By James Monaci
At my family table for the Holidays, as a child, I always remembered conversation swirled pass me as I waited somewhat patiently for the Christmas celebration of food and wine. To this day the tradition lives on. I patiently wait for the news of the menu, the starters to enjoy with conversation, the main course, in which my yearly favorite will always be the turkey and stuffing, and the dessert. And then there is the wine, yes the wine! As far back as I can remember, in the old neighborhood, my father (Vince Monaci) and our close family friends next door (particularly that of Thomas Terranova) always shared a holiday toast of scotch, whiskey or of a brandy (which on several occasions I part-take) to bring in the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner. I have too continued this tradition of sharing a toast to the Holiday with friends and family, and I wish this upon the readers to either start or continue your Holiday toasting.
At my table for this Holiday season, I celebrate a “Tierzo” of wine from DeLille Cellars. DeLille Cellars is a small winery in Woodinville, Washington, notably making some of the very best handcrafted, old world Bordeaux and Rhone-style Syrah wines. DeLille Cellars is a beautiful scene of ten acres of land overlooking the valley floor of Woodinville. The Winery and Cellar is constructed as a traditional structure featuring the wine-making methods of some of the finest Bordeaux Chateaux in France, utilizing open face fermentation and below ground barrel cellaring. DeLille Cellars sources its Bordeaux and Rhone-style grapes from the Red Mountain AVA, Columbia Valley, the Yakima Valley AVA, a Yakima Valley Single Vineyard, and DeLille Cellars Estate-owned vineyard. The winery was co-founded in 1992 by Greg Lill, Jay Soloff, Chris Upchurch and Charles Lill (and now his daughter Pat Lill Jorgenson)
To start the Holiday celebration, start with the DeLille Cellars 2006 D2 from Columbia Valley. A perfect wine to have the conversation swirl right by you! The D2 is a blend of 52.5% Merlot, 38.55 Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. There is a complexity on the nose that is echoed on the palate, that of ripe black plums, red currants, with a hint of cocoa. The palate carries these notes, and further echoes more fruit of dark black cherries, pencil shavings, and more mocha and vanilla notes.
Now, while anticipating and planning out the next hour prior to the Holiday Dinner, plan your time frame wisely, and allow your D2 to last till the very moments to seating down for the main Holiday Course Dinner… the Grandeur Turkey and Stuffing Dinner. I recommend enjoying both the 2007 Chaleur Estate Blanc through the first half of the dining ritual and then all the while enjoying the 2005 Chaleur Estate, continued throughout the duration of the dinner, till the end. And note… hopefully there is more D2 for later in the eveining.
The DeLille Cellars 2007 Chaleur Estate Blanc from Columbia Valley is 68% Sauvignon Blanc and blended with 32% Semillon, all from Red Mountain, Yakima Valley AVA and Columbia Valley. The Chaleur Estate Blanc is a beautiful color of soft golden straw expressing a beautiful nose of almond cream, pineapples, grass, and grapefruit and continuing these notes on the palate. From the Semillon, herb notes are apparant with pear citrus and soft pineapple-grapefruit. A delicious white wine to be enjoyed now and in the up coming age years with further aging and complexities.
The DeLille Cellars 2005 Chaleur Estate Rouge from the Yakima Valley~Red Mountain AVA is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The following vineyard grapes make up the 2005 Chaleur; Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Grand Ciel, Boushey, all within the Yakima Valley and 90% Red Mountain AVA. The Chaleur presents an back-porch quality, expressing a “hot-house flower” nose of blueberries, currants, cassis, and roses. With the nose sharing the palate, a fulfilling appeitite of black currants, black cherries, intertwined with soft blueberries, tar, lush spices of mocha and saigon cinnamon, with layers of more cassis, tar, and roses, while all showing a beautiful structure of a long luscious finish.
For the Holiday Dish, I recommend a main course of fresh turkey prepared in a Plout-Citrus Glaze with a fennel, carmelized onion, pecan, celery and focaccia bread stuffing. Starters, Pureed Winter Vegetable of Banana Squash Soup and Finale Dessert of Vanilla-Plout-Citrus Flan (save some D2 for this!).
And for this Holiday, Get Gifted, Be A Great Gift Giver, Be Merry, Give Exuberantly and Enjoy the Sweet Glow of Gratitude! Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!
For Gift Giving… find DeLille Cellars 2007 Chaleur Estate Blanc, DeLille Cellars 2006 D2, and DeLille Cellars 2005 Chaleur Estate Rouge at select Enotria~Land of Wine, AJ’s Purveyors of Fine Foods, Sportsman Fine Wines, and Gourmet Restaurants/Resorts throughout Arizona. Just ask for it!
James V. Monaci, the Whimsical Sommelier, is General Manager for Picazzo’s Gourmet Pizza and Salads and Wine Consultant for Monaci Enoteca. Catch him cooking at Seasoned Kitchen in Flagstaff, or contact him by phone at 928.274.2228 or via e-mail at email@example.com