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ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Our holiday favorites 2020

by GEORGE BALLING
| December 2, 2020 1:00 AM

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “What do you like drinking right now?” Similarly, some of our most popular Facebook posts on The Dinner Party’s page are those that show the wine we are enjoying at home, or when we would be out to lunch or dinner. For us, as we have said so many times, the real joy of wine is always being able to try new wines, crafted from new varietals, made by winemakers we are just discovering. Like all of us, of course we have our sentimental go to favorites, but here are some of our newer favorites. While your holiday gatherings this year will likely be smaller, we still hope you have a chance to enjoy some of these with those you are closest to.

For us the holidays always involve a bit of bubbly! While the NV Casina Bric brut rose spumante of Nebbiolo ($40, Wine Club $36) is not new to the shop or our community it is about our favorite sparkling right now. The bubbles are fine and tight, the aromas show light notes of biscuit and ripe berry, and the palate is dry and clean with abundant citrus and berry flavors. It is a joy to drink and as sparkling wines go not overly expensive.

Mary’s and my taste in still white wine have diverged a bit lately, I am really enjoying California Chardonnay, Mary not so much. About my favorite Chardonnay right now is the 2017 Jordan Chardonnay ($45, Wine Club Price $40.50) from Sonoma County. The Jordan is a finely honed restrained version of Chardonnay. It still shows the butter and oak we all love in Chardonnay but those characteristics remain well in check. The wine is sleek and elegant throughout. It will be great with your Christmas Eve Dungeness crab.

Two other white wines we both agree on are the 2017 Pieropan Soave ($22, Wine Club Price $19.80). We just featured this wine in our November wine dinner and beyond what we think of it, the wine sold like crazy. Like most Soave it is a blend of Trebbiano and Garganega, and it shows the classic mineral driven nose, highly textural and citrus noted palate, and a crisp clean finish. Perfect at the holidays as a lighter alternative white.

We recently discovered the 2019 Böcking Pinot Blanc ($20, Wine Club Price $18) from Germany and fell in love with the wine. It is unoaked with very high acid showing ample citrus aromas and flavors. The wine is super crisp and bone dry making it perfect with rich salty cheeses or any of your more opulent holiday fare.

Its challenging for us to think about the holidays and not have a Pinot Noir on our short list of go to wines. While Thanksgiving is now over many of us will still enjoy turkey at Christmas, or other poultry throughout the holidays, and nothing shines more with poultry of all kinds than Pinot. The 2018 Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($55, Wine Club Price $49.50) while spendy is our favorite in the shop at any price. The wine is simply extraordinary! Ehren Jordan makes lovely wines but some of his best work is on Pinot Noir. The wine shows rich concentrated notes of black cherry and mild morel mushroom earthiness. The palate is similarly rich and concentrated with perfect palate weight and a sleek and silky mouth feel.

While we are talking about Ehren’s wines, his 2017 Day Zinfandel ($40, Wine Club Price $36) is another masterpiece. Like so much of Ehren’s work, the wine shows the classically jammy rich palate and ripe raspberry fruit aromas but it is not overdone. Zinfandel is a varietal that is very easy to let get away from even the best winemaker both in the vineyard and the cellar becoming overly fruit driven and rich. Not this one, it knows its place and the wine is delicious.

One of our November wine club selections the 2017 The Lost Chapters Napa Valley Cabernet ($23, Wine Club Price $20.70) is another study in balance and restraint. It shows the character we have come to expect from the great Napa Valley “Cabs” but it isn’t overdone, just like the price! The tannins, oak and a dusty note are all there they hold all the parts in check with elegant balance throughout.

We encourage all of you to stop by the shop this holiday season to check out these great wines and others that will be arriving over the next few weeks. While 2020 has changed so many things for all of us, it is still a wonderful time of the year to enjoy great wine with friends and family, a tradition that can and should endure.

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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.