PHILADELPHIA - Brian Freedman, a Philadelphia-based wine and spirits expert who just released his first book, “Crushed,” which frames the saga of the wine industry, including the struggles the front-line winegrowers and spirits-makers are dealing with as they battle local impacts of the changing global environment, has released a list of his top wine picks to enjoy or gift to someone this holiday season.
Freedman, who is also a food and travel writer as well as a restaurant and beverage consultant, has released a top-10 list of wines available in PA Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, as well as a top-10 list of wines available around the country, for those who purchase wines in other states. A lifelong oenophile, the Philadelphia-based Freedman regularly contributes to Food & Wine, Forbes.com, Whisky Advocate, and SevenFifty Daily and has also written for Travel + Leisure, The Bourbon Review, and more. He also hosted wine and spirit pairing segments on the CNN Airport Network. Freedman has traveled extensively throughout the world and the United States to experience the food, drink, and culture of his work.
Included in Freedman’s top-10 wines from the PLCB, as well as his reasonings:
Les Cadrans de Lassegue St.-Emilion Grand Cru 2018 ($18) - Because great Bordeaux doesn't have to cost a fortune.
E. Guigal Tavel Rosé 2020 ($23) - Because a rich rosé will work wonders with hearty food, even in winter.
Sokol Blosser Redland Cuvee Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018 ($25) - Because top-quality Pinot Noir is a food-pairing wonder.
Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño Rias Baixas 2019 ($26) - A bright, complex white wine is perfect for an aperitif or with a meal.
Zuccardi Concreto Malbec Paraje Altamira 2019 ($36) - Malbec will frame your holiday roast perfectly.
Shiloh Petite Sirah 2017 ($38) - Israeli wine is better than ever.
Champagne Bollinger Brut NV in a half-bottle ($40) - You don't always want to commit to an entire bottle.
Kutch Chardonnay Santa Crus Mountains 2017 ($42) - Because nicely aged Chardonnay from one of California's most buzzed-about producers is always a good thing.
Ferrari Perle Bianco Brut TrentoDOC ($45) - Because great bubbly is also made in Italy.
Champagne Rare Brut 2008 ($280) - Because sometimes, you need to treat yourself.
Here Are Freedman’s Top 10 Holiday Wines That Are Available Outside Of Pa:
Feudo Montoni Nerello Mascalese Rosé di Adele 2021 ($25) - Rosé is not just for summertime! This gem, one of Sicily's most beloved producers, is crafted from the Nerello Mascalese grape variety, which has gained real buzz recently for the stunning wines it produces around Mt. Etna. This one is full of berries and spice with a subtle herbal edge.
Zuccardi Concreto Malbec Paraje Altamira 2019 ($35) -This red showcases the remarkable value of top-quality Malbec. Zuccardi crafts a wide range of wines, but this one is a standout, structured enough to stand up to rich meat dishes yet generous enough to work just as well on its own before the holiday-dinner company begins to arrive.
Tulip "Espero" Red Wine 2018 ($38) - Tulip is located in Kfar Tikvah, which means "Village of Hope" in Hebrew. It was founded for people with developmental disabilities, and many residents work with the winery, gaining meaningful employment when they likely would have been denied it elsewhere. Their wines embody the spirit of the holidays, of giving back, and of inclusiveness. Not only is this Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blend excellent on its own, but its black cherries, chocolate ganache, and tobacco make it delicious with spice-rubbed meats as well.
Spicewood Vineyards Estate Tempranillo 2016 ($40) - Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind for up-and-coming American wine, but one sip of this berry- and spice-flecked charmer will convince you otherwise.
Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2021 ($40) - Beaujolais may be best known for its cheap-and-cheerful Nouveau. Still, the best of the region comes from any of 10 different crus, essentially villages that are home to Gamay grapes that can be produced into age-worthy and wonderfully complex wines. This is a great example, with subtle floral notes lifting mixed berry and cherry flavors.
Gerard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc 2020 ($40) - This is one of those white wines that's ripe and textural enough to appeal to fans of richer styles yet also full of enough energy to win over devotees of lighter whites. Bertrand has become one of the most important producers of environmentally responsible wines in Southern France over the years, and his reds, whites, and rosés are terrific.
Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018 ($45) - Jamie Kutch is one of California's most exciting producers of restrained, expressive Pinot Noir. Many of his top bottlings come from single vineyards, yet the Sonoma Coast one is, year after year, an unforgettable evocation of the vintage.
Digby Fine English Brut ($50) - Climate change is having some positive impacts on the sparkling wine industry of England--warmer temperatures are helping to ripen grapes more reliably--and Digby has emerged as one of the leading producers. This Brut NV is bright and mouthwatering, with autumn fruit and hints of nuts lingering through the finish.
Chateau Lassegue 2018 ($60) - Great Bordeaux doesn't have to cost a fortune, as this Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé deliciously shows. It's already drinking brilliantly, with loads of cassis and chocolate, but it will also reward patience in the cellar.
Sandeman 20-Year-Old Tawny Port ($60) - After a big holiday meal, you often need a glass of Port. This Tawny is full of nutty, caramel-y, and dried fruit notes that make it great on its own or alongside everything from pumpkin pie and cheesecake to chocolates.
Learn more about Brian Freedman and his book Crushed at http://briandfreedman.com.