It's seems a bit odd to have a wine column on December 25, but rest assured I was prepared far enough in advance to avoid writing it on Christmas Eve.
Because it's a special day for many, I think a Christmas column calls for some special wines.
Prosser's Mercer Estates Winery currently offers a full complement of red and white wines, including several reds that I've really enjoyed this holiday season.
My favorites include their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $24). The tannins are a tad gritty for starters but soften nicely to reveal a lengthy, gorgeous layer of black cherry and espresso underneath.
Also notable is their 2008 Merlot (about $24) with lovely cherry and vanilla aromatics, dark berry flavors, a touch of black currant and toasted oak on the finish, and just the right amount of tannins in the background for added character and depth. This wine really is the complete package for merlot drinkers.
Another real treat is the 2009 Anthem (about $40), a Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot. This full-bodied red is perfectly balanced, with a bouquet of vanilla and butterscotch, understated blackberry flavors and a slightly plush, yet structured finish.
Winemaker Chris Gorman from Gorman Winery in Woodinville has been earning acclaim for his red wines as well. In a word: they're BIG!
His 2009 Zachary's Ladder (about $30) is a blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Compact blackberry and black currant converge with chewy red cherry flavors, chalky tannins and a touch of white pepper and rose hips on a lingering finish.
Gorman's 2009 Evil Twin (about $65), is a super-splurge, 95-point Wine Spectator choice. This 70/30 combination of syrah and cabernet sauvignon explodes with robust aromatics of dried cherry and ripe plum. It's quite dense and I'd give it at least a good two hours of decanting before serving. The payoff: intense notes of black cherry and bittersweet chocolate that are perfect for balancing out the wine's monstrous 15.2-percent alcohol content.
Look for these wines at Purple Smile Wines in Fairhaven or order them online at the winery's web site.
Finally, for a change of pace, try the J Vineyards & Winery 2005 Vintage Brut (about $49). This Russian River Valley sparkler has all the components of classic Champagne, with textured layers of baked bread, toasted hazelnut and lemon chiffon, and a crisp finish of Granny Smith apple.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!
DAN RADIL is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.