Rejoicing and Revelry – 2009 Wine Favorites

IMG_0366

The photo above pretty much sums up what we’ve been up to at my house for the past few weeks – cultivating a heaping pile of wine corks. I usually don’t need much of a reason to pop a cork on a bottle of wine, it’s what I do just about every single day (can someone say Save the Liver?) but this season naturally brings out my celebratory personality. What can I say? I can’t resist a party.

Of course, I’ve been cooking too, along with some of my favorite people in the world. Putting a meal together with my family and friends is almost always a shared endeavor. We plan, shop, chop and cook together, wine glasses in hand. While I admit to being a total blog slacker, my sister-in-law L has been so much better at documenting our festivities on her blog – go have a peek.

After going through my pile of corks, I thought it was time to share a short list of some of the best wines I’ve had the pleasure to taste this year.

I usually try to keep my wine spending budget under $15, but a few of my faves exceed that. Needless to say that I think they’re worth the splurge. Happy New Year!

Gruet Brut, Blanc de Noirs or Rosé (New Mexico) $15 I admit that I have tiny problem – if there’s no sparkling wine in the house I start to get a little shaky. Nothing makes me happier than the promising sound of a cork popping out of a bottle of bubbly. This pick is priced right, and delivers the complex, crisp feel of something much more expensive.

Azur Rosé (California) $20 I hesitate to tell you about this Provencal-style wine since there are only a few hundred cases produced, but I fell in love with it when I first tasted it at Robust, my neighborhood wine bar this past summer. It’s a beautiful shade of pale salmon and tastes fresh and delicious, with a mouthwatering balance of fruit and acidity – perfect for sipping when it’s hot and sticky. Summer days are over and the wine is most likely sold out, but keep a look out for the upcoming 2009 release.

Felino Malbec (Argentina) $17 Paul Hobbs styles intense, high-end California wines, but has recently collaborated with a few South American winemakers to produce a handful of beautifully made – and much more affordable – wines in Chile and Argentina. This really is a great bargain – a big, rich and velvety red.