Are you looking for a new and exciting wine to enjoy this year? 2012 has seen some excellent wines, although my favorite was a complex Syrah from Washington. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out this list of the five great wines of the year to enjoy with a fine meal or company.
1. Betz Family Winery 2009 La CÔte Rousse
This complex, dark Syrah is made from grapes from two different vineyards in Red Mountain, Washington: Ranch at the End of the Road and Ciel du Cheval. The grapes for this vintage were grown during 2009, after a cool spring followed by a very hot autumn. This led to a fast ripening, although the weather cooled down enough to seal in the sugar and properly balance out the acidity of the wine. This wine features a sweet spice flavor with notes of mushroom and smoke that’s extremely complex.
2. White Rose Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Noir
This wine was selected as the best Oregon wine of 2012 for a reason. It beat out 577 competitors with its intense and medium-bodied flavor, with notes of leaves, cinnamon and cedar. This Pinot Noir has a very earthy flavor with flavors like cherry, mushroom and even dill. This vintage was also processed using the signature wood basket pressures to bring out the delicate aromas and soft tannins. Be sure to pick up a bottle as it will continue to age well for up to seven more years.
3. Betz Family Winery 2009 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon
This has been an excellent year for the Betz Family Winery. This is one of the best red wines of the year and features 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot to add, as Bob Betz puts it, “fleshiness” to the wine. This vintage is incredibly rich but the aromas are well balanced. You’ll notice a lingering finish with aromas of smoke and sassafras.
4. Alamos 2010 Red Blend
This wine from the Mendoza Province of Argentina is a delicious red blend with rich cherry and blackberry flavors with light notes of chocolate and vanilla. This full-bodied wine is made primarily with a blend of Bonarda, Tempranillo and Malbec grapes. You’ll notice some very unusual and exotic flavors as well, including coriander and elderberries with a decidedly earthy undertone. This blend is very powerful at first although the midpalate has soft tannins with an earthy finish.
5. Castle Rock 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
This full-bodied wine has strong flavors of plum, blackberry and cherry with just a light note of oak with a very smooth and supple taste. Don’t be fooled by the price; this wine has some very nice complexity with mere suggestions of mushroom and cocoa. It’s a young wine that opens with strong cherry aromas, although you’ll also taste hints of clove and vanilla with a bit of tobacco and anise as well. With the light oak flavor and balanced tannins, it pairs very nicely with cheeses, cream sauces and roasted meat. While it’s ready to drink, try picking up a bottle and allowing it to age for awhile.