Domaine Collin Crémant de Limoux Brut Cuvée Tradition NV
Languedoc Roussillon, France, $16
If you’re a lover of fine bubbles but are starting the year off with promises of parsimony, fear not. Champagne native and sparkling winemaker Philippe Collin is crafting quality sparklers in his relocated home of Limoux that will please both your palate and your pocketbook.
Crafted in the champagne method from a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and chenin blanc, this bubbly begins with a lively yet delicate mousse. The warm golden-hued wine reveals just-ripe pears and freshly baked baguettes on the nose. This refreshing sparkler sits softly on the tongue, where it effuses quince and green-apple notes, and then finishes slightly creamy with citrus and almond oil. A beautifully balanced bubbly refined enough for celebrations but priced to become a weekday habit.
Pair it with: a panoply of party openers, lobster risotto, and French fries.
Domaine Bonnet-Huteau Les Bonnets Blancs 2020
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, France, $17
Domaine Bonnet-Huteau has been making muscadet wine in the Loire Valley for over 150 years. Now run by the Bonnet brothers, the winery is certified organic, with the winemakers also choosing to utilize biodynamic agricultural philosophies in their winemaking.
Produced from 100 percent muscadet, this zippy, pale-straw wine has been allowed to sit sur lie (on its lees) for six months. The nose is predominantly vegetal, with a citrus and pear backdrop. The wine is lively and zesty on the palate with lemon and apricot notes. Strong salinity on the finish of this crisp white borders on being succulent. A stellar choice for starters, with enough weight and acid to brighten winter fare.
Pair it with: oysters on the half shell (this is the dream), moules frites, and Poulet Vallée d’Auge (creamy chicken with apples).
Goose Ridge g3 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019
Columbia Valley, Washington, $16
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery operates the largest contiguous estate vineyard in Washington state (2,200 acres), allowing them to supply all five of their company brands with estate-grown grapes to fulfill their winemaking needs. The g3 brand is considered their premium label.
Produced from over 80 percent cabernet sauvignon, this wine pours deep ruby with inky purple highlights. The nose is an enticing mélange of black plums, cedar shavings and bearded iris. The silky entrance of this wine belies its grippy tannins and potent alcohol. Juicy, ripe plums and blueberries burst on the palate, are teased by a hint of rose oil and chocolate, then slowly subside to a protracted pu-erh tea finish. A wine this engaging is worthy of being a winter staple.
Pair it with: braised pork shoulder with toasted fennel seed, New York strip steaks, and portobello mushroom burgers.