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The best bottles for wine lovers this year

November 6, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

Here is a helpful list of suggestions for the oenophiles in your life.

White wines

Cakebread Cellars: Known for especially for Chardonnay, Cakebread Cellars’ 2018 Napa Valley vintage is the perfect winter varietal for white wine lovers. This wine has a pretty, floral nose with fresh citrus, orange blossom, and white peach. But the real treat is in the mouthfeel; the viscosity coats the palate, and it is weighty on the tongue yet well balanced with acidity. SRP: $40.

The Prisoner: The 2019 Blindfold is a crisp, unique white blend featuring a classic Chardonnay base. This full and balanced wine from the Napa Valley boasts aromas of lychee, citrus, apple pie, and peach, all culminating in a lengthy finish. This is an ideal choice to pair with holiday meals, from classic winter vegetables or seafood hors d’oeuvres. SRP: $32.

Rosé wines

Domaines Ott: The 2019 Chateau Romassan Bandol shimmers with a beautifully clear, pale peach hue and a fresh, fruity nose. The aromas evolve toward notes of apricot and grapefruit. The wine opens up with delicate spicy and citrus notes intertwined with aromas of white stone fruits. The palate is fresh, appetizing, complex, and characterized by its well-defined structure. A refreshing touch of acidity on the finish creates a lovely breadth and lingering flavors. SRP: $52.

La Fête du Rosé: La Fête du Rosé made its debut in summer 2019 and is the first entirely Black-owned rosé wine out of St. Tropez, France. After 15 years in the wine and spirits industries with stints at LVMH and Champagne Armand de Brignac, founder and CEO Donae Burston saw that most rosé brands on the market only catered to a general market consumer. Specifically, he says, there “wasn’t a rosé brand that spoke to ‘us.’ When you thought about rosé, you didn’t think of brown or black people drinking it, or, at the time, see brands promoting people of color or men drinking their wine, despite the immense spending power we bring to the market.” Made of 80% Grenache, 14% Mourvèdre, and 6% Syrah grapes, this pastel, salmon-pink wine has aromas of cherry, dried fruits, and hazelnut. SRP: $25.

Macari Vineyards: This year, the winery on the North Fork of Long Island added a second rosé to its collection, one that is ideal for year-round drinking. Paying homage to the beloved grape of the Champagne region, the Macaris planted Pinot Meunier on their North Fork vineyard back in the 1990s, typically blending it into a rosé or making it a fully fledged red wine. A slightly more robust and full bodied rosé designed for cool-weather drinking, the 100% Pinot Meunier rosé has notes of cherry and pomegranate with a deep pink hue. SRP: $24.

Orange wines

Gia Coppola: The newest label within the Coppola family’s wine production, the “Gia Coppola wine collection” launched earlier this year with two bottles: a skin-contact wine release and a bottled sangria (dubbed “SanGia”). The orange, skin-contact wine is especially fetching for winter festivities for your quarantine bubble. Made with 100% California Riesling grapes that were fermented for 15 days and then aged in steel, the unfiltered result is a hazy, funky wine with tasting notes of fleshy citrus fruits like kumquat, plus quince, clove, and honeydew, that is medium-bodied at 12.5% alcohol, a perfect pairing for a cheese board or fresh seafood. SRP: $20.

Red wines

Sterling Vineyards: Sterling Vineyards boasts more than five decades of winemaking in Northern California’s Napa Valley. The winery has a prominent Southern California connection as well: Sterling has been the official wine provider for the Emmy Awards for the past five years. The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, was sent to nominees across every category this fall; more than 3,000 bottles were shipped out. Fans of wine and television can share in this bottle, too. The garnet-hued, full-bodied wine offers aromas and flavors of dark red and black fruits—including black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and plum—with notes of mocha, oak spice, and cassis, accented with sea salt caramel and vanilla bean. SRP: $45.

La Crema: A representation of La Crema’s four decades along the Pacific coast in Northern California’s Sonoma County, the special edition 2018 40th Anniversary Pinot Noir was made as a tribute to both Burgundian winemaking practices and cool climate appellations. Aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, this 100% Pinot Noir wine offers aromas of rose, cedar, and raspberry with flavors of plum, black cherry, and cocoa. SRP: $100.

Sparkling wines

Louis Roederer: A family-owned Champagne house in production since 1776, Louis Roederer produces a nonvintage cuvée using all three Champagne grape varieties (40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier, and 40% Pinot Noir) from more than 40 different plots across the famous French wine region. Aged for three years, the Brut Premier is exemplary of the Champagne house’s style—essentially, rich and powerful. For holiday pairings, this bottle is ideal for scallops with potato pancakes and caviar sauce. SRP: $55.

Frank Family Vineyards: Made up of 73% Pinot Noir and 27% Chardonnay grapes, the sparkling “Rouge” wine experiences greater skin contact resulting in a scarlet ruby hue. The vibrant wine is rich in structure with a creamy mousse that is upheld by fresh acidity, making it a great food wine—even for the hardest pairings such as Thanksgiving turkey. Following the méthode champenoise (traditional method), the California sparkling wine wine rested on its yeast for three years and was riddled before disgorgement on April 26, 2020. SRP: $55.

Bollinger: Bollinger is introducing an addition to its permanent collection for the first time since the launch of its rosé in 2008. The newest Champagne, dubbed “PN,” was developed following a challenge within the winemaking team and is part of an ongoing series. Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, each release of PN will highlight a Pinot Noir grape from a different cru (a vineyard or group of vineyards) from the base year to bring its distinctive terroir and taste to light. For the first edition of the series, the PN VZ15, 20% of the blend comes from reserve wines aged in magnums dating back to 2009. (The name and the design of the label are nods to the way Bollinger’s enologists identify wines in the cellar.) It opens with rich aromas of cherry stone, jam-infused fruit, and dried fig before developing toasted, baked notes. On the palate, expect flavors of peach and apricot, enhanced by hazelnut and floral notes. This is a great food pairing wine and is versatile enough to enjoy with everything from a tomato tartlet to a rich risotto. And it will be available in the U.S. this fall in time for the holiday season. SRP: $120.


Enriquez Estate Wines: Paving the way in an industry where both women and Mexican-Americans are underrepresented, Cecilia Enriquez is breaking the mold of wine traditions with creative blends and an out-of-the-box approach to winemaking that has won several awards in recent years. Based in Forestville in Sonoma County and braving the ongoing devastating wildfire season, the winery is paying tribute to first responders this autumn with their Thanksgiving Give Back 4-Pack, going on sale Nov. 1; 10% of the proceeds go to the California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund. The set includes a rosé, the 2015 Brisa, the 2013 Pinot Noir, and the 2013 Tempranillo. SRP: $144.

Verjus: Wine director Matt Cirne has put together Le Club Noël, a celebratory bundle of dynamic, funky, and experimental natural wines from off-the-beaten-path wineries—all of them otherwise unavailable for retail purchase. Le Club Noël is a curated trio of three bottles: one white, one red, and one sparkling. The package includes custom gift engraving on one bottle; additional engraving is available for $15 per bottle. Le Club Noël can be picked up in person at Verjus’s storefront in San Francisco and can also be shipped to other U.S. states where permitted. Note that buyers need to act fast: Le Club Noël will be available for order online through Nov. 27. SRP: $95.