By Daniel Meeks
WIne X Online Edition
So you’re hosting New Year’s Eve, and you’re flush with sparkling, but zinfandel guzzling Uncle Joe thinks bubbles belong in beer and wouldn’t be caught dead holding a flute of any manifestation. Or the fad-diet faction from spin class collectively insists carbonation decreases bone-density. Or, or, maybe. .. you’re the devout imbiber of crimson looking to turn your favorite hook-up buddy into something more, and you don’t want to go in for that New Year’s kiss with a maw like an ink pot coated in berber. Whatever your O.C.D., paranoid-host fantasy scenario, these fresh reds are delicious, pair well with (almost) everything, and will definitely take the edge off bringing in the New Year.
CRU BEAUJOLAIS (100% gamay, Burgundy, France)
The “influencer” of fresh reds, and a darling of the sommelier community due to its versatility with food. Indeed, the grapes listed below owe Cru Beaujolais at least partial credit for their resurgence. (A “Cru” is a village recognized for higher quality fruit.) The classic style has a brambly characteristic, like eating fresh berries off the stem. Crus Beaujolais is labeled by village; Morgon and Fleurie are good places to start, but exploration into other Cru’s won’t leave you disappointed. Check out Jon Bonné’s article, “The Insider’s Guide to Beaujolais” on punchdrink.com for a deeper look.
TROLLINGER (a.k.a. schiava/vernatsch)
The shyest of the bunch in terms of accessibility, trollinger is slightly sweet, infused with woodland berries, and often laced with a hint of granite or smoke. It’s partial to the sunny, south facing slopes Württemberg in southwestern Germany. If you’re not into perceivable sugar in your wine, the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Northern Italy produces a dryer version known interchangeably as schiava or vernatsch. The Italian version displays similar tasting notes to those above, but relative absence of sugar turns up the volume on the acidity.
Racy, floral, savory, and herbaceous. Like syrah on a Ducati. Pelaverga is native to the Verduna region of Piedmont in northwestern Italy. Growing popularity of the varietal has sparkedavivace(slightlyeffervescent)stylesimilartoLambrusco;soyoucanlurethe Champagne guzzlers into your red-game. Castello di Verduno and G.B. Burlotto are top producers relatively easy to find in the marketplace.
Poulsard is a low-pigmented grape found mostly in the Arbois region of northern Jura on forested, alpine slopes ascending from northern Burgundy to Switzerland. In complete disregard for convenience of pronunciation, the commune of Pupillin refers to the grape as Ploussard. The palest in this lineup, Poulsard (ploussard) is so light, it often blurs the line between red and rosé. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it lacks complexity. In addition to tart fruit (cranberries and currants), common tasting notes attribute spice characteristics, flowers, herbs, and a saline quality that ties it all together. Furthermore, poulsard has pronounced acidity and a reductive nature that, in the right hands, can allow it to age up to 30 years or more.