Maryann and I had a wonderful first Christmas in Cannon Beach. Our daughter, Kayla, came for a week with her chocolate labs, Tom and Huck. My girls, and mother-in-law, Marlene, did a lot of cooking, baking, wrapping and laughing. As a result, I had to sample alot of goodies in between football games and my Wine Shack duties.
I also managed to read a number of “Best of 2012” wine lists and find them fascinating. I like to compare the author’s rankings with what we’ve seen at The Wine Shack. Because I enjoy them so much, I decided to write a “Best of” list and give you a chance to compare my picks with your experiences over the past year. Hopefully, as you go through the list, you’ll discover a wine or two that you need to enjoy.
#1- (Wine Shack Wine of the Year) Puffin, Pinot Noir, OR ($24) You may recall that the 2008 vintage of Puffin Pinot Noir was exceptional and complex. We released the 2009 vintage in August 2012 and it was also a hit. So much so that it flew off the shelves and became our number one selling wine! The 2009 Puffin Pinot Noir starts with spice and fruit, and then finishes with notes of black cherry and tobacco. At only $24 for a single vineyard, estate-grown pinot noir, this wine is an exceptional value. In an effort to ensure full disclosure, Maryann and I own Puffin Brand Wines and will continue to strive for excellence in future vintages. But, this Pinot Noir is delicious!
#2-Borsao, Grenache, Spain ($10) This was Wine Enthusiast’s “#1 Best Value” wine and it’s clear why it won such a lofty designation. It is big and spicy, yet has fruit flavors that make it easy to pair with a variety of foods. You can find a cheaper Grenache, but you won’t find a better one at this price.
#3-Noval Black, Port, Portugal ($25) For a non-Port lover, I love this Port! A ruby Port, Noval Black is beautiful, full of dark cherry flavors, and has a long smooth finish. Pair this Port with chocolate and you have pure decadence. This wine received 92 points from Wine & Spirits magazine, but deserved to be scored even higher. Plus, at only $25 for a full sized bottle, it’s about half the price of other well known Ports. It has been really fun pouring it in the tasting room and watching the smiles develop on our customer’s faces!
#4-Luccio, Moscato d’Asti, Italy ($15) This semi-sparkler is also a big hit in the tasting room. It’s sweet, with flavors of honey and orange zest, but also light enough that it works nicely by itself or with desert. This was one of our best summer sellers (yes, I know it’s winter).
#5-Earthquake, Zinfandel, CA ($27) Number five on the list surprised many people in the tasting room this year. Even those who proudly profess that they don’t drink zinfandel. Produced by Michael David, from Lodi, CA, this Zinfandel pleases with fruit and a light smokiness. If you are grilling, you should really think about opening a bottle of Earthquake Zinfandel.
The average price of The Top 2012 wines is only $20, which puts them squarely in the price range of almost everyone. Their low price is one of the reasons these wines are so popular. The other reason is that they are delicious!
So, there you have it…..The Wine Shack’s Top 5 Wines of the 2012. It’s not the most famous or most prestigious wine list you’ll read, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better wines at this price.