The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 12

The Dozen – Red Winter (Again)

It's a cliche, but it is winter, so guess what Santa is pouring?


Wine writers hate to resort to old bromides and truisms about wine and wine culture, but sometimes one stares you in the face, and you can’t look away. “Winter is a great time to drink red wine.”  

There, I’ve written it, and I can’t make myself delete it. 

Food writers probably cringe when November turns to December, and they have to write yet again about hearty soups and stews and Christmas cookies.

And, so, this issue of The Dozen celebrates nine red wines from light to luscious, from $15 to $145, from great sippers to prominent dinner companions.  For those who don’t like red wines no matter the season, we’ve set aside three whites for you.

Happy holidays! Happy drinking!

2020 Planeta “La Segreta” Sicilia Grillo ($15). Fresh green fruit flavors with an acid edge.

2018 Ramos Pinto “Duas Quintas” Douro Branco ($15). Young though not tart apple flavors – similar to those of Chardonnay – with a modest tang in the finish. Decant or give it time to air a bit.

2019 FEL “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($52). Lovely, juicy flavors of apples and cream, but not toasty, with good finishing acidity.

2018 La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($15).  A bit like a friendly Beaujolais Nouveau – gamey and tart with a lively fresh fruitiness.

2019 Li Veli “Orion” Salento Primitivo ($15). Piquant fruitiness with an enjoyable but firm tannic finish.

2019 Sant’Antonio “Nanfre” Valpolicella Superiore ($15). Lightly colored like an old-fashioned Rhone rosé, the wine has lovely fresh yet ripe berries with good finishing acidity.

2019 Marchesi di Gresy “Monte Aribaldo” Dolcetto d’Alba ($21). A wine that will make you hungry if you aren’t already with its tangy red berries and good acidity.

2017 Goosecross “Branta” Napa Valley Red Wine ($65). Lean, with a mixture of red and black fruit flavors with dusty tannins in the finish.

2019 FEL “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($69). What California Pinots can accomplish when not focused on syrupy intensity – lovely fresh fruitiness with ringing cherry and cola flavors, balanced and not too lean.

2017 Goosecross “State Lane Vineyard” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($74). Very textured (unfiltered?) with lovely, rich purple fruit, light chocolate notes, and blended toasty oak.

2019 Sebastiani “Cherryblock” Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($127). Full-bodied yet lean structure with lots of acidity in the finish, more red than purple fruits, and lots of dusty tannins.

2019 Theorem “Hawk’s Prey” Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($145). Simply delicious. Very smooth with dark black raspberry and blackberry flavors along with a generous dollop of creamy, semi-sweet dark chocolate in the finish.

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.

Feature photo: Theorem Vineyards_barrel room with vineyard view_credit Briana Marie Photography

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