January 18, 2022

Bri's Best Bottles: January Edition

A new month awaits, which means a new batch of wines for me to share with you for my Best Bottles: January Edition. This month we’re returning to the IG Live format to present the video portion of this post. I’ll be there tonight at 6pm (Pacific), where in 30 minutes or less I share with you a grouping of wines I’m enjoying this month.  If you miss the IG Live, don’t fret, all the wine details are below and you can re-watch it on my IGTV channel.

Without further ado, I bring to you my best bottles for the month of January!

Ferrari Brut F1 Italy $29.99 (Trentodoc, Italy)

Ferrari is THE Italian sparkling wine house. Fun fact, Ferrari is the bubbly of choice for wedding toasts in Italy. It’s that classic and iconic of a brand. And more recently they kicked Champagne off the podium and is now the official toast and spray of Formula 1. This is a limited edition bottle that I believe they will produce annually for the Formula 1 race. In the bottle is their traditional method brut sparkler, made of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Ferrari sparkling wines are just so damn clean and are solid AF. Pretty much the most reliable sparkler out there IMHO.

Ferrari Brut F1 Italy

Paula Kornell Blanc de Noirs 2018 $50 (Napa Valley, CA)

Paula Kornell is one of the original wine industry pioneers in the Napa Valley, with her family’s historic “champagne” house. Yes, anyone used to be able to use the word “Champagne” which is not the case now, as it is a protected place name.  Hanns Kornell Champagne Cellars was among one of the first Méthode Champenoise producers in California, while Paula Kornell Sparkling Wine is her own brand. This wine is a vintage sparkling, meaning all the grapes (Pinot Noir only) come from a single vintage, 2018. This wine is bone dry at 4g/L of residual sugar. The wine spends close to two years on the lees, which adds a delicate yeastiness, complexity, and depth to the wine. A gorgeous female-made wine.

Paula Kornell Blanc de Noirs 2018

Qupé Chardonnay Y-Block 2019 $22 (Santa Barbara, CA)

Qupé means poppy in the language of the Chumach, the indigenous people of the Central Coast and Channel Islands. Poppy, as you may know, is the state flower of California. This Chardonnay is sourced primarily from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in the cool Santa Maria Valley of northern Santa Barbara County. A quick note on estate vineyards versus sourced fruit. One is not inherently better than the other. Yes, you can say that if grapes are grown on the same property as where the wine is made, there is a good chance that the vineyard and winemaking teams are working together to make the best wine possible. The came can be true with sourced grapes. For example with this wine, Bien Nacido has custom farmed these grapes to Qupe’s specifications. Collaborative long-term relationships can be made between growers and wineries, so this is not a “one is better than the other”.

Qupé Chardonnay Y-Block 2019

Louis Jadot Beaujolais $12 (Bourgogne, France)

BeauJo as the cool kids call it! Where are we? We are in southern Burgundy in France in the sub-region of Beaujolais. The grape here is Gamay. Louis Jadot was founded in 1859 and has been a Bourgogne staple since then. On the label you’ve got the Bacchus head, the Roman God of wine. This is a brand/label you will see regularly. They produce super value priced wines like this one and SUPER premium wines that are a fortune. This is a good ‘ol standard BeauJo. Not the cheapy BeauJo Nouveau that tastes like grape juice with alcohol, and not the higher quality BeauJo Village level. This wine serves up red fruit (strawberry, cherry, raspberry) and a healthy dose of pepper (not the stronger fresh cracked kind; the finer black pepper almost powder). And don’t forget notes of cinnamon, or red hots to be more specific.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais

The Vice The House Pinot Noir $29 (Napa Valley, CA)

What I love about the wine is the name – The House. This wine was crafted to be “the house” wine. A wine to be enjoyed at any time, on its own or with food. And that’s exactly what I got when I tried this wine. It’s so good, it’s almost too good. A wine to solve all your wine problems. A varietally correct Pinot that reminds me of why I love Pinot. Serves me crunchy red fruit with a touch of spice. A true crowd pleaser.

The Vice The House Pinot Noir

Saracina Winter's Edge Red Blend 2018 $30 (Mendocino, CA)

From everything I’ve heard, the 250-acre Saracina ranch sounds like a lovely place to visit. In addition to sustainably farmed wine, they also make olive oil and honey. They were founded by the Fetzer family in 2001. And it’s still family owned….just a different family ☺ with the Taub Family. This is a true red blend, comprised of 50% Grenache and 50% field blend (Grenache, Carignan, and French Colombard). A field blend is where grapes are planted together in the one vineyard, harvested together, and generally and co-fermented in the winery (co-fermented means they are literally fermented together). What I love about this wine is that it has a really good acid structure.  Acidity in wine is what makes you salivate and gives you a palate cleansing sensation. All these things contribute to the wine being deemed “food friendly” and would make this Old World style wine a great addition to your dinner table.

Saracina Winter's Edge Red Blend 2018

Clif Family The Climber Red Blend 2019 $42 (Napa Valley, CA)

If Clif with one “f” looks familiar, it’s because this is the same Clif Family who own the Clif Bars brand. The Climber is a Bordeaux style red wine blend made from grapes grown on the western side of the Oak Knoll AVA. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Verdot, 6% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc). As a wine person and someone who constantly strives to try the new, the exciting, and the different, admittedly I sometimes forget about good old Bordeaux blends. This is a fantastic, quality wine that I thoroughly enjoyed. Classic notes of black fruit (blk cherries), blueberries, and cedar closet. This wine does not shy away from its use of oak, though neutral (with 18 mos aging). And the dried herbs <chefs kiss>. It’s the bunches of herbs you buy with the intent of using them all, and they dry up on your kitchen counter. That’s what this wine smells like.

Clif Family The Climber Red Blend 2019

Bodegas CARO Amancaya Reserve 2018 $20.99 (Mendoza, Argentina)

“Amancaya” is the name of an elusive flower found at high altitudes in the Andes. Legend has it that if you are able to locate this flower and use it to propose to your loved one, they will say yes. This wine comes from Bodegas CARO, which is a joint partnership with Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in Bordeaux and the Catena family in Argentina. As an Argentine, I love my Malbec. As I say, in Argentina we drink so much Malbec, that it practically comes out of the faucet. If I had to describe it, I’d describe it as a Malbec “Plus”. So much Malbec out there is at the same quality level, and it’s all solidly good. This one is a step above with a deep core and darker aromas and flavors than your typical Malbec. This likely comes from the 30% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in.

Bodegas CARO Amancaya Reserve 2018

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer based out of Los Angeles.

Since March 2020, Brianne has educated and entertained over 5,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine tastings.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping others Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions.

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected, distinctive wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at brianne@briannecohen.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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