10 Tasteful Gifts for Wine Lovers that Will Raise Your Spirits
Wine lovers listen up we’ve got some great gifts for anyone’s holiday wish list. We have curated a holiday wine lovers gift list that will make Santa smile. Looking for some guaranteed delicious bottles as gifts to give people this holiday season? Take a gander through this list of varied delights.
10 Tasty and Tasteful Holiday Wine Gifts that will Raise Your Spirits: By Laura Ness
I absolutely love sparkling: who doesn’t? At its best and bubbliest, it reminds me of walking in a snowstorm, those delicate flakes melting on your tongue. Is there anything more magical than that first giant flake-filled sky of wonderment?
Beauregard Blanc de Blanc
From the Bald Mountain Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains comes this dry as the Mojave desert sparkler that glistens like sunbleached sand in your glass. Buoyant bubbles make a beeline for the roof of your mouth as tangy apples with a smack of quince dance exuberantly on your tongue, evanescing over your palate with a kiss of tiny bubbles. ($80, beauregardvineyards.com)
Domaine Bousquet, Brut Rosé
From organically grown grapes in Tupungato, Argentina, in the foothills of the Andes, this sparkling is a lovely mélange of 75$ Pinot and 25% Chardonnay, crafted into a strawberry and red cherry gem dabbled with raspberry and orange zest coulis. Quite a well-balanced and inspiring bubbly that works as well without food as it does with grilled salmon or trout. There are other sparklers in this lineup as well. This one was rated 90 points by James Suckling. ($13.99, domainebousquet.com)
Ser Sparkling Rose of Nebbiolo
Slightly pink and nothing short of aromatically demonstrative, comes this sparkling rose of Nebbiolo from one of Santa Cruz’s top talents, Nicole Walsh. She made this brut, dry sparkler using the traditional bottle method, but there is nothing typical about it, from the over the top tropical and stone fruit aromas to the flavors of guava and papaya crème brulèe. With a creamy mid palate and loads of fine bubbles, this wine is irresistibly delicious. Buy online or at the Saratoga tasting room. ($34, serwine.com)
Waxwing Sparkling Riesling
What a stylish presentation for this Pet Nat style sparkler made from Riesling harvested in the Santa Lucia Highlands! Called À la Volée, the gorgeous label stretches all the way around the bottle and is a collaboration between artist Chelsea Groves, graphic designer Sharon Parham and calligrapher Barbara Callow .It’s topped with a lovely pale blue dome of wax over the bottle cap topper. Drink up the even more bubbly personality of 100% Riesling and toast to the holidays. A very unique gift. Purchase online or at Waxwing’s tasting room in Belmont. ($24, waxwingwines.com)
Going in a different direction, this time to Italy, and all the way back to medieval times, we have this spiffy Spumante sparkler made from Glera grapes, the dominant white in the Treviso region. At 11% alcohol, this wine has lemon aromas with a hint of sweet honey that makes it ideal for an aperitif. The label sports a knight in fill regalia on a white steed with a red heart on his shield. Very romantic! It retails for $15. (3badge.com/thewhiteknight)
Blair Chardonnay Delfina’s Vineyard, vintage 2014
There’s something richly satisfying about Arroyo Seco Chardonnays, and when they’re barrel-fermented, they’re even more so. Winemaker Jeffrey Blair chooses Francois Frere and Seguin Moreau barrels, redolent of toasty butterscotch goodness. Hazelnuts and brioche aromas are the stars here, along with an apple orchard in fall. Flavors are of buttery crusted apple pie with macadamia nuts and grilled pears, with a squeeze of lemon cream. ($45, blairwines.com)
Deep Reds from Napa
Curated Freemark Abbey Cabernets
What if you could order a special bottle from an anniversary or birth year? Give it a try at Freemark Abbey, where their deep cellar allowed them to come up with a 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Sycamore Vineyard to help me commemorate my 30th wedding anniversary next year
Each set can be uniquely personalized with rare, vintage bottles to commemorate a birth year, wedding anniversary year, or any other year of special significance. To create this thoughtful holiday gift, customers will work with one of the winery’s knowledgeable experts to personalize their set. The estate’s wine cache, one of the most extensive in the U.S., has vintages dating back to the ‘60s—the result of Freemark Abbey’s foresight to reserve bottles to enjoy as they develop over the decades. To find out more, go to freemarkabbey.com
If you want to ship a customized Freemark Abbey gift this holiday, be aware of the following deadlines to submit orders for ground shipping:
California, by Dec. 18th, West Coast, Dec. 16th, Mid-West, Dec. 14th, East Coast, Dec. 12th
2014 Mount Veeder Cabernet
From the distinctive Mount Veeder comes this well-rounded and intense Cabernet Sauvignon with touches of the other four Bordeaux varieties. Dark is the watchword here, beginning with aromas of black currant, earth, sage, bay laurel and brown sugar, and then knocking it out of the park with rich dark chocolate, black olives and that ever present hint of bay, all wrapped in viscous layers of cassis, baked brownies and dusty cocoa. At $44, this is well-priced stuff from Director of Winemaking, Janet Myers. You can find it at BevMo.
2013 Stagecoach Miner Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
Monique Soltani chiming in here! Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a bad ass bottle of Napa Cab. If you give this as a gift or make it a “to me from me” it will certainly raise your spirits any time of year. The Stagecoach Vineyard, is situated about a stagecoach trail from the 1800s and was planted around enormous rocks and boulders atop the eastern hills of Napa Valley. At nearly 1,500 feet above the valley floor, this vineyard consistently produces bold, age-worthy wines.
Laphroaig Lore: A Spirited Gift for Scotch Lovers
Laphroaig Lore is the latest top shelf effort from this Islay producer of some of the most arresting Scotch whiskys on planet earth. Arresting in their staunchly salacious expressions of the salty assault of sea and misty sky as it meets the ancient broodiness of millions of years of accumulated peat, Laphroaig’s whisky has always made eyebrows do the full salute, and evoked reactions as profound as the booze itself.
With the release of Lore, which has been 200 years in the making, scotch lovers can dive headlong into dark pools of whisky that has been hand selected from the finest casks, then aged serially in first-fill Bourbon barrels followed by virgin European oak barrels, then by Oloroso sherry butts, then returned to first-fill quarter casks. Whew! That’s a lot of trouble to put a batch of whisky through, no?
This deep mahogany beauty will reward you with a smack of minerally sea air and ash, along with copious notes of vanilla and a hint of fudge. Lore will come alive in the glass with a note of clotted cream if you add, at Distillery Manager, John Campbell’s suggestion, a wee drop of water. And you should do as he says, because he’s been at this a long time. Get ready for a profoundly peaty assault, accompanied by a kick of spicy chili that will send your tastebuds into a tizzy. Let the cold winds of winter blow: this one will warm your heart and stoke your soul.
(Laphroaig Lore, priced at $124.99, is available at BevMo for $136.99)
Have a Merry Spirited Christmas!
BY: LAURA NESS, WINE JUDGE & WINE WRITER
Laura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” is an accomplished wine journalist and wine critic whose passion for wine was ignited by a visit to France, where she had the unmatched pleasure of tasting Sancerre in the medieval town of Sancerre – splendid!— and then a Saumur, after visiting the Chateau de Saumur in Chinon. The concept of terroir came alive in those incandescent moments. She regularly judges wine competitions and serves on the tasting panels of the Pinot, Cabernet and Chardonnay Shootouts. She was instrumental in helping define the unique sub-regions of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA in concert with Appellation America. You can usually find her sipping and smiling in Mendocino, Livermore, the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Cruz Mountains and Paso Robles. Laura writes extensively for many industry and consumer publications, and has weekly wine columns in several Bay Area newspapers. She blogs, irreverently and sporadically, at myvinespace.com.