Treat Yourself to These Adventurous Red Wines This Holiday Season - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Treat Yourself to These Adventurous Red Wines This Holiday Season

When we spoke with Chicago wine pro Jeremy Patenaude about buying wine during an unusual holiday season, one of his suggestions really resonated: There’s no better time to treat yourself to something special. Why not try that varietal you’ve been meaning to explore, or grab a bottle of something you’ve never heard of from a far-flung locale? This year you have the opportunity to grab that moment and run with it. Here are a few bottles that stray slightly outside the usual holiday picks but will surely bring some extra joy to your holidays.

Une Femme “The Piquette” As richly red as a ruby, this new release from Jen Pelka’s Une Femme follows an increasingly popular centuries-old winemaking style, which employs a second-pressing of the seeds, pulp, and stems of wine grapes. “The Piquette” is produced by POE Wines’ Samantha Sheehan, who uses 100 percent Meunier organically grown in Sonoma’s van der Kamp vineyards. The light-bodied wine, which comes in at a very lovable 10 percent ABV, is at its finest when served chilled and allowed to breathe for a minute or two. Fruity, laid back, and downright refreshing, “The Piquette” is the antidote to winter indulgences. Even better: a portion of proceeds from the bottle go to TreeSisters, an international nonprofit focused on reforestation. $25,

2017 Cantina Terlano “Gries” Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva We’ve previously explored the excellence of Alpine wines during warmer weather, but these under-the-radar bottles are equally superb in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The picturesque Alto Adige region, which shares borders with Liechtenstien, is one of Italy’s smallest winegrowing regions, and the region’s indigenous Lagrein grape—first documented in 1379—is the oldest variety still cultivated there today; tannic-rich red wines made from the grape are known for their ability to match minerality with fruit-forward notes. The dry winter weather the region experienced in 2017 led to a very small, but quality vintage of Cantina Terlano’s Lagrein “Gries,” a juicy, plummy red perfect for pairing at the dinner table. $35.97,

Heinrich Blaufränkisch Leithaberg DAC 2017 Originating in Austria, the Blaufränkish variety is planted across Central Europe and is used to produce red wines which expertly mirror their terroir. This 100 percent Blaufränkish comes from Gernot and Heike Heinrich, who founded their (now biodynamic) Austrian winery in 1990 and are today recognized as one of the country’s most inventive producers, employing spontaneous fermentation for every vintage. The grapes used for this bottle were grown in vineyards on the Leitha Mountain—Leithaberg is Austria’s only controlled appellation, featuring fossil-rich limestone soils. The inky Heinrich Blaufränkisch Leithaberg DAC carries a slim profile, serious yet spicy, fresh and fun, with the varietal’s characteristic cherry notes complemented by salinity and a crisp tannic character. $39.99,

Frank Family Vineyards Rouge 2016 It’s a shame that sparkling red wine is often little known outside of Italian lambrusco. In addition to being wildly food-friendly, bottles of bubbly red make exceptional holiday selections as they are gorgeous in the glass and often downright joyful to drink. Frank Family Vineyard’s 2016 Rouge is composed of majority Pinot Noir with the addition of Chardonnay, both varieties harvested from a vineyard in California’s Los Carneros AVA which includes parts of both Napa and Sonoma. Employing the méthode champenoise for their sparklers, Frank Family’s 2016 Rouge vintage fermented for three years prior to riddling and disgorgement this past spring. The wine strikes a happy balance between upright acidity and creamy textures, bright with red berries and delicate rose petal aromatics. $55,

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