Close Out January 2024 With These (Discounted!) Wines
Every year, we set resolutions to make the new year better than the last. Our 2024 resolution is simple: Drink more fabulous wines! We have already started sipping, and narrowed down our highlights for January 2024.
Here at First Bottle, we are constantly tasting new wines from all over the world. Our tasting team curates the First Bottle Wines selection from thousands of wines that come across our tasting room bar every year, and we only choose the best-of-the-best. We asked John Holbrooks, our Director of Private Client Sales (AKA your go-to guy who’s here to help you get your wine wishlist into your cellar) for the list of his favorite wines for January.
If your 2024 goal is to upgrade your cellar, you’ve come to the right place. Here is what we are drinking in January, all offered at some of the best prices on the internet!
“As a lover of Burgundy, I often find myself searching for locally grown wines that have the same cut and energy, with the aromatic intensity that first made me fall for pinot noir. Ross Cobb’s wines, for me, nearly perfectly fit that bill,” says John.
This is a profoundly bold and enticing young pinot – that is perfect to enjoy right out of the bottle now…and yet, still whispers the promise of a long and beautiful life to come. Vibrant and expressive from the moment it hits the glass with aromas of a tart cranberry relish, and blood orange, then raspberry and bramble leaves, followed by rose petals and lavender, with accompanying flavors of sour cherries, pomegranate molasses, and black tea, with light mineral accents of iron and copper, enveloped by a rich earthiness that showcases forest duff and woodsmoke, and a salty sea air tang on the finish.
“Ross Cobb’s wines are typically Californian but with a precision and intensity that are often missing from domestic pinots. If you are looking for California pinot noir with a truly Burgundian sensibility, I implore you to try the wines from Cobb.” Only 325 cases were made of this beauty, and typically only offered to club members and sold direct. This is truly a rarity, especially at First Bottle’s price!
Fontodi is already legendary for its “Flaccianello” and Chianti wines (some of the most coveted/collectible/high-scoring in all of Tuscany), but you might be surprised to know they make an absolutely stunning, unique, and wildly delicious syrah. Rarely seen outside of Italy, this is a true gem. This is NOT for the shy, and while ultra-concentrated and plush, it has many layers of complexity and a silky texture, plus Fontodi’s signature freshness that make for pretty thrilling drinking.
“Syrah is a hearty varietal well suited for winter feasting,” says John. “When grown in the warm Mediterranean climate of Tuscany it achieves optimal ripeness and fruit character along with a warm, savory spiciness that is perfect for pairing with hearty stews and braises. Pre-heat the oven, ready the Creuset with its contents, and don’t forget to enjoy a glass while the pot bubbles away!”
“The colder months are not just for red wines, but can also be a time to enjoy richer white wines too. If you are looking for a great winter white, then look no further.”
This CdP Blanc is bright and incredibly mineral-driven, with aromas of Mandarin blossoms, peaches, and honeydew melons. There’s a salted, raw walnut characteristic in here, with an oily, honeysuckle and lemon verbena character that coats the palate. A bright, penetrating acidity cuts through the wine’s weight, delivering another layer of flavors that showcases green apples, mangoes, and cherimoya – all held tautly together with a flinty, struck-match minerality.
Pro Tip: Decant this young to release all that inherent complexity – but feel free to lay this down for several years too!
“When considering Burgundy to enjoy on a cold winter’s day, I recommend focusing on the Cote de Nuits, where the wines are more powerful and structured than the more elegant wines from the Cote de Beaune,” says John.
The flavors waft from the glass with macerated strawberries, cherry blossoms, crushed raspberries, and red roses. In the mouth, strawberries take the lead, with soft veins of cinnamon spice, vanilla, and iron ore.
“Clos Saint-Denis is famous for producing full bodied wines with an aromatic richness and tannic structure that make them perfect for gamier meats, like lamb or fowl, braised in rich sauces, winter truffles, and strong flavored cheeses like Epoisses. Get the fireplace crackling and enjoy!”
Despite its origins in Clos Saint-Denis, this 2017 has an elegance and softness that has become almost rare in Grand Cru Burgundy over the past few years – as most estates seem in a horse race for power, concentration, and intensity. It’s a refreshing effort, and highly prized by lovers of sensual, old-school Burgundy.
“Let’s face it, Amarone could be the ultimate winter wine. It begs for hearty dishes on cold days and promises to warm you up from the inside out,” says John.
The wine elegantly combines ripe dark fruit notes of black plum, blackberry compote, fig jam, and heady brandied cherries with silky and creamy mocha and spice overtones. A delicate presence of violets, dried lavender, and rose petals uplifts the wine – adding a playful elegance that is, in turn, grounded with a meaty, iron, and sanguine depth that finishes with a whisper of fresh black truffles. Extremely complex, rich, and smooth – this is a wine to sip slowly and savor over the coming two decades.
“If this winter calls for some time in the snow and mountains, make sure to have a great Amarone on hand. You’ll thank me later!”
John Holbrooks is the Director of Private Client Sales here at First Bottle Wines. He is ready to work one-on-one with you to source the bottles of your dreams. He has been a wine professional the last 20 years, with notable experience working in the iconic New York City restaurant Union Square Café, and as a distributor sales representative at Martin Scott Wines before hitting the direct-to-consumer side here at First Bottle.
“So much of what I do every day fills me with pride. I feel so lucky to work in an industry that I care about, and that provides me with so much pleasure. My job is basically to come to work and talk about some of the greatest wines on the planet all day. What gives me the biggest sense of pride, however, is when I’m able to gain a client’s trust and get them to try something new. There is no better feeling than hearing their feedback after a cork is pulled, and that the client has a new wine they love.”
– John Holbrooks
Work With John
John’s services are complimentary! To work with John, give him a ring or send him an email and let him know what wine you’re hoping to get your hands on. He’ll work with you one on one and do whatever he can to make your cellar dreams come true. John’s twenty years in the industry mean that he’s connected, and can pull the insider strings to get the wines on your hard-to-find wish list. And not to mention, he’s super cool.
John looks forward to being a resource for our First Bottle community. You can reach him at his direct line – 707.927.2737 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.