Wine collectors celebrate New Year’s Eve with their very best wines; you can join the fun with these superb selections.
In September, I visited Eric and Isabelle Coulon, the dedicated eighth-generation owners of Roger Coulon Champagne in Vrigny, a village near Reims.
Eric, the winemaker, produces a delicious, bright orange-tinted nonvintage rosé from Champagne’s two red grapes, pinot noir and pinot meunier, grown in premier cru vineyards. Its wonderful red fruit flavors carry a hint of licorice and the soft bubbles release a long, dry finish.
“Imagine how many people are drinking our Champagne tonight,” Eric wonders every New Year’s Eve, Isabelle recounts with a smile. You’ll be smiling, too, with a glass of the excellent nonvintage Roger Coulon Rosé. The cost is about $60.
California chardonnay is not my normal selection for a special occasion white wine, but here are two that could grace your table.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery has been producing outstanding wines since 1976. Unlike other California wineries, it makes only a red wine from cabernet sauvignon and a white wine from chardonnay. And it has had only one winemaker, Rob Davis.
The 2011 Jordan Chardonnay comes from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley vineyards. It displays vanilla and floral aromas and ripe California fruit flavors without being over the top. Supporting citrus-like acidity delivers balance and a pleasing, clean finish. It is always one of California’s most elegant chardonnays.
Chateau Montelena dates to the 1880s, but fame arrived in 1976 when its chardonnay won a blind tasting held in Paris with a jury of French wine professionals. Much to their shock, they declared that Chateau Montelena’s 1973 chardonnay bested wines from Burgundy’s top chardonnay vineyards: Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, and Beaune Clos des Mouches.
The 2010 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley is layered with apple, pear and quince aromas and flavors. Its rich fruit coats the palate and its integrated acidity gives it a long, balanced finish. It’s clear the French judges were correct: Chateau Montelena makes world-class chardonnay.
The 2011 Jordan chardonnay is about $29 and the 2010 Chateau Montelena is approximately $49.
The 2010 Ornellaia marks the 25th vintage of this Tuscan winery founded in 1981 by Ludovico Antinori. Today, it is owned by Marchesi de Frescobaldi.
Ornellaia is located in Bolgheri, a coastal area renowned for Bordeaux-styled wines. The 2010 Ornellaia is a Bordeaux blend of 53 percent cabernet sauvignon, 39 percent merlot, and 4 percent each cabernet franc and petit verdot. Its consulting enologist is Bordeaux’s Michel Rolland.
While Ornellaia is best after cellaring for a few years, its rich black fruit and oak-infused vanilla scent and flavor can be enjoyed at a youthful age. Decant the 2010 Ornellaia for an hour and you’ll have a full-bodied, mouth filling wine that is perfect with rack of lamb or filet mignon.
The 2010 Ornellaia retails from $170 to $200.
Bring your New Year’s Eve dinner to a sweet finish with a glass of the 2009 Royal Tokaji Mad Cuvee. This late-harvest wine is named for the Hungarian town of Mad, where Royal Tokaji has its winery and vineyards. Its enticing lime and vanilla scent, and opulent honeyed texture and flavor are underscored with acidity that leaves a clean, dry finish. Its half-bottle format is the perfect size for a small dinner party, too.
The 2009 Royal Tokaji Mad Cuvee retails for about $20.
Happy New Year.