When we spent Christmas in New York City as a family last year, we drew names and did all of our shopping on Christmas Eve. It could have been more fun, but we arrived at the store thirty minutes before closing which, needless to say, made the experience slightly stressful. When I do my holiday shopping, I prefer to make a leisurely afternoon out of the outing and I never expect to get it all done in one day. A month or so back, I made the short drive over to Larchmont Village where I picked up some gifts at a few of my favorite stores (see end of post) and stopped for lunch at a wine shop I adore. Normally, I don’t need an excuse to stop in to any wine shop, but the sandwiches at the Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits, and Cheese shop score some major points. In fact, the shop should consider adding “Killer Sandwiches” to their already-lengthy name. I don’t think there’s anything proprietary about the way they make their baguette-style sandwiches, but they’re somehow the best I’ve had in a long time. If you live in L.A. and are planning to squeeze in some last-minute holiday shopping, get it done in Larchmont Village; the main street is packed with fabulous stores and one of these sandwiches is the ideal bite before a busy day of shopping!
Rest assured, I didn’t just come for the sandwiches. I also walked home with two bottles of Pinot Noir: the Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir (not pictured; a current $20ish favorite you can also find here) and the above bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, which was recommended to me by the wine staff. If you’re in need of a good Pinot to bring to your holiday party that won’t break the bank, the Banshee is definitely my top pick; I mentioned it here, too! The wine staff described the latter as a “restrained” Pinot, which initially sounded off-putting to me; however, I came to understand the term as a more classic, balanced approach to Pinot rather than the product of modern, often alcohol-heavy wines. Upon first tasting, I admittedly wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be; however, as I let the wine breath and cleared my palate of food, I felt as though I quickly had a different experience. The 2014 Anne Amie Two Estates Pinot Noir offers a lot of dark, jammy fruit on the palate, namely blackberry and dark cherry, and the warm baking spices and cola I expect from a good Pinot. I can imagine this is a Pinot that would age beautifully in a cellar.