The holiday season offers a ton of gift giving opportunities. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting something under the tree or buying someone a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa present. But there are other situations where you’ll want to be ready with a bottle of wine. One example is when someone drops by with a tray of cookies or an unexpected gift. You want to be able to reciprocate in those instances, and a bottle of wine is always in style and appreciated. Additionally, this time of year offers a lot of opportunities to dine with loved ones. Being invited to someone’s home is another great occasion to gift someone a bottle of wine that they can enjoy later. Regardless of whether your budget is $12 or a couple hundred, here are 15 delicious gift ideas that will be appreciated by the recipient.
Georges Duboeuf 2017 Pinot Noir ($12)
This offering is from a brand new Pays d’Oc tier from the legendary Duboeuf family. For the price point, this wine delivers precisely what I’m looking for. It’s a good representation of the variety in question and offers plenty of drinking pleasure. Ripe wild strawberry aromas lead the nose. The palate shows off continued red fruit flavors, bits of spice and a firm bit of acid. The solid finish exhibits bits of vanilla and pepper.
Pieropan 2016 Soave Classico DOC ($20)
This Soave Classico is a traditional blend of Garganega (85%) and Trebbuano di Soave (15%). Toasted hazelnut and mesquite honey aromas lead the nose. The succulent palate shows off Anjou pear and bits of stone fruit. Minerals and sour fruit drive the above average finish.
Berryessa Gap 2016 Tempranillo ($26)
This Tempranillo hails from Yolo County in California. In truth, many who have attempted Tempranillo in California have failed. The results have too often produced an over-extracted wine that’s unidentifiable. In sharp contrast, the Berryessa Gap Tempranillo is elegant with plenty of proportionate fruit, a couple shovels of earth on the back and mouth-watering acid. If someone on your gift list is a lover of Rioja, surprise them with this.
Tio Pepe 2018 En Rama Fino Sherry ($27)
This offering marks the ninth release of this limited edition Sherry, which is unfiltered and unclarified. The bright golden hue shimmers in the glass, while biscuit aromas are prominent. Minerals, salinity and subtle yellow fruit are all in play. There’s a punch of sour fruit and pleasing bitterness on the finish.
J. Lohr 2016 Gesture Syrah ($30)
The Gesture line is a series of small production wines based on Rhone varieties. This wine is entirely Syrah, and the fruit comes from two vineyard sites. The heady nose shows off a combination of raspberry, blueberry and bits of spice. The palate is stuffed with blackberry, hints of bacon fat and a dollop of roasted coffee. Wet limestone, chicory and black pepper are evident on the finish. This is a lovely and distinct Syrah.
Valentin Bianchi 2016 Particular Cabernet Franc ($40)
Cabernet Franc is coming on strong in Argentina and this example from Valentin Bianchi is a good example why. Red cherry and bits of leather emerge on the nose. The palate is loaded with an intermingled combination of red and black fruits as well as a complement of spices. The persistent finish is memorable.
Copper Mountain Vineyard 2016 “Life” Pinot Noir ($40)
This Willamette Valley producer is certified organic and biodynamic. This Pinot Noir shows off a combination of red, blue and black fruits. Blueberry and plum are prominent on the nose followed by blackberry and red cherry throughout the palate. Wisps of savory herbs and bits of earth show up on the lengthy finish. There is a purity of fruit throughout that impresses.
Lloyd Cellars 2016 Carneros Chardonnay ($40)
This Carneros Chardonnay is produced from fruit sourced at a handful of key vineyards. Orchard fruit and spice are evident on the ebullient nose. The palate is loaded with Anjou pear, Golden Delicious apple, papaya and a treasure trove of spices. A kiss of mesquite honey drives the long, mouth-watering finish.
Gran Moraine 2015 Chardonnay ($45)
Everyone knows that Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a source of world class Pinot Noir. Chardonnay thrives there too, but it remains a bit of a secret weapon, as not everyone realizes how well it does. This one is from the Yamhill-Carlton appellation. Granny Smith apple aromas lead the charge here. The palate is simultaneously full-flavored and proportionate. Orchard fruit and bits of green tea are evident on the palate. Minerals and subtle white pepper drive the long finish. Firm acid keeps this Chardonnay refreshing and remarkably food friendly.
Viñas del Vero 2010 Secastilla ($40)
This wine hails from the Somontano region of Spain. Unlike many Spanish wine-growing regions, Somontano doesn’t have a dominant grape. Instead, a number of varieties flourish there. One of those grapes is Garnacha, and this offering is entirely from extremely old vines. Red and black fruits dominate from the first whiff to the last sip. Red and black cherries are particularly prominent. Leather, chicory and a dusting of sweet dark chocolate are all evident on the finish.
Ponzi Vineyards 2015 “Classico” Pinot Noir ($42)
Founded in 1970, Ponzi is one of Oregon’s longest standing wineries. Bits of earth and savory herbs are interlaced with red fruits on the welcoming nose. Black and red cherry lead the palate. Earth, espresso and a core of spices are in play on the long finish. This Pinot Noir does a wonderful job showing off the charms of Willamette Valley at large.
Inniskillin 2017 Vidal Ice Wine ($50)
Hailing from the Niagara Peninsula, this ice wine is composed entirely of Vindal. Grapes were harvested frozen on the vine at -10 Celsius. Stone and tropical fruit characteristics drive the welcoming nose. The palate features more of the same along with a bit of citrus. Bits of mesquite honey add nice weight to the finish. Bracing acid keeps things fresh and mouth-watering. This is an outstanding dessert wine.
La Jota 2015 Merlot ($85)
In addition to Merlot (90%), some Petit Verdot (10%) was also blended in. All of the fruit comes from their Howell Mountain Estate and nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard. This wine represents what truly great Merlot can achieve when grown in the correct spot and tended properly afterwards. Blackberry, boysenberry and black currant are evident from the first whiff through the palate. Also present are wisps of spice and espresso. Chocolate covered cherries and graphite emerge on the long, structured finish.
Groth 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($140)
All of the Cabernet for this Reserve wine comes from a single block, which is picked in separate lots. The Merlot (1%) came from one of their nearby vineyards. The aromatics here lean towards the floral side with violets stealing the show. Red and black cherries, black raspberries and a dusting of spices are evident throughout the palate. Toast, bits of vanilla and earth are all part of the long, velvety finish. Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville has its own signature, and this reserve from Groth hits those marks.
Chappellet 2014 Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ($235)
Napa Valley’s Chappellet has been a family winery in Napa Valley for more than 50 years now. Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is the most iconic wine in their lineup, and the 2014 vintage continues to burnish that image. There is a depth, purity and structure that come with mountain-grown fruit that isn’t replicable in any other manner. Those elements are here in droves. Blackberry and black cherry are evident on the nose along with some spice notes. Leather, chocolate, wisps of vanilla and an avalanche of dark fruit drives the full-flavored palate. Minerals and earth dominate the impossibly long finish. Napa Valley has a lot of terrific Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pritchard Hill is among the very best.