Beverage manager Jess Liberto has put together a well-edited wine list for the Dabney that turns to the most eloquent expressions of classic regions, rather than more ostentatious ones. So, Champagnes from Cedric Bouchard over the grandes marques, Mayacamas’ merlot over Duckhorn’s, and Château Le Puy rather than some overdone Bordeaux classed growths.
There’s an especially strong lineup of northern Rhône and Piedmont reds to drink with red meat and game courses. But also take note of the more broad-shouldered whites (Thomas Pico’s Chablis and Michel Autran’s Vouvray come to mind) that mesh with so much of Jeremiah Langhorne’s Mid-Atlantic winter fare.
Demiere Ansiot Blanc de Blancs Champagne 2006 ($135): Vintage blanc de blancs from Oger, aged eight years on the lees before disgorgement in 2014, seems the only reasonable way to commence this time-skewed year. The richness of buttered croissants is here, and a level of complexity and tension that puts to shame some culty champagnes triple its price.
Calabretta Nerello Mascalese, Vigne Vecchie 2011 ($80): Massimiliano Calabretta’s examples remain among the touchstones from Siciliy’s Mount Etna. For his old-vine nerello, Calabretta vinified much like old-school Barolo; long macerations and aging for over 5 years in Slovenian oak barrels. A brooding showstopper inflected with copper, tar and leather, that feels right at home with winter preparations cooked over the Dabney’s wood hearth.