The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 12

The Dozen – Getting Spirited

We add some spirits to a great lineup of Napa wines and a stellar Champagne.


From time to time, The Dozen likes to include spirits into the mix, and this is one of those times. We have a couple featured at the end of this edition.

But don’t overlook the great wines we have featured – some of which would make excellent holiday gifts – from Billecart-Salmon and from the talented Nickel family of Napa Valley.

2021 OTU Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($18). Quite nice – lively and juicy with kiwi and fresh citrus flavors.

2021 Vinum “Wilson Vineyard” Clarksville Chenin Blanc ($18). Good fragrance, crisp and clean apple and pear flavors and good intensity in the finish.

2020 Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett ($27). A classic entry-level Riesling with piquant berry fruitiness and hints of fruit oils, with slightly sweet finish but with balancing acidity.

2020 Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay ($64). Beautifully done – apple fruit and oak merge seamlessly – good weight, good fruit, good toast, good acidity.

NV Los Dos Cava Brut ($12). A very soft Cava with creamy apples flavor and a soft, cushy finish.

NV Lini 910 “Labrusco” Lambrusco Reggiano Rosso ($17). Lovely herbal smells of briers and huckleberries, frizzy not bubbly and with lots of green savory edges and bitter tannins.

NV Fitz-Ritter Pfalz Rieling Extra Trocken Sekt ($23). Nice, almost fluffy stone fruit, herbs and geranium leaf flavors with good intensity of bubbles, though not as crisp in the finish.

NV Billecart-Salmon Grand Cru Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut ($93). Nice mousse, candied fruit, gentle green herbs, little vanilla, good minerality – excellent.

2018 Bella Union Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($66). Tart and brambly with cranberry and cassis flavors – an assertive Cab in a good way.

2019 Nickel & Nickel “John C. Sullenger” Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($110). Beautiful and complex wine, very perfumed, both red and black berry fruitiness, good acidity and lots of dusty tannins.

Luxardo Espresso Liqueur ($25). From the talented family that produces those rich cherries in your Manhattans (as well as many other liqueurs), the Espresso has the aromas of un-percolated ground beans, but the flavors are those of a sinfully creamy espresso, the kind you won’t get at Starbucks. (27%).

Anchor Distilling “Junipero” Gin ($35). One of the innovations of Fritz Maytag, Junipero has lovely aromas of juniper – soft, not jagged – and extremely smooth flavors of botanicals that are harmoniously woven together and not to be picked apart. Great to sip or in a Martini to go along with the Luxardo Manhattan. (49.3%).

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Photo Courtesy Dr. H. Thanisch

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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