It’s the holiday season and the perfect time to stock up on wines for guests and parties. Because we spend a lot of time entertaining and attending parties during the holiday season I am constantly on the lookout for good wine values. Thankfully I received four media sample bottles from Mirassou that are ideal value wines for this time of year.
The Mirassou family has been producing wine in the hills of California since 1854; thus making them the oldest continuous winemaking family in America. In 1854 Pierre Pellier and his wife Henrietta set sail for America from France, heading to California, with his prized grape cuttings. Pierre and Henrietta’s daughter Henrietta married a neighboring winemaker, Pierre Mirassou, and their vineyards thrived. Throughout Prohibition Pierre Mirassou kept the family vineyards cultivated; therefore, upon repeal the family winemaking business was revived. Edmund Mirassou, a fourth generation wine maker, sought areas to expand their vineyards in California and in 1961was the first to plant vines in Monterey County. Through studying innovation, fifth generation wine makers Daniel, Jim and Peter Mirassou introduced revolutionary winemaking advances, such as utilizing mechanical grape harvesting in order to field crush the grapes resulting in the prevention of spoilage. Today, David Mirassou and his brother-in-law Steve head the family winery, traveling and sharing their family’s storied winemaking history and their eight uniquely expressive wines.
Mirassou Pinot Grigio 2013: The wine poured a soft gold into the glass. It opened with the sweet aromas of stone fruit and citrus. On the palate it delivered flavors of peaches, nectarines and crisp Granny Smith apples along with lime zest and lemon curd. It has a bright acidity that is well rounded on the palate and a lingering finish. It is not a complex wine but it is a crisp, refreshing wine that will be a crowd pleaser. The grapes for the 2011 Pinot Grigio came from Mirassou vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Lodi Delta. Once the grapes were picked and pressed the wine was slowly cold fermented and yeast was added. No oak was used in making this wine. It contained 13% alcohol. Throughout the year this wine would pair well with fresh salads, soups and seafood; during the holidays it would be a lovely aperitif wine with light or heavy hors d’oeuvre or first courses. This wine is widely available at retailers throughout the US; average price $9.
Mirassou Moscato 2013: This wine poured an effervescent gold into the glass, filled with tiny bubbles. On the nose it offered a sweet aroma of tropical fruit, melons and honeysuckle. On the palate this lively wine coated the mouth with pineapple, peaches, ripe honeydew melon and honeysuckle. Lovers of sweet wine with certainly find the Moscato quite enjoyable. This wine was crafted predominately from Muscat Canelli grapes; the skins were immediately separated from the juice to avoid any bitterness, cool fermentation was done in upright stainless steel tanks; however, fermentation was cut short to retain the sweetness of the wine. Although Moscato is a delightful addition to any summertime table it also pairs beautifully with holiday food such as cheeses, veggie dips and boiled shrimp. Another widely available wine that averages $9 a bottle.
Mirassou Chardonnay 2012: This wine poured soft straw into the glass. On the nose it opened with pleasingly soft aromas of stone fruit, tropical fruit and toasted almonds with a hint of cedar. On the palate this wine delivered fresh and clean flavors of tree fruits (apples and pears), along with orchard fruits (peaches and apricots), followed by a touch of lemon curd and cedar chest. It was not overly oaked; instead, soft and pleasing with balanced acidity and lingering finish. It was a nicer Chardonnay that I was honestly expecting. This wine was crafted from Chardonnay grapes sourced from vineyards throughout California growing regions, especially Monterey County. The grapes were harvested at night and early morning hours, the must was fermented in cool stainless steel tanks for 10-12 days, then a portion underwent malolactic fermentation on oak staves. This wine would pair well with poultry, seafood and lighter pasta dishes on your holiday table. Another widely available wine that averages $9 a bottle.
Mirassou Pinot Noir 2013: This wine poured a vibrant ruby with purple highlights into the glass. On the nose this wine opened with ripe red fruit, spice, sweet vanilla and a hint of oak. On the palate it pleased with red cherries, plums, cranberries and pomegranate along with nice spice notes, and a touch of oakiness. It was not complex yet offered concentrated fruit that was well balanced with round acidity and a lingering mouth feel. This wine was crafted from Pinot Noir grapes sourced from vineyards throughout California growing regions, including Monterey County and Sonoma County. As with the Chardonnay, the grapes were harvest at night and early morning, then the grapes were de-stemmed, cold soaked for 24 hours, and finally fermented for five days in upright, rotary fermenters. This wine would pair well with poultry, pasta dishes and pork on your holiday table. A widely available wine that averages $9 a bottle.
Mirassou’s web site is quite engaging. On it you will find many delicious recipes to pair with their wines as well as a wine education tab with lots of useful information, including how to start a wine cellar and how to store wine. I encourage you to visit the Miarassou web site for more information on the winery and to view their entire portfolio of wines. As inexpensive high volume California wines I honestly had fairly low expectations; I was mistaken. These four wines were lovely and balanced AND would make a perfect addition to your holiday plans so pick some up today!
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with these four Mirassou wines is a holiday classic, “Happy Holidays” by Andy Williams. Regardless of which holiday you are celebrating this year, I believe it is a time of reflection, gratitude and celebrating friends and family. So pick up some Mirassou wines and enjoy your holidays!
Get your own bottles of Mirassou wines and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!