We are just days away from “The Day” and if you are still searching for a few last-minute prizes for the wine lover in your life, consider one of these beauties sure to please. We paired a slew of selections in my last post to fit with your holiday meal, but if you are looking for a special bottle to show how much you care, consider one of these tasty options.
Great wines come from great vines, and the historic Cohn Vineyard of Benovia Winery is one of those sites that crafts elevated Pinot Noir with character. Farmed organically and sustainably, with minimal intervention and a focus on being stewards of the land, the 50+-year-old vineyard overlooks Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, bringing the cooling influences of the river into the vineyard, ensuring delicate Heritage clone fruit maintains freshness and balance throughout the long growing season. Benovia Cohn Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir ($80) shines with a distinct mineral note thanks to the iron-rich soils found throughout the vineyard, melding harmoniously with dried herb, red cherry, blackberry, and toasted spices.
If you are gifting to a Chardonnay lover instead, Ram’s Gate Winery will always please. At the entrance of Sonoma in Carneros, the premium estate has been a long-time favorite, particularly for their Chardonnay wines (though they also make some killer Pinot Noir!) Ram’s Gate Estate Chardonnay ($76) brings fruit from both south-facing and east-facing blocks of their Carneros estate, ensuring the wine has freshness with concentration, structure with lightness, and overall elegance and balance. Aged 11 months in partially new French oak, the wine layers orange blossom, lemon zest, and baked apple crisp notes with golden peach, toasted almond, and nectarine with a nice mineral note on the finish, keeping the wine bright.
Very clean, very light, and very dry, for your lover of bubbles, Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut ($48) is perfect to toast from the start of the cocktail hour through dinner. Crafted from sustainably farmed estate fruit without the addition of sugar, or zero dosage, after disgorgement, allowing the essence of the fruit and the terroir to shine. The sparkler opens with ripe lilikoi, crushed stone, ripe melon, Honeycrisp apple, and lime leaf, followed by subtle hints of fresh cream and vanilla bean. Nicely structured, this beauty is always delicious.
From Napa Valley’s premium winery for blending, Paraduxx Proprietary Red Wine ($54) brings together Napa Valley favorites leading with 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Malbec for a rich, ripe, round, and lush wine with fruit-forward flavors and savory personality. Juicy layers of blackberry, boysenberry, and black plum open the rich wine, melding with toasted vanilla, cedar, black licorice, and cigar box. An easy wine to sip throughout the night or pair with hearty braised stews or steaks on the grill.
I love to sip from a pretty glass, a glass that feels delicate and elegant looks great from when the first sip of wine is poured to how it poses in your hand over interesting conversations. A bonus is when you can put it directly into the dishwasher at night without worrying about breaking. From Austria, Gabriel Glas is a dishwasher-safe, lead-free crystal wine glass that exudes grace with functionality. Bonus, the paper-thin glass is also universal, whether you are sipping sparkling, white, or red, Chardonnay or Cabernet, Pinot Noir or Borollo, the glass is designed to decant if needed, maintain effervescence if needed, allowing aromas to rise as the wine opens in the glass. Glasses start at $32 each. With it being the only glass you need, this is a steal!
It is the rare occasion that we don’t finish a bottle of wine once it is opened, but when we have a skosh left at the end of the night I want to make sure the wine is properly stored for enjoyment the next day, or a few days later. There are dozens of items on the market available now, from very expensive to highly affordable, and whatever the price you mainly want to know that it works! ArT Wine Preserver ($15) is affordable and effective. Created by Ryan Frederickson with the goal to reduce the incredible amounts of wine poured out every year from unfinished bottled due to oxidation, ArT works by simply spraying a bit of non-toxic, non-reactive Argon gas into the unfinished bottle, displacing the oxygen and creating a barrier between the wine and fresh air preserving both the freshness of the wine’s aromas and the taste. Don’t forget to re-cork the wine right after you add the Argon. You use a few pumps per bottle, so the preserver doesn’t last long, but it is an inexpensive, useful option.