Special Occasion Wines Worth The Price


Vitorrio Fiori and his family have been producing this very special wine at Poggio Scallette since 1992. Made from 80 year old vines, in the heart of Chianti Classico, Il Carbonaione shows what Sangiovese can be when the place, and the methods, are outstanding. The excellence of the wine is also due to the altitude of the vineyard, 450 meters, and the composition of the soil, both carefully selected by oenologist/farmer Vitorrio Fiori. With so many factors in its favor, it’s no wonder that Il Carbonaione is outstanding. The nose has wonderful aromatic notes of sweet, dried flowers, draped over firm, ripe blackberry fruit, and a dark, clay/mineral core that draws you in. The blackberry and black cherry fruit is ripe, but structured. On the palate there’s a somewhat silky texture on the attack, followed by satisfying firm edges. The black fruit is dense and finessed at the same time, with perfumed blackberry, a suggestion of vanilla, and subtle dried violets. Underneath there’s a savory element with sweet, dried herbs, fresh acidity, and a satisfying texture. The finish is firm and long, with more savory herbs, and ripe tannins that blend in with the rest of the character to support, but not bite.  100% Sangiovese. 13.5 ABV.
Bob Fyke, Brunello Bob
First of all, after seeing the work, care, passion and knowledge that goes into growing grapes and making small production wines, $30 to the consumer is so very reasonable. The wine is a great value because it is from a lesser known region of the Languedoc (as compared to Bordeaux or Rhone Valley). The wine has the rare combination of power, hedonistic pleasure, layers of beautiful flavors, balance and elegance. The wine is made from equal parts of Syrah and Grenache, vinified in both concrete and oak barrels for 12 months. 
Phil Kampe, The Wine Hub
I am a firm believer that you do not necessarily need a "special" occasion to open a "special" bottle of wine. Sure, it makes sense to crack open an expensive wine on birthdays, anniversaries, or the New Year's Eve. In my book, however, more mundane events occasionally need "special" treatment as well, so every so often I try to open a nice bottle of wine on those days "just because." Take Monday, Thursday, or even Wednesday as perfect reasons to pop open a "special" wine. For me, every time I open a bottle of Gosset Grand Rosé my wife always says: "Ooh Gosset, what's the occasion?" I try and come up with something witty as a retort, but I usually just shrug my shoulders and pour the wine (she never complains). The Gosset Rosé (along with the equally fabulous Grand Réserve) is essentially the second tier of Non-Vintage Brut, and easily my favorite champagne (Gosset also produces the slightly less-expensive Brut Excellence, which is nice, but the Grand Rosé is worth the extra cost, in my opinion). The Grand Rosé has wonderful red berry fruit (think cherry and strawberry) with incredible depth and structure, with hints of baked bread and almonds leading to a finish that seems to last for days. Without hesitation, I opt for the Grand Rosé (92-94 Points) when I need something "special" to brighten up a Monday. Or even a Wednesday.
Jeff Kralik, The Drunken Cyclist
If every bottle paints a picture, this canvas is brushed with apricot and mauve, russet and sage. It is a Texas Hill Country sunset, relieving the vines. It is the hickory soil, baked and cracking at Granite Hill. It is the fruit on the vine, warm and waiting. It is leather boots, dusty and worn. The 2013 William Chris Enchanté is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and a bit of Petit Verdot. It is aged 12 months in both new and neutral French and American Oak. Each year the blend varies slightly but it always maintains the rustic fruit, baking spices, sage, minerality and acid. It is a wine that represents the best of Texas, year after year. Paired with grilled lamb chops and acorn squash, it shines. $50
Alissa Leenher, SAHMmelier
This time of year I typically will let go of some of my Italian bottles I've been keeping tucked away. Recently I attended an online tasting discussing the sagrantino wines of Montefalco in the region of Umbria with the winemakers themselves. Of course it makes sense to recommend the producer that revived sagrantino and takes pride in producing some of the best of the region. The 2009 Arnaldo-Caprai Collepiano Montefalco Sagrantino, that retails about $60, is well worth the splurge providing you with a full bodied, earthy wine with a little spice and herbal notes with chewy tannins. Make sure to give this wine the decanting it needs then sit back and relax and enjoy the wonderful characteristics that sagrantino provides.
Jennifer Martin, Vino Travels Italy
Everyday is a special occasion that calls for wine on the table.  For extra special occasions, one of my favorite serious vinous splurges is Pinot Noir from Marcassin.  French for ‘young wild boar,’ Marcassin was started by acclaimed California-based winemaker Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer.  Situated about three miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Sonoma Coast area, the nearly 20-acre Marcassin estate vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  While I would love to pull the cork on Marcassin bottles more often, this tightly-allocated, pricey (~$300) Pinot is reserved for the most special of occasions.  To celebrate a professional accomplishment, my wife and I recently splurged on a bottle of 2005 Marcassin Vineyard Pinot.  A beautiful, elegant, and vibrant wine offering aromas of raspberry, dark cherry, earth and mushroom and smoke.  Silky in the mouth with layers of red and blue fruits, violets, herbs and mineral undertones lead to a lengthy fresh raspberry finish.  A wine worthy of a long dinner with great friends. The 2005 is still young, deserving of a few more years in bottle.  
Frank Morgan, Drink What YOU Like
The holidays are a time for fun, family, frolicking and, naturally, champagne.  A few years ago, I asked a friend and Sommelier what his favorite grower’s champagne was.  Pierre Peters Blanc de Blanc Champagne ($56) was his immediate reaction.  I absolutely love this wine as evidenced by the multiple blog posts raving about it on Dallas Wine Chick.  In fact, it is one of my favorite special occasion wines, but makes any occasion special.  From the moment that I open it, I’m enthralled with the tiny bubbles and gorgeous effervescence.  As I take my first sip, I love the power and minerality combined with the elegance of this champagne. It has notes of apple, pear, almond, apricot, floral notes, fresh bread, lemon zest and orange with a finish that lasts forever.  It is an expression of its place and has a gorgeous balance.
Melanie Ofenloch, Dallas Wine Chick 

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