet, rich berry fruit.
Monsanto 1999 Il Poggio, Chianti Classico
Thrilling blackberry fruit and zippy acidity; toasty oak notes on the lovely finish.
Fonterutoli 2000 Chianti Classico
Rich and dense with exquisite acidity and long, linear flavors of fruit, violets, and leather; superb at any price but an outright steal at this one.
Castellare 1998 I Sodi Di San Niccolò, Toscana
Made exclusively from the native Chianti grapes Sangioveto and Malvasia Nera; profound and lush with gorgeous plum and blackberry fruit.
Alión 1998 Ribera Del Ruero
A strikingly modern Ribera del Duero with sinewy structure and complex flavors.
Alianca 1999 Quinta Da Terrugem T, Alentejo
A striking Portuguese red with ripe, portlike flavors and ample sweet oak.
Luca 2001 Syrah, Mendoza
A gorgeous offering from Argentina’s trendsetting Catena family; lush texture, keen acidity—exceptional.
Moët & Chandon 1993 Cuvée Dom Pérignon Rosé, Epernay
The salmon-hued sibling to the classic Dom is romance in a glass, stunning depth and intensity.
Schramsberg 1996 Reserve, Napa 87%-Monterey 7%-Mendocino 6%
A Pinot-based blanc de noirs cuvée with six years of age at release; ripe fruit and bright acidity.
J Wine Company 1997 Brut, Sonoma
Clean, peachy fruit and lees notes in a poised, stylish sparkling wine.
Roederer Estate Nv Brut Rosé, Anderson Valley
Pale and lightly tinted bubbly with firm red-fruit and elegant mousse; a great holiday wine.
Gloria Ferrer 1994 Brut Royal Cuvée, Carneros
Consistently one of the best domestic sparklers; fresh Carneros fruit mellowed with warm notes.
Beringer 2000 Nightingale Botrytised Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Toasty and seductive; lively honey, vanilla, and spice.
Voss 2000 Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Napa Valley
Seamless and balanced with apricot fruit, botrytis notes, firm acidity, and a lingering finish.