As we stay cooped up during the pandemic, we are increasingly turning to drinks. Online alcohol sales increased 387 percent for the week ending April 11, according to Nielsen.
We can’t dispute that a glass of great wine delivers a dose of comfort, but instead of reaching for your usual red, use this time to discover something new. To help you find a quarantine quaff, we consulted wine experts spanning from Aspen to Tokyo to get their recommendations. They shared a complex pour from Portugal, a lush pinot noir from Oregon and much more.
Wine pick: La Chapelle Gordonne Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France
Why you should drink it: “Rosé truly represents summer in a glass. It’s light, crisp and pairs well with all types of fresh seasonal dishes. As a nod to our French roots, we recommend the La Chapelle Gordonne from Provence. It’s fresh, dry, elegant and well-balanced with just enough fruit rounded with acidity. It’s an ideal choice to enjoy with lunch or to sip while taking in the sunset at the end of the day.”
Wine pick: Schramsberg Brut Rosé, Napa Valley
Why you should drink it: “One of our favorite sparklers made close to home is the Schramsberg Brut Rosé. A composition primarily of North Coast pinot noir, with a bit of chardonnay, it makes for a refreshing aperitif. It’s bright, flavorful and versatile, so it also pairs easily with a host of dishes, and its lovely pale salmon hue is beautiful in the glass. This is a great choice for a special occasion or whenever the moment calls for celebrating the everyday.”
HEINZ BECK, CHEF, LA PERGOLA AT ROME CAVALIERI, A WALDORF ASTORIA HOTEL
Wine pick: Omina Viognier Linea Ars Magna, Lazio, Italy
Why you should drink it: “This white wine is easy on the palate with crisp notes evocative of the Roman countryside and pairs well with simple home-cooked meals, whether it’s fish, white meat or vegetables. For example, I pair it with my cacio e pepe with lime-marinated shrimp. The delicate, slightly acidic white wine contrasts nicely with the cheese in the cacio e pepe, whereas the lime marinade cleans and opens the palate allowing you to appreciate the wine’s fresh bouquet.”
SIVANANDAN VEERIA, BEVERAGE MANAGER, LA BRASSERIE AT THE FULLERTON BAY HOTEL SINGAPORE
Wine pick: Chêne Bleu Le Rosé
Why you should drink it: “A new favorite of mine is Chêne Bleu, a boutique estate from Southern Rhone in France. They are located in a monastery that is about 500 years old and renovated in the 1990s. The wines from its vineyards are certified organic with the Ecocert label and made using natural treatments and biodynamic principles.
“On top of being a world-class winery producing top Châteauneuf-du-Pape-like reds, Chêne Bleu produces an amazing rosé. It is a blend of typical Southern France grapes, grenache, syrah and mourvèdre with a little touch of cinsault and rolle for purity and freshness.
“The nose is rich and intense with beautiful notes of raspberry and red currant mixed with touches of grapefruit and lime. The palate is superbly balanced and fresh, both rich and elegant. The long citrus notes bring a very pleasant and unusual finish for a rosé.”
PATRICE FRANK, HEAD SOMMELIER, HÔTEL DE PARIS MONTE-CARLO
Wine pick: Château de Rouillac 2018
Why you should drink it: “With sunny days arriving on the French Riviera, I have a lot of pleasure during this period of confinement in tasting pretty white wines. I am thinking in particular of a domaine [or vineyard] located on the Pessac-Léognan appellation — Bordeaux area — that we know more for its great red wines. This is the Château de Rouillac 2018, made from the sauvignon grape variety and which during its aging passes for 30 percent in barrels.
“The nose is very fine with nice notes of citrus and white flowers. There are jasmine and orange blossom. The entire nose is supported by notes of vanilla from the aging period. The palate is sweet, rich and very well balanced. The finish ends on a nice freshness.”
JASON SMITH, MASTER SOMMELIER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BEVERAGE, MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL
Wine pick: Morgadío Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017
Why you should drink it: “This wine from the northwestern coast is made from 100 percent albarino, the most delicious white grape in Spain. It is bright and crisp, perfect for a patio sipper on a sunny day or to pair with a flavorful seafood dish, especially paella.”
This is also available on wine list at Picasso in Las Vegas.
Wine pick: Sant Armettu Corse-Sartène Burghese 2018
Why you should drink it: “At this time, when we are confined to our homes, I recommend a wine that evokes a sense of wanderlust. Specifically, I would recommend this wine as it inspires the spirit of summer with a trip to Corsica, in the Mediterranean. A Burghese wine offers a very original nose, with notes of peach and citrus bark and leaves an impressive taste on the tongue.”
Wine pick: Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais 2018
Why you should drink it: “In a time like this, you don’t want to spend an excess on wine, but you’d still like to hedge your bets and invest in an extremely versatile wine. I love the wines from Lapierre because of how bright, fresh, silky and spicy the wines can be. It’s extremely aromatic, but with a zip and energy to enhance a wide variety of dishes, from something as simple as a rotisserie chicken to more adventurous dishes like Korean bo ssäm. I’m a huge fan, and we’ve actually been pouring this wine by the glass in our restaurants.”
SATORU MORI, EXECUTIVE SOMMELIER, COLLAGE AT CONRAD TOKYO
Wine pick: Louis Roederer Brut Nature Blanc Philippe Starck 2012
Why you should drink it: “Louis Roederer was selected as the World’s Most Admired Champagne Brand in 2020 by England’s specialty magazine Drinks International over the famous maisons. I choose this Champagne, especially the Brut Nature, as it is called as the ‘most modern,’ which is perfect to drink while staying at home. It not only has a stylish Philippe Starck label, but also its pure and elegant flavor is versatile to any dish.”
EXPERTS AT IMPERIAL COURT AT MGM MACAU
Wine pick: 2015 Niepoort Tiara, Douro Valley
Why you should drink it: “With summer approaching, nothing beats this elegant and vibrant white wine from the premier region of Portugal, the Douro Valley. Made by the legendary Dirk Niepoort — hands down one of the greatest winemakers of Portugal — with various high-altitude-planted indigenous grapes, this wine exudes incredible complexity and great depth. After a long and cool fermentation in barrels, it gives delicate layers of aromatics, minerality, floral and fruit forwardness when young, always well balanced with a firm structure.
“Also, one would be surprised at the age-ability of this wine. Some vintages go well beyond 10 or 15 years of age and taste extremely good with generous flavors that take time to reveal itself in the bottle.”
Wine pick: Cap Royal de Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Bordeaux Supérieur 2016
Why you should drink it: “From the famous Chateau Pichon Baron Longueville Cap Royal is a Bordeaux Supérieur medium-bodied red wine. With an intense ruby color and delightful red fruit aroma surrounded by light spices, it is a vibrant and energetic wine. I recommend it to enjoy during this confinement time because of its easy drinkability. It is my comfort wine that I can pair easily with many kinds of dishes.”
Wine pick: Emmolo Merlot, Napa Valley 2017
Why you should drink it: “Emmolo Napa Valley Merlot is a great option with bold, luscious flavors that will stimulate your senses during your alone time at home. This merlot has structure to it, with rich, lush dark berry flavors matched with a silky-smooth texture. A lavish steak or roast beef dish is not required to enjoy a bottle or glass or Emmolo Merlot. Even a simple charcuterie board will make for a perfect pairing.”
Wine pick: Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018
Why you should drink it: “The 2018 Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir is a delicious option to enjoy just on its own, perfect if you’re looking to enjoy a glass at any time of the day. This affordable pinot noir offers an array of blueberry, dark cherry and plum flavors infused with savory notes of graphite and fragrant wood. These luscious aromas will linger with the addition of spicy and cassis aromas for a tasty, long-lasting finish.”
NICK BURNS, SOMMELIER, MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFF IN BLUFFTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Wine pick: Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
Why you should drink it: “A very well-structured wine with lots of red fruit and tobacco coming through strong, as well as anise and cardamom. These wines drink well young, but really thrive after a few years in the bottle. For more refined wines, try their single-vineyard selections, Poggio alle Mura and Poggio all’Oro.”
Wine pick: Lewis Cellars, Chardonnay, Napa Valley
Why you should drink it: “Founded by ex-IndyCar driver Randy Lewis, this is a big and bold wine that still shows finesse. Creamy and opulent with notes of pear, lemon zest, crème brûlée and oak. This is a quintessential wine for any lover of California chardonnay.”