Your Holiday Wine Naughty and Nice Gift List
There’s always one person on your list who’s impossible to shop for. A wine gift may be the perfect idea. If you know who you’re shopping for, you can leave a lasting watermark about who you are and how much the recipient means to you – or not!
For the Family Mom or Dad
Matthiasson Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, $70
An homage to a classic style for Napa, specifically the ripe but restrained wines of the late 1980s and early 1990s, although its plummy flavors are a bit quieter. It’s also modestly priced for its neighborhood. This comes from Steve and Jill Matthiasson, who own a small parcel in Napa and have a young family involved in every part of the business.
For the Hipster
BK Wines Petillant Naturel Chardonnay 2016, $34
Unabashed all-natural blanc-de-blanc with a bead and mousse profile firm enough to make any champagne blush with jealousy. Roiling foam and an effervescent tickle are the opening torrent. Biscuit and nutmeg notes and a tart Lady apple acid crunch resemble apple crumble and lemon curd. You may have more cash to buy your own flannel button-down.
For the Old School Wine Drinker Who’s Still Edgy
Bedrock Wine Co Old Vine Zinfandel 2014, $32
Morgan Twain Peterson, along with his infamous dad and partner Chris Cottrell, are fashioning some extraordinary wines that are deep, rich and luscious, with plenty of up-front fruit and tons of appeal. More of a field blend than a true Zinfandel, the 2014 is soft and forward, with expressive red-fleshed fruit, bright acidity and terrific overall balance. The Old Vine is 77% Zinfandel and a generous 23% mixed blacks. Best of all, the Old Vine Zinfandel is a fabulous value.
For the Tree Hugger
Jauma Mclaren Vale “Archies” Shiraz 2015, $45
Owned and managed by Denise and James Erskine, the vineyards are curated by Fiona Wood and all of their wines are made without the addition of yeasts, acids, polymers, enzymes, tannins or filtration. All of the vineyard blocks grown on the hilly ranges of McLaren Vale, are hand harvested, farmed biodynamically, and bottled with minimal sulfites. James is a founding member of the Natural Wine Theory, a radical group formed a few years ago that has turned perceptions of Australian wine upside down and is committed to sustainable viticulture grounded in organic and biodynamic principles. The shiraz has high-pitched red and dark berry aromas that are complicated by Asian spices and potpourri, with a smoky nuance with air. Energetic, focused and pure, it offers palate-staining red and dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that become deeper and sweeter with time. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the sappy finish, which clings with a suave floral character.
For the Penny Pincher
Sean Minor Nicole Marie 2013, $22
Everyone is on a budget and at $22, this one will cover even the tightest Scrooge. Named for Sean’s wife, the Napa Valley Nicole Marie Blend is deep ruby in color and displays aromas of ripe dark fruit, brown sugar, molasses and vanilla. On the palate, it is big, rich and spicy, offering flavors of dark cherry, plum, cassis and black pepper that integrate with hints of oak spices, coating the palate. The round soft tannins and sweet oak balance lead to a long and lingering finish. This unique red wine blend is from sites throughout Napa Valley. The grapes were harvested at optimal maturity, then de-stemmed and gently crushed into stainless steel fermenters, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor.
For the Billionaire Who Has Everything
Coche Dury Meursault Perriers 2013, $1,300
They only get the finest, but probably would not buy it for themselves. Jean-François Coche-Dury produces the greatest white wines coming out of Burgundy that long ago achieved cult status. There is no secret ingredient in this success, as the winemaking also applies to several other producers of exceptional wines: outstanding vineyard land, constant work in vineyard and cellars, and rigorous tiny yields. In Jean-François Coche-Dury’s case, they are taken to a level of perfection which is difficult to mimic.
For the Well-paid Help
Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2014, $23.50
We all have people in our lives who need a little something other than that fat envelope under the tree: the butler, maid, chauffeur, UPS driver, stylist, teacher, sports coach, tutor, doctor – and don’t forget your life coach. Thank heavens for Erin Nuccio’s delicious pinot noir that does not break the bank and is a perennial favorite among the Wolfepack. With a light bright nose of cherry and earthy mushrooms and a slight creamy/silkiness that’s balanced by juicy acid, this is an easy go-to for everyone who needs a little cheer.
For the Willy Wonka Sweet Tooth
Antoine Arena Muscat du Cap Corse Vin Doux Naturel 2012, $39
Produced from Muscat à petits grains, the most noble of the four principal varieties of Muscat, with fresh, powerful aromas of peaches and orange zest, hints of vanilla and a superb minerality. A pure, well-delineated expression of terroir. Incredibly long on the palate. Ideal as an aperitif, with foie gras, bleu cheese or a sinfully delicious fruit dessert.
For the Bubble Head
Larmandier Bernier Vieille Vigne du Levant Grand Cru 2007, $100
No, not for the sailors on the USS John Warner submarine, but for those who follow the Antoinette’s cup that overfloweth with bubbled libations. The Vieilles Vignes de Levant Extra Brut is a vintage cuvee produced from the oldest Grand Cru vines in the village of Cramant, ranging from 50 to 80-year-old vines. It’s fermented in oak rather than stainless steel, though in this case, it is a combination of large foudres and smaller Burgundy barrels that are used. The wine receives a very low dosage of two grams per liter prior to release.