7 wines you should celebrate with this holiday season
Not everyone has time to shop around 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.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, the 2016 Paramount Red Wine is an exceptional blend—and the grapes selected for this wine are always the best of the best at the winery. A Bordeaux-style wine with a creamy body, expect notes of black cherry and vanilla. Suggested retail price: $90
If you could describe this wine with only one word, it would be “suave.” The 2018 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, boasts a velvet-like texture, almost like chocolate melting on your tongue. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, the wine’s fruit was sourced from the winery’s best blocks (all named after famous rock songs), resulting in a deep purple hue and a perfect mouth feel. SRP: $78
For whatever reason you subscribe to about the lack of interest around Merlot wines in the U.S., this bottle will make you forget all of it. A fantastic year for Merlot in Napa Valley, the 2018 J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve Merlot is a nuanced, structured, and polished blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Petit Verdot grapes. The initial notes of tobacco, truffle, and graphite evoke an Old World feel to this complex wine, but it is satisfying on the mouthfeel and finish with flavors of raspberry, rhubarb, and crushed herbs. SRP: $250
A bottle that demonstrates California Zinfandels at their best, the 2019 Zinfandel is medium-bodied with notes of jammy fruit and blackberry. (But drinkers beware if you’re not familiar with California reds—especially Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel—the ABV is high at 15.4%.) The 2019 harvest is the first vintage from a newly planted vineyard block; Priest Ranch is now part of the Somerston Estate, a significant property totaling 1,682 acres, with 222 acres planted to hillside vineyards from 800 to 1,650 feet above sea level. SRP: $50
The year 2016 was nearly perfect for Napa Valley. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the strength of that growing season. Made from 100% Cab Sauv grapes grown high in the eastern hills of Napa Valley, the medium-bodied wine is smooth to drink, with notes of jam on the nose and full of red fruit flavor and a hint of spice on the finish. SRP: $150
Ideal for meal pairings (a few winemakers on property suggested it could be a “grilling wine”) but also satisfying on its own, the 2018 Chiles Valley Zinfandel is a spicy red wine with notes of black pepper and cocoa powder. But this is not a heavy wine, one that is ripe with acidity but also a creamy finish with notes of blackberry and vanilla. SRP: $60
While the house is known for its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, the Bouchaine 2018 Merlot shouldn’t be missed. A cool-climate Merlot thanks to a cool, foggy summer in 2018 with no heat events ensured slow ripening, the red wine is full-bodied but easy to drink, and it’s a smart choice for any dinner pairing. SRP: $90
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