Bitto and Cellar closed on Christmas Eve and Day

Bitto and the Orchard Wine Cellar will be closing early (3pm) on Christmas Eve and will also be closed Christsmas day to give staff time with their families. But we are all shopping for wine today! So many wines work with traditional holiday fare, and here are just a few.

The Avinjo Vintage Reserva Cava makes it into any list I ever do. Served at my own wedding, this cava over delivers on every level. This is the bottle to open as you start peeling sweet potatoes and turn up the music. Some cavas get a bit appley and carry an little mustiness, this one is perfectly balanced with bright acidity. It keeps your palate tuned for tasting and cooking all day long. Another bubbly we love is the St. Hilaire Blanquette di Limoux, made in the south-west of France from Mauzac with a touch of Chard and Chenin Blanc (really!) blended in. Thomas Jefferson loved this wine, and gave it to his fellow founding fathers during this time of year. Sadly he died with 49 bottles still in his cellar, clearly he died unexpectedly!

The next three reds are all lighter body and work even better slightly chilled. The Wind Gap Soif is a carbonic macerated Valdigue, Negroamara, Dolcetto, Syrah and Mourvedre blend from CA. Fermented in concrete and clarified with egg whites in the traditional Beaujolais style, its meatier than those with bright blackberry and fresh cherry flavors with just a hint of grip at the finish. Of course Beaujolais is on the menu, and the Domaine Depeuble has been on our glass and flight list for years. Every year it seems to get better, with the current release showing unmatched depth of flavor. No added sulfites, all indigenous yeasts, no oak, just pure lovely gamay. The last one in the lineup is a rare DOC Piedmonte Rosso that features Barbera, Dolcetto and Arneis. Blending in a white with reds is common in the Rhone but I've never seen it done in this part of Italy. Its a shame as this is a beauty! The Barbera and Dolcetto bring bright red fruit with a lovely drinkable softness that's unique.

Other styles that work great with turkey are the high acid whites made from aromatic grapes. Gewurzt is classic Christmas fare, having enough body and sweetness to work with stuffing and all the trimmings yet with acid to keep your salivary system happy enough to forgive a slightly dry bird. Juicy CA reds like Zin also work with turkey and ham, just stay away from a strong oak or high tannin profiles which can dry your mouth out and turn the turkey to dust and ham to a salt lick! And while French Burgundy is always a good choice, the richer and softer CA Pinot Noirs are a safe bet to go with almost anything this time of year. 

We wish all of you a lovely Christmas filled with good friends, loving family, and delicious wine to wash them down with!

Cheers! 


Orchard Wine Cellar Movers and Shakers This Week

  • Armas de Guerra Rose

    #1 Armas de Guerra Rose

    My heavens! 50+ year old, organic Mencia vines from some of the highest vineyards in Bierzo. Subtle aromas of strawberry, pink grapefruit and white pepper play with clean river rock minerality touched by zesty key lime. Balance and finish are tied together with a vibrating acidity. Structured and executed like a world class ballerina doing flamenco. Sells out every year for good reason. Lighter than Provence, a different planet than White Zin. The only hard part is only opening one bottle at a time.
    (Holding the #1 spot)

  • Gran Passione

    #2 Gran Passione

    From the land of Amarone comes a delicious Merlot based blend. To perfectly ripe Merlot (60%) is added juice from dried Corvina grapes ala Amarone. Rich, deep and smooth, this is a remarkable Merlot that may just change your Merlot worldview! (behind by 34 bottles)

  • Lavender Row Pinot Noir

    #3 Lavender Row Pinot Noir

    While French Burgundy may be the highest echelon of this grape, the warm and rugged south of France has a climate similar to CA and can make easy drinking affordable Pinots too. This affordable French beauty offers notes of toasted oak, rhubarb, strawberry, red flowers and crushed stone. But the nose! It truly explodes with the lavender that is grown all around the vines. (behind by 7 bottles)

  • Tintero Moscato

    #4 Tintero Moscato

    Sori Gramella refers to the one of the only single vineyard Moscatos, and Marco is the only producer to bottle this striking limestone amphitheater commercially. Once the 30 year old vines give up their bounty, and the grapes are harvested and pressed, they are kept in stainless steel at a low temperature to prevent fermentation until an order is received in order to provide the freshest wine possible. (behind by 7 bottles)

Fun New Arrivals

  • Armas de Guerra Mencia

    Armas de Guerra Mencia

    An excellent introduction to Bierzo's native varietal, the palate is fresh, elegant, and clean. Energetic aromas of fresh blue fruits, violet and white pepper, plus a subtle touch of licorice. Supple and gently sweet on the palate, offering sappy boysenberry and floral highlights with a hint of smokiness.

  • Poquito Moscato

    Poquito Moscato

    Lightly sparkling, fruity and sassy, Poquito is small in size but big on taste. Delicate floral aromas combine with a sweet yet refreshing palate of ripe peaches, pears and apricots. Apply liberally at any social occasion. Great right out of the bottle but really amazing with mint and rum as a mojito!

  • Maimai Syrah

    Maimai Syrah

    So pretty. Brings a clear nose of Gimblett Gravels terroir beneath lush soft blue and black fruit with lovely violet and lavender notes. Palate is clean, balanced and very approachable. Just a hint of the Northern Rhone's meatiness but mostly bright fruit and enough acidity to hold it in check. Maybe the best NZ Syrah out there??

  • Amon Ra

    Amon Ra

    The 2014 Amon Ra reflects the tried and true essence of the Glaetzer style - generosity of flavor with finesse of structure. The inky purple color displays the gentle but full extraction. The nose shows an abundance of dark blueberry, vanilla, black cherry and hints of cassis with notes of mixed spice and anise. Although still young and firmly wound, the vibrant blackberry and dried spice flavors integrate well with youthful yet supple tannins with the trademark loooong and sleek finish. Meant to go 10 to 15 years to hit its prime.