Happy New Year!  So, I am smack-dab in the middle of winter 2010 and as the sun’s direct ray shifts from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Equator, the frozen tundra that occupies my thoughts drift…off to milder temperatures.  Mauritius comes to mind; green-tinted Oliver Peoples, Vilebrequins and Louis Vuitton flip-flops.  Just as I slip away in to the recesses of my mind, warm thoughts on a sun-drenched beach, a cold chill prevails and penetrates my cashmere lined bones.  As I open my eyes and stare longingly at my Bean hunting boots, I realize that I am cold and stuck at work.  I wonder how I can warm up my spirit and immediately begin thinking about what is important in my life:  Wine.  Not just any wine, but the big, fat, juicy red variety.  The kind that is certain to add a glow to my face and a smile on my lips.   This said, here are my choices of the perfect winter wines; best paired with a well-stoked fires, a good book and the pet dog at your feet.

2008 The Velvet Devil Merlot $12. If the devil is for the bugger of a time its taken for folks to drink merlot post-“Sideways”, then the velvet is for the perfection personified in the smooth character of this wine.  Plum jam, black cherry and vanilla dominate the palate and soothe the soul.

2007 Conn Valley Vineyard’s Prologue $25. This is the epitome of the “are you kidding?” wine.  I’ve been drinking it, with pleasure, since the 2005 vintage and it has always been drinking WAY out of it’s class.  Consider it the guy that showed up in 3.1 Phillip Lim last year and is rocking Lanvin this year….always a step ahead.  Currant, blackberry, chocolate and coffee.  Light oak.  Ready to pop-the-cork and go!

2007 Luca Malbec $32. Gazing at the color of this wine, I thought to myself that it would be perfect for my Mont Blanc if ever I ran out of ink, mid thought.  Spicy red fruits, black cherry, rose petals, and cocoa powder with a finish that will make the Energizer bunny blush.

2005 Torbreck “The Struie” Shiraz $50. Blueberries, white pepper, mint and eucalyptus; pencil box, wild game and blackberry.  The list really goes on and on as it evolves in the glass.  All of a sudden I am inspired to put another log on the fire, reload Gould performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations and drift back to the teak lounge chair, somewhere on the Indian Ocean.

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Darin Link is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier.  He has worked at the Mobile Four-Star restaurant, Tony’s.   He also served as the sommelier in the over-the-top restaurant, Busch’s Grove, where he received Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence in just two years.  He currently is employed as the wine buyer for Straub’s Market in Saint Louis.

(read Darin’s last post: Lovely Bubbly, A Reason To Celebrate.)

image: latemag.com

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