Paging through the backlog of my tasting notes, one worthy wine that was the keynote of a fantastic New Year's Eve meal was the 2012 Hess Allomi Cabernet.
A gift from friends for Christmas (the Worleys), this amazing wine was our contribution to a decadent feast at Santa Clara's Birk's restaurant. How did we manage to get a table at Birk's for NYE? Easy. The day after Thanksgiving, we logged into Opentable and searched for a restaurant where we could get an early reservation that wasn't too far from home. At our age, we wanted to go home and watch the ball drop rather than party hard.
True to the Hess name, this wine was aristocratic, full-bodied, and flavorful. When it was first poured into our glasses, the holiday lights illuminated its jewel-like clarity until it looked like the star from the top of the tree. The nose was full of forward cranberry and black cherry fruit, with a spicy, black coffee finish.
We both enjoyed red meat as our main course - I had a luscious prime rib with horseradish sauce and hubby enjoyed a medium rare filet with a wild mushroom sauce. And I forgot to mention the "palate cleansing" appetizer the staff brought us between our salads and the main course - a lobster truffle tart. Our wine choice stood up well with all of these rich and complex foods - it was soft and gentle enough to complement the lobster tart, yet stout and rich enough to stand up to the red meat entrees.
The fruity nose promised a rich delight, and it did not disappoint. We enjoyed a deepening berry jam flavor as we first sipped from our glasses, and a rich, velvety texture that is simply not found in lesser wines. The black coffee nose gave way to a rich, earthy background tone - with a clean finish and no aftertaste. A light oak flavor rounds out the burst of flavor from this big, bold red - and complements the hint of black pepper, cardamom, and nutmeg in the finish.
This beautiful wine is available from Wine.com for $31.99.
Food Pairings: A great wine to pair with rich and elegant foods, like lobster, steak, horseradish sauce, and black truffles. In short, a wonderful special occasion wine.
Music Pairings: We enjoyed it to Auld Lang Syne
Activity Pairing: What a great romantic evening wine! Would also be wonderful while watching a classic movie, like Casablanca or Driving Miss Daisy.