Well… in what is amounting to, put charitably, quite a year now contains one of the most well-THAT-was-quite-a-week moments arguably in U.S (world?) history. In case you haven’t heard (presumably because you’ve been fortunate enough to have been stranded on a beautiful, remote island somewhere with an almost unlimited amount of Madeira stashed in caves with which you could soak your brain into a constant stupor until you were rescued), the USA had a little, somewhat acrimonious election thing going on in which we chose our next president.
There’s something in all of the recent electoral madness, however, to which both sides of the political divide can and should toast: the peaceful transition of power. Most of us take this for granted, yet it’s the linchpin that holds a good deal of the world’s democratically-based governments from spiraling into pseudo-banana republic territory.
Like having a roof over your head, or clean water, or running electricity, peaceful government transitions are the type of thing about which you don’t realize how truly f*cked you are without them until they are gone. And so, I raised a few glasses (ok, more than a few) in celebration of this oft-overlooked but essential component of the modern democratic process…
NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve (Champagne, $55)
Celebrations, of course, demand bubbles; in this case, one of Reims’ classic expressions. The depth of all of the various yellow, red, and everything-in-between apple fruits in this sparkler are, I suspect, in part due to a fair percentage (40%) of reserve wines included in the blend. In any case, while this blend of up to 60 crus doesn’t lack for toasty, brioche-like headiness, Chuck’s Brut Reserve always surprises me (in the best ways) with how fresh and floral it comes off despite the 10-years aging average of the reserve wines used. Whatever; the end result is consistently, elegantly, and luxuriously delicious.
2018 Tongue Dancer ‘Pinot de Ville’ Putnam Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, $66)
This winsome, single vineyard red is produced by James and Kerry MacPhail, who clearly know what they are doing and clearly have a vision of providing Sonoma Coast Pinot that’s lush, full, and ripe without sacrificing the region’s more delicate, signature tea-leaf and spice accoutrements. Simply put, few California producers walk the line between seductive and svelte Pinot quite as well as the MacPhails. The downside? Only five barrels were made. Look, just get on their allocation list already and thank me later, ok?
2012 Bodega Tapiz ‘Las Notas de Jean Claude’ (Mendoza, $100)
This Merlot-based icon red from Tapiz hails from the San Pablo Estate vineyard a whopping 4430 feet (!) above sea level, affording the grapes (as you might expect) some very cold nights after soaking in all of the ample Argentine sunshine all day long. The result: thick, chewy, sexy fruitiness (think currants, black raspberries, and pretty much every type of plum that your hungover brain can imagine), matched with excellent balance between sinewy structure and freshness. So fresh, in fact, that you’d be hard-pressed to imagine this juice is already over eight years old. Dried herbs, spices, and a healthy does of chocolate round everything out; the lengthy finish is almost just a bonus.