For most of us, a gifted bottle of wine will cover our bases with everyone from our girlfriends, co-workers, teachers and family members. However, don’t just go pick a wine based on its cute label or name or gift just want you like to drink. Consider the flavor profile based on that person’s personality as well as the price point your pocket book can handle.
Rather than make it difficult to choose the “perfect” bottle of wine, consider “visiting” a region like Sonoma County when gifting. One of the premier wine regions in the world, Sonoma County is home to more than 400 wineries and after a recent media event where I learned more about the region, it’s really an untapped area as compared to it’s more notable neighbor, Napa. And it will make you look really smart about your wine skills!
Price Point: $25.00 or less
For the dog walkers, doctors and teachers that impact everyday life, the following wines offer big flavor with a moderate price tag and are great additions to any holiday table:
Gundlach Bundschu 2013 Sonoma Coast, Estate DRY Gewurztraminer – $19.99
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Aromas of allspice, jasmine and citrus burst from the bottle upon cork removal of the Estate DRY Gewurztraminer. The wine offers tastes of pink grapefruit, white nectarine, navel orange, lychee and star fruit. Recommended as an alternative white wine for those who want to try something other than chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, this wine pairs well with Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Available for purchase online at www.gunbun.com and at select retail stores across the country.
Merisi Pinot Gris 2013 – $24.00
With gentle flavors of peach and umami, the Merisi Pinot Gris 2013 offers body and complexity while sitting lightly on the palate and finishing crisp and dry. Filled with aromas of pineapple, sea fennel, white flowers and key lime, the additional barrel aging gives this wine enough complexity and body to hold up to a meal (think turkey), perfect for those white wine drinkers around the holidays. With only 147 cases produced annually, it makes for a rare find.
2013 Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – $25.00
Taft Street Winery
This 2013 Pinot Noir pairs very soft, mature tannins with amazing ripe fruit flavors. Aromas of ripe plum, cola and cherry tobacco lead into flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and mocha. Nicely integrated French Oak flavors add to the complexity of this Russian River Valley wine. This silky and seductive pinot pairs best with seafood. Available for purchase online at www.taftstreetwinery.com and at select retail stores across the country.
2012 Smoke & Mirrors Red Blend SRP – $25.00
Jeff Cohn Cellars
The Smoke & Mirrors Red Blend has a youthful, vibrant aroma. There are deep layers of Herbs de Provence, cream soda, and violets, quickly followed by a bright vivacious acidity that splashes across the palate. For holiday meals, this wine’s up front red fruit and underlying herbaceous spice pair well with turkey, cranberry sauce and sage infused stuffing. The blend is comprised of 39% Zinfandel, 22% Syrah, 19% Grenache, 8% Alicante Bouschet, 4% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Mourvèdre including 40% whole cluster fermentation.
Price Point: $26.00-$50.00
Co-workers, significant other’s parents and neighbors will all be equally satisfied and wooed when being served or gifted the following wines. Each carries more than enough charm to impress without breaking the bank.
2012 Estate Malbec Zanzi Curve Vines – $28.00
J. Rickards Winery
The complex blend of fruity and spicy flavors delivered by this new-world style Malbec lends itself well to pairing with main courses and brisk winter evenings near the fireplace. A juicy California take on this popular varietal, the blend is comprised of 98% Malbec, 2% Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley. The wine is aged for 15 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Available for purchase online at www.jrwines.com and at select retail stores throughout Sonoma County.
2013 Migration Russian River Valley Chardonnay – $32.00
Displaying all of the layered complexity and lush concentration that make great Chardonnays from the Russian River Valley so sought-after, this enticing wine has gorgeous aromas of peach, nectarine, Fuji apple, citrus blossom and honeysuckle. The wine’s freshness also makes it a fantastic food wine, capable of pairing with the most diverse holiday fare. Available for purchase online at www.duckhorn.com and at select retail stores across the country.
2010 Splt Rock Cabernet Sauvignon –$35.00
This European-styled wine boasts a lovely label and showcases the vineyard’s connection to the land and to family. This wine offers tastes of vibrant red fruits and minerality as well as Cassis, juniper and a hint of citrus peel. It has excellent acidity and food flexibility. .
2012 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir – $45.00
Gary Farrell Winery
The 2012 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir exudes enticing aromas of fresh strawberries, wild cherry preserves, cinnamon and nutmeg, which give way to an intriguing combination of oyster mushrooms, cola, cedar and an elderberry reduction glaze. With bright acidity and decadent fruit, this focused and elegant wine is enveloped by caressing soft-grained tannins and displays a pleasant, lingering finish. A beautiful expression of the varietal and of the appellation’s unique terroir, this blend captures the richness, purity and elegance that are Gary Farrell Winery’s trademarks. Available for purchase online at www.garyfarrellwinery.com and at select retail stores across the country.
Price Point: $51.00+
For anyone looking to make a lasting impression with their bosses and clients this holiday season, the following wines say sophistication, class and ‘thank you for not emailing me too many times over the weekend.
2012 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley –$55.00
Gary Farrell Winery
This explosive, juicy wine boasts heady aromas of Kirsch, cardamom, sour cherry chutney, violet petals and boysenberry. Complex and savory, a plethora of earthy and dark fruit flavors emerge on the palate, reminiscent of leather, huckleberry, black cherry and bay leaf. The full-bodied, bold and zesty texture is rich and satisfying, while the bright acidity creates a long, juicy finish. This wine is perfect for food pairing over the holidays with notes of fall spices, dark fruits, and earthy and savory qualities match seasonal dishes. Available for purchase online at www.garyfarrellwinery.com and at select national retail stores.
2012 Pinot Noir, Bow Tie Vineyard – $75.00
J Vineyards & Winery
This wine features intense floral, black fruit and dried herb aromas. Flavors range from black cherry, blackberry and tea leaf to caramel and bittersweet chocolate, enhanced by a rich mouthfeel, firm tannins and youthful acidity. This wine pairs well with slow-cooked, hearty dishes like that of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Available for purchase online at www.jwine.com/.
2010 Kate’s & B’s Cabernet Sauvignon – $75.00
From individual estate blocks reflective of classic Bordeaux territory, the 2010 Kate’s & B’s Cabernet Sauvignon has flavors of red plums, blackberry, mocha, smoky bacon, a hint of olive, and plushness that works with the firm finish. Winery Founders Chris “Medlock” James and Ames Morison, named this wine after their wives, Bradley and Kate. All grapes used are grown in certified-organic vineyards at the solar-powered winery. Available for purchase online at www.medlockames.com.
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Holiday Gift & Glass Set – $100.00
The Silver Oak 2010 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon included in this gift set is a vibrant, elegant expression of this classic appellation from a cooler vintage. It has a deep garnet color and an enticing aroma of cassis liqueur, blueberry coulis, tobacco, tarragon and roasting coffee. The seamless palate starts with a berry-laden attack, follows with a full-bodied mid-palate, and ends with a long, savory finish with fine-grained, well-integrated tannins. One of the most popular holiday items, the package is inclusive of two Silver Oak wine glasses safely encased in a classic wood gift box.