More “Holiday” Wines

The following post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are my own.

I thought I did my part on Monday—I wrote a post on Valentine’s Day wines that I received as samples. As I mentioned in that post, I am not one of those who “celebrates” Valentine’s Day and neither does my wife, which may be one reason we got married. Based on the comments earlier this week I am not the only one who does not “celebrate” Valentine’s Day.

But I did my part to help those of you that do by reviewing a few wines that could (should?) make your Valentine’s Day memorable (or, I guess, forgettable).

Well I am back at it again today!


Well, another box of “holiday” wines landed on my doorstep just moments after I published the last article. So last night, even though I was dead tired, I plowed through the bottles in order to give you, my trusted readers, the skinny on three more wines.

Yeah, I know, I sacrifice so much for you, and you are thankful….

loveblock-pinot-noir-central-otago-new-zealand-10601057The first wine is a Pinot from New Zealand, a region that I have never visited, but I would go there in a heartbeat. Every aspect about the country is alluring–it is supposed to be beautiful, the predominant grape variety is Pinot Noir, and that Kiwi accent causes me to melt instantly (truth be told, I used to find virtually no difference between Australian and New Zealand accents, but after spending a week with a group of Aussies in Belgium, I think I have it now). That is perhaps the reason I have never been—I would hear the accent all over the place and fall in love with just about everyone I met.

2012 Loveblock Pinot Noir Central Otago: Retail $37. price: $31.99. I do not drink a ton of New Zealand Pinot, but I certainly should. Initially, this was a tight as a drum–really not much going on at all, but since it just arrived the day before, I poured some in a glass, gave it a solid swirl, and then went upstairs to put the boys to bed. When I came back down after tickling the boys to the point of hysterics, the wine was ready to rock. Bright red berry fruit with some mushroom and pine needles underneath. On the palate, bright acidity and a subtle swagger, followed by a lingering finish. If you like your Pinot big and bold, keep walking mister, but if you enjoy a more demure demeanor, this has it in spades. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

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fizz-botThe second bottle was a sparkling Brachetto, which is really only grown in the Piemonte region of Italy, an area much better known for two of Italy’s killer B’s: Barbaresco and Barolo. Brachetto is a lighter bodied red grape that lends itself to a light, yet sweet red sparkling wine.

N.V. Fizz 56 Piemonte Brachetto Dolce: Retail $21. price: $18.99. Brilliant, deep red color, with an active sparkle (the “56” in the name comes from the 56 million bubbles that are in the bottle), and a pleasant strawberry and cherry nose. On the palate, it is certainly sweet, but it seems to work. It reminded me a bit of a Moscato, but not nearly as cloying and with a ton of strawberries thrown in. Honestly, this might be my go-to popcorn wine—the sweetness and balance will match nicely with the saltiness. Very Good. 86-88 Points.

Get $25 off your purchase of $200 or more at! Use code: SAVE25. Offer valid 2/9-2/11.

The last wine bottle in the box was from Lodi, that is one of the largest producing wine regions in the country, producing more wine than Napa and Sonoma Counties combined. For a good portion of its history, the area produced mostly jug wine, but in the past decade or so, more higher quality wineries have popped up. Zinfandel still dominates, but the region is now producing an impressive array of Rhône varietal wines as well. It is but a short car ride from my in-laws house in the East Bay, and despite being married for well over a decade, I have only visited the region once–this past summer. It was an impressive visit, however, and I will certainly be back soon.

You might ask “What does this wine have to do with Valentine’s Day?”

FED ZIN LODI BOTTLE NVWell, absolutely nothing. This wine is so that you can celebrate President’s Day, which is this coming Monday. (Yeah, I know it is a stretch, but the wine is really nice and if you actually need a reason to open a bottle, well, here you go….)

2013 The Federalist Zinfandel Lodi: Retail $22. price: $17.76 (see what they did there?). 93% Zinfandel, 7% Syrah. The wine is named after the Federalist Party, the first political party in the United States. Although Washington was never technically a Federalist, he was certainly sympathetic to their cause, which is why he adorns the bottle. Although the color is fairly light for a Zinfandel, the nose is all Zin: big and fruity with plum and blackberry a go-go. On the palate, I was pleasantly surprised as the wine, while still certainly “fruity” is nowhere near a big “Zin-bomb” that the nose indicated. In fact, this is my kind of Zin–sure there is fruit, but also depth and balance. Really very nice–I would be tempted to put some of this away, since I think it might age very well, but that would prove difficult as it is quite tasty now. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Brachetto, Pinot Noir, Wine, Zinfandel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to More “Holiday” Wines

  1. Brachetto D’Acqui, so underrated!!


  2. cyardin says:

    You guys pay a lot for Kiwi wine. That is one of the few benefits we have when buying things (everything else we buy is completely overpriced).


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