Last week I suggested that giving wine to that special someone on your gift list might be a dicey proposition. After all, there are a lot of different type of palates to please. Therefore, I recommended several gadgets and accessories that would make wonderful gifts regardless of palate preference.
However, the clock is quickly ticking down toward Christmas and ordering or finding the right decanter or wine tote in time for delivery at this late date might take a Christmas miracle.
But don’t pout. If there is a special wine lover on your gift list, you still have an opportunity to bring a great deal of comfort and joy into their celebratory wine glass. Just stop by your favorite wine shop and pick up a special bottle.
The trick is trying to figure out what type of wine the connoisseur in your life appreciates. It can present quite a challenge. Even my wife and I disagree on the type and style of wine we’d each like to give — or receive. So, in the spirit of promoting Christmas cheer, we each offer up our own suggestions of what the ideal wine we’d like to have in our stocking next week.
My favorite way to drink great wine is with a great meal, so when I think about the perfect wine, I want it to be food friendly. It doesn’t matter whether I’m having tuna steak or beef steak, I want a wine that will sing with my supper.
If fish is on the menu, then it is more than likely that a white wine from Burgundy will be in the glass. The 2016 Domaine Louis Michel Petit Chablis from the Burgundy region of France features hints of honeysuckle and nectarine on the nose and sports a solid mouthfeel, featuring tangy notes of green apple, ripe nectarine and citrus fruits in the mouth. The flinty notes on the crisp, dry finish provides a nice mineral-laden note that lasts for half a minute. Just the right white for grilled red snapper or pan-roasted grouper. $30
For the wine-loving meat eaters on your holiday shopping list, the 2013 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California is the perfect gift. Deep garnet-purple colored, it has aromas of blackberry jam, creamy cassis and cedar wood that leap from the glass. This is a full-bodied wine with intense flavors of blackberries, crème de cassis and vanilla bean. Hints of yummy dark chocolate on the well-integrated finish make this wine a perfect match with standing rib roast or grilled porterhouse steak. Great now, but if you have patience, hang on to it for a few years. $54
I am all about mood. When I come home from work or I am out with friends, I think more about, “what am I in the mood to drink?” So, I tend towards giving – or receiving — a wine that can be enjoyed on its own.
I am sure that it’s no surprise that being married to The Vineguy has turned me into quite an authority on Champagne. And why not? It’s festive, so I can open it on special occasions and it’s versatile, so I can enjoy it all by itself or with a wide variety of cuisines. My favorite at the moment is the Multi-vintage Champagne Bruno Paillard Extra Brut Première Cuvée from Reims, France. The “flagship” of the house, this Champagne Cuvée is only made using the very best quality juice from the first pressing and is then aged for three years or more in the bottle before disgorgement. The fragrant scents of green apple, red raspberry and buttered toast on the nose lead to flavors of baked apple, lemon zest, roasted hazelnuts and candied ginger on the palate. The structure is full-bodied and the finish, featuring notes of toasted almonds and chalky minerality, is focused and exceptionally clean. $50
A delicious wine does not have to be expensive. The 2015 Pombal do Vesuvio from Portugal is an excellent example. It hails from one of the great estates of the Douro Superior (the eastern-most sub-region of the Douro Valley) and is home of some of the world’s finest Ports. It is a unique blend of three Portuguese grapes: 60 percent Touriga Nacional, 35 percent Touriga Franca and 5 percent Tinta Amarela. The first two provide the backbone and rich structure of the wine, while Tinta Amarela lends acidity and bright fruit characteristics. Wonderful scents of red berry, dried herbs and earthy undertones dominate the bouquet. Juicy black cherries, dark plum, black fig and black licorice linger on the palate with a touch of cherry cola on the medium-body finish. $28
May you get the wine of your dreams this holiday season. We wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday!