Maybe we were all picked last for dodgeball in gym class as kids, but we’re suckers for wines that have a bad reputation. We just want to rescue them from obscurity and show everyone how fantastic they can be!
Hawley Late Harvest Zin – This was a real discovery for us. Often, dry red Zinfandel can be a little heavy and jammy. This late-harvest version, harvested at 32 brix, too high to really be fermented into dry table wine, avoids many of the pitfalls of regular red Zinfandel. Mouthwatering acidity balances the sweetness, and it’s surprisingly light on the palate for a dessert wine made from Zinfandel. Perfect for a ‘little something’ after dinner, or with any dessert involving berries or chocolate.
Dow’s 2011 – Port can be an intimidating category, with so much history, a high price point, and all the different types (LBV? Tawny?). Well, there’s no need to break out the Oxford Companion here. 2011 is considered to be an absolute monster of a Port vintage, with the structure to age, but ripe, luscious tannins that make the wines enjoyable today, too. The only thing you need to decide is whether you want it in half or full bottles. A few dark chocolates on a fancy platter, and dessert for your next dinner party is all set.
Perucchi Vermouth Gran Reserva Red – We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t Vermouth that stuff you try to avoid in martinis? The stuff moldering in the rail at your local bar? We thought so, too, until we tried some of the better Vermouths out there, like this handmade red Vermouth from Italian producer Perucchi. Its aromas are so complex, you’ll just want to dive into the glass. It elevates a Manhattan for sure, but its spicy aromas are perfect for this cooler time of year, and can be enjoyed solo or with a twist of orange peel and a splash of club soda or sparkling mineral water.