Staff Picks: What We’re Drinking In 2014

New year? New resolutions. Ours is to drink better, and smarter. Our buyers are thoughtful, creative, and forward-thinking, and they’ve scoured the market to make 2014 an even more exciting time for wine and spirits at Astor. We asked our staff of experts about what moves them and this is what they’ve weighed in on for the coming year:

2008 Barbaresco, “Ovello,” Gigi Bianco – Lorena Ascencios (Head Wine Buyer)
I’m excited about Barbaresco. It’s more elegant than Barolo, full-bodied, and very drinkable today. What I love about this wine is that it drinks like a Burgundy, but it’s Nebbiolo. It has the finesse, the structure, and is much more approachable in its youth than Barolo.

Smooth Ambler 10-Year Single Barrel – Stephen Winch (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
I am so excited about the forthcoming release of our exclusive single barrel bourbon from Smooth Ambler. It’s a 10-year single barrel and cask strength; who wouldn’t be?

César Florido, Oloroso “Cruz del Mar” Sherry and Casa Mariol Vermut – Nima Ansari (Spirits Buyer)
My picks for the year are Sherry and vermouth for their depth, versatility in cocktails, ability to be consumed straight, and compatibility with food. Also, they are both great choices for both wine and spirit lovers alike.

Domaine Tempier – Patrick Larson (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
I’m excited about drinking Mourvèdre, especially any new domestic bottlings, or older vintage Bandol.  Domaine Ttempier, a top producer in the region, makes stellar, age-worthy Mourvèdre, possibly the best in the world for the variety.

2011 Pinon Vouvray Tradition, “Trois Argiles” – Hannah Selinger (Copy Editor).
I always prefer a little residual sugar on my white wines, especially in combination with salty, fatty foods, which is what I gravitate toward in the winter. When I’m tiring of Riesling, I’ll head for a floral, aromatic Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, and this wine is no exception. The wooly, honeyed qualities of this wine, as well as the stone fruits that project from the nose and palate and its incredible acid, make it perfect with anything from your basic charcuterie platters to complex and dynamic multi-course Asian meals.

2011 FX Pichler Grüner Veltliner, “Loibnerberg,” Smaragd – Nora Ganley-Roper (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
A wine that I’m excited to try this year is FX Pichler’s Grüner Veltliner “Loibnerberg” Smaragd. There is no name more synonymous with Austrian wine than FX Pichler, so, as a Grüner lover, it’s a must on my list.

Broadbent Terrantez Old Reserve – Jeremy Shanker (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
With only a couple of hectares left on the island of Madiera, the Terrantez grape variety is soon to be a thing of the past. This wine likely dates to the 20s-40s and was found in an old farmhouse by accident. It might be the best Terrantez you can find without spending over $500.

Nebbiolo “Perbacco”, Vietti – 2008 – Robert Grgurev (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
This year I’m really looking forward to digging into the classic cool weather 2008 vintage of Piedmont’s Nebbiolo wines. I think I’ll start with a wine that’s always a great value, the 2008 Vietti “Perbacco”, and work my way from there.

2011 Catherine & Claude Maréchal Pommard, “La Chaniere” – Peter Seidman (Wine & Spirits Consultant)

An item that I look forward to tasting in the new year is the Pommard “La Chaniere” from Catherine & Claude Maréchal. I have a hunch that this best-buy from one of the best regions of Burgundy will delight. I hope to confirm that hunch.

2001 Brunello di Montalcino, “Canalicchio di Sopra” – Duncan McRoberts (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
I’ve always thought that traditionally produced Tuscan wines deserved a lot more attention, and an aged bottle like this from a superb vintage should be a very special treat, indeed.

2008 Le MicMacvin, “Les Chais du Vieux Bourg” – Erik Guzinski (Wine & Spirits Consultant)
I’ll jump at the first chance to try the 2008 Le MicMacvin, “Les Chais du Vieux Bourg.” New discoveries and underappreciated gems are my passion in the wine and spirits world, and Jura is full of them.